Monochrome vs. Colored Printer: Which One Should You Buy?

Printing expenses can eat up a lot of a company’s resources, ranking just behind infrastructure rent and employee payroll. Naturally, you’d want to keep the expenses to a minimum, which means picking an efficient printer is very important. For office printing, you basically have two options: monochrome and colored printers. Which one should you buy if you want to save on printing supplies? Let’s start by taking a quick look at both options.

Meet the Printers

Monochrome Printers– Monochrome printers only use black ink. However, monochrome printers can print different shades of gray, but this depends on the image resolution and the printer’s DPI (droplets per inch). Good monochrome printers can print in grayscale just as well as colored printers.

Colored Printers -As the name implies, color printers are capable of printing colored documents. You’ve probably heard the term CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and (Key) Black. By combining these colors, it’s possible for colored printers to print any color. Advanced versions use 6 or 8 colors, which can reproduce the same colors but with less “graininess” and generally better print quality. 

Inkjet vs. Laser

Both monochrome and colored printers can either be inkjet or laser printers. Inkjet printer models are more affordable and versatile, but the ink is more expensive and the print heads require more maintenance. On the other hand, laser printers cost more, but they are better for high-volume printing.

Buying According to Your Needs

Many people think cheaper is better, but that’s not always true. Monochrome printers are generally more affordable than colored printers, but it can’t be used to print colored documents. On the other hand, colored printers are more versatile because they can replicate different shades of colors, but require more maintenance.

A monochrome printer can easily print the same amount of pages as a colored printer at a fraction of the cost. If you’re expecting to print a lot of text-heavy pages all the time, then a laser monochrome printer is a better option. However, if you only print several pages’ worth of documents a day, the difference is negligible and not worth sacrificing the versatility of inkjet colored printers.

Initial cost can also be a factor when deciding between monochrome and colored printers. For example, you want to print a colored page from time to time, but you don’t have the budget for a good colored printer. However, you still expect to be printing a lot of text-heavy pages. In this case, you might be better off buying a monochrome printer and having your colored pages printed elsewhere.

Third-Party Purchases

You can get more value out of both monochrome and colored printers by buying high-quality remanufactured or compatible printer cartridges. These cartridges are designed to work just like the original ones made by the printer’s manufacturer, but some even boast better printing quality and performance as well as more ink volume than OEM (original equipment manufacturer) cartridges. Remanufactured cartridges even offer an additional benefit of being more eco-friendly because they are recycled from used printer cartridges.

These third-party products will also play a big role in your decision on whether to get a monochrome printer or a colored one. If you expect to print a lot, choose the printer with more readily available cartridges, since it might take longer to resume printing if you run out of ink. This is especially true for colored printers, since some of them feature individual color cartridges that run out of ink at different times.

There’s definitely a number of considerations when choosing between monochrome and colored printers, and either one can be a better buy than the other. Take the time to evaluate your own needs before making a purchase.