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Black and white printers may not be as popular as their color-capable counterparts, but they can still be a valuable tool for any business. Whether you choose a laser or inkjet model, a monochrome printer is a great option for offices that don't need to deal with images like photos, art prints, or even documents with charts and graphs. And while all-in-one models tend to be more prevalent in home and traditional offices, you can still find reliable, single-function printers if your business or office deals strictly with creating hard-copies of text documents.
If your office has more than 5 employees or deals with a high-volume of work, you'll want to invest in a laser printer for its faster print speeds and higher input/output capacity. If you want to make your office a bit more eco-friendly, ink tank printers are designed to reduce plastic waste from cartridges, and many laser printers feature automatic duplex printing, copying, and scanning to save on paper and energy use; many manufacturers also have ink and toner cartridge recycling programs to further reduce plastic waste from offices.
With many businesses moving to remote work, mobile and cloud printing is a must-have. Many newer printer models feature Wi-Fi, NFC, or Bluetooth connectivity that allows employees to print from cloud services and mobile devices. This is great news for anyone who needs to quickly print important documents like signed client contracts or invoices, but can't get to a computer right away. We've rounded up our top picks for monochrome printers from brands like Canon, HP, and Epson and broke down their features to help you decide which is the best choice for your home or office.
Best Overall: Canon ImageClass MF445DW
If you're looking for a well-rounded monochrome printer for your home or traditional office, you won't find one much better than the Canon ImageClass MF445DW. This monochrome laser printer can produce up to 40 pages per minute, with the first page out in as little as 5 seconds, meaning you won't have to wait around all day for large documents or multiple pages to finish printing.
The printer has dual input trays: a 250-sheet capacity for letter and legal size paper, and a 100-sheet capacity tray for specialty print jobs like labels, envelopes, or business cards. You can also scan, copy, and fax documents with this unit. An automatic document feed tray makes it easy to load paper for faster operations. You can connect your computer, tablet, or smartphone to the unit via Wi-Fi for mobile and wireless printing; it's also compatible with Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print for more ways to print from mobile devices.
Automatic duplex printing helps save on paper and print costs by creating double-sided documents right out of the box. The 5-inch touchscreen interface also makes it fast and easy to select operation modes, navigate menus, and set up document configurations.
Best Single Function: Canon ImageClass LBP6030w
Sometimes, all you need is a good printer, and the Canon ImageClass LBP6030W is an almost perfect example of a single-function laser printer. This model can produce up to 19 pages per minute, with the first page out in as little as 8 seconds. You can connect your computer or mobile device to it via Wi-Fi for wireless printing or via USB cable if you only need to set it up with one computer.
The compact design of this monochrome laser printer makes it perfect for stashing away on a shelf, dedicated cart, or desk corner when not in use; it also has an energy saving mode to help reduce power usage and lower operating costs. The 150-sheet input tray and 5,000 page monthly volume make this printer perfect for home offices or traditional offices that don't handle physical documents very often. The budget-friendly price also makes it a good option for small or home-based businesses.
Best Portable: Canon Pixma TR150
For professionals whose offices are wherever they happen to be that day, a portable printer is a must-have. The Canon Pixma TR150 weighs just 4.5 pounds and measures 7.3 x 12.7 x 2.6 inches, making it perfect for slipping into a backpack or laptop bag when heading to client meetings, estimate inspections, or off-site sales.
This printer uses a power cord, but there is also a battery pack available for printing when wall outlets aren't available. The Pixma TR150 has a USB-C port for charging the optional battery or connecting your laptop for printing; you can also connect your computer or mobile device via Wi-Fi, Apple AirPrint, or Google Cloud Print.
This printer is a bit slow, producing just nine pages per minute, but it uses a 50-sheet input tray to help with larger documents like information packets or multi-page invoices. The printer also features a 1.44" display for easy reading of print job statuses and settings.
Related: The Best Portable Printers
Best Laser: HP LaserJet Enterprise M507dn
The HP LaserJet Enterprise M507dn is an excellent option for a monochrome laser printer. This unit can print up to 45 pages per minute, with the first page out in as little as 10 seconds; and with automatic duplex printing, you can save on paper. With 512 MB of on-board RAM, you can queue up multiple print jobs throughout the day or save them for later dates.
The 2.7-inch color LCD display and physical input buttons make it easy to set up print jobs, select configurations, and check printer status alerts. The dual input trays allow for a maximum capacity of 650 sheets, and you can print on everything from regular letter-size paper to envelopes and labels, and even transparencies.
