Monochrome vs Color Printers – What’s the Difference?

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If you’re thinking about getting a new printer or you’re just wondering about the differences between them, then one of the biggest differences is definitely between a monochrome printer and a color printer. Getting a decent printer for your home is a good idea if you’re trying to cut down printing costs, but of course, you’re going to have to get the right printer for your needs.

And in general, all printers work similar to each other depending on their function. Of course, you can categorise printers into ink printers and laser printers, but you can also categories them by their ability to print color too. But aside from the obvious difference between color and monochrome printers, are there other differences between them you should be aware of or are they pretty similar?

Monochrome vs Color Printers – What’s the Difference?

If you’re trying to decide between a monochrome printer and a color printer, then you’ll have to take the obvious into account. A color printer will give you far more options in comparison to a monochrome as you’ll be able to print in a variety of colors. Obviously, with a monochrome printer you won’t have this option, so this is the first thing that you need to think about.

Do you really need a color printer, or would you be just as fine with printing in black and white? If this is the case, then you’ll likely want to opt for a monochrome printer over a color printer. There are a few reasons why a monochrome printer might prove to be a better choice for your needs.

Why Monochrome Printers are better (for most people)

Monochrome printers are the cheapest and most basic of printers. Monochrome printers print black ink on paper and come in a variety of speeds, Typically ranging from 5 to 30 pages per minute What they lack is color. Monochrome printers are used for anything that needs to be printed in Black and White only such as any spreadsheet or Word Document

The Monochromic printer uses one type of cartridge which is the standard toner or ink cartridge. Monochromic cartridges can cost anywhere between $25-$75 depending on what brand you get and where you buy it, and generally monochrome laser printers do still print in a pretty good quality too (though sometimes not quite as good as an inkjet).

For most people looking for a printer, a monochrome is likely to be a better choice. Why? Well, there are a few reasons for this.

  • Cheaper printers – Generally to buy a monochrome printer will be much cheaper than if you were to buy a color printer. For most people, they don’t need to use color printing at home, so a cheaper monochrome option might be a better choice.
  • Lower ink costs – Another major benefit of monochrome printers as opposed to color printers is that they’re not going to cost as much in ink. Generally, colored ink costs a lot more than back and white ink anyway, and you’ll find yourself running out of colored ink pretty often, which means more refills.
  • Lightweight – Due to the extra materials that you need in a color printer, monochrome printers tend to be the better choice for those that want a lightweight and portable printer. Having a lightweight printer around the house can be advantageous, as you’ll have the ability to move it from room to room.

So, these are just some of the reasons why you might want to opt for a monochrome printer (this is only one type of printer. Check out my guide for more info, as it’ll let you know the difference between mono printers and other types

But, does this mean that you should? Well, you might also want to consider a color printer too. Here are some of the advantages of a color printer.

Reasons to Opt for a Color Laser Printer

Color Printers use multiple colored ink cartridges such as magenta, cyan etc. These Types of Cartridges cost more than monochromic ones but if you buy them a la carte then they can be cheaper.

Monochrome Laser printers print faster and more accurate than color printers, but a disadvantage with Monochrome laser printers is that they cannot print images in color. However, Monochrome laser Printers are used for documents such as school work or little business printing jobs at office or home.

  • Flexibility – Unless you’re going to be printing out tons and tons of documents, then it might be worth picking up a color printer instead. This way, you’ll always have the option to print in color if you ever need to – although you might not need color printing now, it can come in handy later down the line.
  • Better options – Although there are a lot of monochrome options currently available on the printer market, the best options still tend to be color printers as there are a lot of them available. For personal use at home, a color printer might prove to be the better choice.
  • Still have black and white – Just because you’re getting a colored printer, doesn’t mean you can’t still print in black and white. You’ll still have this option, so if you want the best of both worlds, a colored printer might prove to be a better choice.

If you need colored ink, then obviously you only have one choice to opt for out of the two. But if you’re a heavy document printer that will be printing at a high rate, then mono printers can make sense as toner cartridges are often much cheaper overall.


Overall, the difference between the two printers really depends on what you need. They work in the same way functionally, so there isn’t much difference between them beside the fact that you have the ability to print colored!

So, if you’re going to use your printer often for documents, then a monochrome printer is the better choice. But, if you’re going to want to print artwork or images, even occasionally, then a colored printer is best.

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