The 5 Best Basic Monochrome (Black & White) Laser Printers

Few things are as unexciting in this world as single-function monochrome (black-and-white) laser and laser-class printers. (“laser-class” means  LED array-based machines that perform similarly but don’t actually contain any laser elements.) Even so, these are the machines of choice for many businesses—tire shops, doctors’ offices, real estate offices, to name a few. All they do is print, and that’s all that’s expected of them.

As long as, that is, they print relatively quickly, with decent quality, and deliver a low cost per page (CPP) in consumables, in this case, toner. The more you print, the more that last item becomes important. If, for example, you’re printing only a few hundred prints per month, the less important a cent or so seems compared to if you print thousands of pages each month. The difference—how much more one machine costs over another to use—can often be hundreds, even thousands of dollars over time, as expressed in the article, “When a $150 Printer can Cost You Thousands.”

(As usual, these printers are not organized necessarily in the order of preference, since your individual use habits should play a role in that decision.)

01
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Brother HL-L6200DW Monochrome Business Laser Printer

Brother HL-L6200DW Business Monochrome Laser
Brother's HL-L6200DW Business Monochrome Laser - fast and low CPP. Photograph courtesy of Brother

The first of several new laser machines Brother is releasing this winter/spring season, this midrange monochrome laser really does meet all the criteria for a high-volume laser printer, including a 100,000 monthly duty cycle, a 48 pages per minute print speed rating, and print quality clearly as good as you’d expect from a monochrome laser printer. This Brother spits out pages quickly and cheaply, as it should.

02
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HP’s LaserJet Pro M402dw Monochrome Laser

HP LaserJet Pro M402dn
HP LaserJet Pro M402dn single-function monochrome. Photograph courtesy of HP

Here’s another quick and well-printing single-function laser with an over 40 pages per minute rating and a decent (if not as competitive as some others) cost per page, or CPP. This LaserJet comes loaded with features, or at least what you’d expect from a single-function printer, including a slew of mobile connectivity features, such as Wireless Direct, HP’s equivalent to Wi-Fi Direct, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, and several others.

03
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Dell’s Inexpensive E310dw Monochrome Laser-Class Printer

Dell E310dw single-function monochrome laser-class (LED) printer.
Dell E310dw single-function monochrome laser-class (LED) printer. Dell

This one is more of a “personal” single-function laser printer, rather than a high-volume business machine. Not only is it inexpensively priced, but it’s just not designed for heavy volume. This one would be good for students, perhaps even a student dormitory. Where it probably wouldn’t hold up, though, is in a title or mortgage company that prints prodigious piles of documents every day. Otherwise, it’s not bad for what it does.

04
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OKI Data B512dn Monochrome Printer

OKI Data B512dn Monochrome Laser-class printer
OKI's latest cheap-to-use LED printer. OKI Data

OKI Data makes several single-function monochrome laser-class (LED-based) printers, and this one meets all the criteria for a high-volume laser-class machine, including a 100,000-page monthly duty cycle, a 47-pages-per-minute print-speed rating, and a downright respectable cost per page. If that’s not enough, like some of these other high-volume models, you can add another 530-sheet drawer, for a total capacity of 1,160 pages. It’s a bit weak on mobile connection options, but not everybody needs that.

05
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Dell’s S2810dn Smart Mono Printer

Dell Smart Mono Laser Printer S2810dn
Dell Smart Mono Laser Printer S2810dn. Dell

Many of Dell’s laser-class printers look like 20th Century throwbacks; they’re boxy and ancient-looking in their design, but otherwise the company manages to keep up, adding new features, increased capability, and so on, each year. In addition, if you buy the highest-yield toner cartridges (6,000 pages), you should get close to 2 cents per page, which isn’t that bad. I’m still trying to figure out what makes it “Smart,” though.