The back of the printer features a USB port for printing from flash drives or connecting to computers as well as an Ethernet port for integrating the printer into your office network. The printer also has multiple security features to help prevent unauthorized use and protect sensitive work and employee information.
Best for Home Offices: Epson EcoTank ET-M1170
The Epson EcoTank ET-M1170 is an excellent printer option for home-based professionals. This printer doesn't use traditional cartridges, but rather uses a refillable ink tank to help reduce plastic waste as well as boost productivity; a single ink refill bottle can produce up to 6,000 pages.
The printer is compatible with Windows and macOS computers as well as iOS and Android mobile devices, so no matter what your home office uses, you'll be able to print from almost any device. It's also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant for hands-free voice controls, perfect for starting or queueing print jobs while you're in a virtual meeting or in the middle of a project.
The EcoTank can print up to 20 pages per minute, with the first page out in as little as 6 seconds, making it perfect for low-volume home offices, and automatic duplex printing helps reduce paper usage. This printer features a compact footprint that is perfect for placing on a shelf, dedicated cart, or desk corner when not in use to help save space in home offices that may be on the smaller side. The 250-sheet input tray also means you'll spend less time refilling your printer paper, and more time checking things off of your daily to-do list.
Best High Volume: Brother MFC-L2750DW
If your home or traditional office deals with a high volume of documents, the Brother MFCL2750DW is an excellent choice for a printer. This model can produce up to 36 pages per minute, and the automatic document feeder for the fax, scan, and copy functions can hold up to 50 sheets, allowing you to quickly send or digitize large documents.
It also features automatic duplex printing, scanning, copying, and faxing so you can save on paper, operation costs, and time. The fax function can store up to 200 auto-dial numbers for quicker and easier operation, and the scanning function can send copies to PC and network locations as well as email programs and cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive.
This all-in-one printer is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux based computers as well as iOS and Android mobile devices so everyone in your office, regardless of what they use, can connect. You can also connect via USB cable or print directly from USB storage devices.
This model has built-in security features like data encryption to keep sensitive data and employee information safe, and it's also Energy Star certified for more efficient power usage. If your office uses virtual assistants like Alexa, you can connect this model to your third-party smart speaker for hands-free controls. And with Amazon Dash Replacement and Brother's ink cartridge recycling programs, you'll never run out of ink again and you can help make your office a bit more eco-friendly.
Related: The Best All-in-One Laser Printers
The Canon ImageClass MF455Dw is an excellent option for a well-rounded all-in-one printer for home and traditional offices. It's capable of printing up to 40 pages per minute and allows for cloud and mobile printing via Wi-Fi. The Kyocera EcoSys P3155dn is the ultimate printer when it comes to speed. It can print up to 57 pages per minute with the first page out in as little as 6 seconds. It also has a 600-sheet input capacity that can be expanded up to 2,600 sheets with additional trays.
What to Look for When Buying a Black-and-White Printer
Single-Function vs All-in-One
Single-function printers do one thing: print. These models are perfect for very low-volume or very small businesses that are just starting out. All-in-one models can print, scan, fax, and copy documents quickly and in high-quality. These are more suited to larger offices.
A printer's input capacity tells you how much blank paper it can hold. On average, most laser or inkjet printers can hold around 200 sheets of letter size paper. Some models can hold much more or feature multipurpose input trays for odd-size paper like envelopes or legal documents.
Mobile and cloud printing
Mobile printing refers to using your smartphone or tablet to print documents, whereas cloud printing means you can print from services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud. Both require an internet connection via Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
Should I get an inkjet or laser printer?
That depends on your office's needs. Laser printers are built for speed, high-volume work, and multi-function operation. They can hold more paper and print more documents in a month than inkjet models. Inkjet printers are best suited for photo or art prints due to their more vibrant pigments, and their slower printing speeds are better for small and low-volume offices.
What is an all-in-one printer?
An all-in-one printer is a multi-function unit that can usually also scan, copy, and fax documents. These are ideal for larger offices and businesses that need to quickly digitize, copy, or send documents to clients or to other departments.
Can I print from my smartphone?
Probably. Many newer printers, both inkjet and laser, offer some sort of mobile printing option. Whether it's through a dedicated app or simple Wi-Fi connection, you'll be able to print things no matter where you are. Check with your printer's operating manual to make sure it's capable of mobile printing before trying it out though.
Meet the Expert
Taylor Clemons is a tech writer who has written for IndieHangover, GameSkinny, TechRadar, The Inventory, and The Balance: Small Business. Taylor specializes in PC components, operating systems, and gaming console hardware.