Hate Your Inkjet Printer? Try a Black-and-White Laser Printer Instead.

These models produce crisp text—and savings

Some people love their cars or their smartphones, but it’s not every day you meet someone with nice things to say about a printer. In our latest CR member survey, though, we uncovered one type of printer that many consumers actually seem to like: black-and-white lasers.

In our ratings, laser printers do far better in predicted brand reliability and owner satisfaction than inkjets. If you want a printer that’s likely to work longer with fewer hassles, a black-and-white laser is worth considering.

You may associate laser printers with home offices or small businesses—and high prices—but some black-and-white laser printers are very affordable, and they can be attractive for everyday use. Monochrome lasers tend to produce speedy, high-quality text, and they’re generally more cost-efficient than inkjets. 

With many inkjet printers, you’ll encounter that “out of ink” message more often than you’d like, even when the color cartridges run dry but you only need to print in black. Some inkjets guzzle ink like a pickup truck burns fuel.

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The toner used in laser printers lasts longer. As a result, the yearly toner costs stay low, which means you’re less likely to discover that a printer that seemed like a bargain in the store starts eating a hole in your budget as time goes by. 

For example, the yearly toner costs for the three printers below ranges from $19 to $48, according to our calculations and estimates of typical printer use. That beats the annual upkeep for some similarly priced all-in-one inkjets by more than $100.

Your costs will vary with how much you print, plus what prices you find for the printer and toner. Members can find estimated annual ink or toner costs in our printer ratings

Here are three of the most appealing black-and-white laser printers you can find.

HP LaserJet Pro M402n

The HP LaserJet Pro M402n is an admittedly bare-bones machine. It’s a dedicated printer, meaning it doesn’t copy or scan. And it can’t connect over WiFi—you hook it up to your home network using an Ethernet cable.

Where the HP shines is in its low yearly costs. According to our estimates, the typical household will use about $19 of toner every 12 months. That’s cheap even for a black-and-white laser. The price of the printer fluctuates, but you can often find it for under $200.

Its functions may be basic, but the M402n excels at what it does. This model gets Excellent ratings for text quality and speed, and all of HP’s regular black-and-white lasers earn Excellent ratings for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. This printer should deliver value and performance over the long term.  

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