What Is A Monochrome Printer?

Printing technology has come a long way, and there are different types of printers available for commercial and personal use. In this day and age, monochrome printers are getting famous because of their ease of use, lower price, portability, and ability to print at higher rates than their color counterparts. So, what is a monochrome primer?

A Monochrome printer is usually the most basic printer that can print using only one color of ink on the paper, primarily black. There are different monochrome printers, although they can be divided chiefly into two types – laser and inkjet.

Knowing the difference between monochrome and color printers and what to look for before making a purchase decision is vital for any type of user.

What Is A Monochrome Printer

Monochrome Printers

Monochrome printers are the most basic type of printer that can print at a single color at a time. They usually print with only black color.

These printers come in different sizes, print types, and cartridge needs. Most of the time, monochrome printers come in two main types:

  1. Monochrome Inkjet Printers
  2. Monochrome Laser Printers

Monochrome Inkjet Printers

Monochrome inkjet printers use printer ribbons to apply the ink on the paper. The color is usually black, but it can depend on which cartridge color they decide to use.

These printers are quite simple in construction. They don’t have any laser or other types of fancy technology to work with. They work primarily like how we use pen and paper on-page, albeit at a much faster pace and with more accuracy.

There are still a lot of use cases for inkjet printers:

  • Easier to repair and keep clean
  • No complicated parts, so self-repair is possible in most cases
  • They use less electricity and costs less overall
  • Much less expensive, although they might need more cartridges

There are also certain disadvantages to using inkjet monochrome printers:

  • You need to replace inks as they will run out sooner regularly
  • Capital cost is lower than laser printers, but cartridge cost will add soon
  • Produce less transparent and lower quality prints than laser printers
  • Not suitable for bulk printing

Monochrome Laser Printers

Monochrome laser printers use a high-powered laser to make markings on the page, which is traditionally done by using ink by the ribbons. Laser printers are a better version of inkjet monochrome printers. They are the go-to monochrome printers for most individuals.

Laser printers have some clear benefits over inkjet printers:

  • Costs you less money, as cartridges and refills will take longer to run out
  • They print much faster than inkjet printers
  • Print quality is much higher than inkjet counterparts
  • Ink is less prone to smudge or get faded by water
  • Perfect for bulk printing

Despite having a clear victory over inkjet printers, laser printers also have some drawbacks.

  • More complex parts, so self-repairing is not possible most of the time
  • Laser printers are prone to more mechanical failures
  • Capital cost is higher than inkjet ones
  • Draws more electricity

Monochrome vs. Color Printers – What’s the Difference?

The primary difference between choosing a monochrome printer and a color printer is quite simple. A color printer will provide a lot better options as you’ll be able to print with colors.

Most color printers come with the full range of CMYK- also known as Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black color space. You’ll be able to print any ranges of color you see in the real world with this.

On the flip side, a monochrome printer will not give you the option to print in full color. You can only do black and white prints suitable for texts, graphs, and other standard applications. But a monochrome has some additional benefits over any type of color printer.

Below are some more intriguing factors that set the monochrome printer apart from a standard color printer.

Printer Cost

If saving costs per print is your end goal, you should go with a monochrome printer.

For most home use cases, you don’t need a color printer. Color printers usually come at a higher price than their monochrome counterpart because of the color technology they provide and how they are transferred to the page.

If you’re looking for printing top-quality images while reproducing the best color possible, you have to go with costly color printers.

You can also get your hands on one of those ink-jets printers. They don’t cost nearly as much as the higher-tier models while sacrificing the range of color and clarity.

Monochrome printers should be their best bet for individuals who are less committed to printing in color and want to work toward a corporate environment. Most monochrome printers don’t cost nearly as much as a good quality ink-jet printer and can save you a ton of money.

Moreover, monochrome printers can also reproduce images in greyscale with different shades of grey. You can easily opt for a monochrome printer to print greyscale photos often.

Printer Speed

The monochrome printers’ most significant advantage over conventional color printers is their printing speed.

These printers have a very high printing speed. They don’t need to spend too much time figuring out the color composition and ways to bring out the colors on the page. They only have the black color to work with, and typically they are very efficient at printing texts.

Monochrome printers can usually go for 30 pages per minute (ppm), while the higher-end models will go up to 100 ppm. So, these printers are perfect for printing out high volumes of paper within a small time frame.

You can easily find your printer speed by checking the ppm on the manufacturer’s documentation or their dedicated website.

Cost Per Page

While you can budget for a color printer, keeping it operational with enough ink cartridges is different.

For starters, monochrome cartridges cost a lot less than color cartridges. It can cost anywhere between $25-$75, depending on the brand and the amount of ink on the cartridge.

On a different note, companies often mislead their customers with the actual printing cost. More often than not, opting for cheaper equipment and cartridges will cost you more in the long run than getting expensive ones.

For accurately measuring and controlling the expense, cost per page is the most important thing you should focus on. You can calculate the actual cost per page for printing using the following equation:

Cost Per Page = Cartridge Price / Page Yield + Total Paper Cost

As you already know, monochrome printers will cost a whole less because the inking cost is a lot less. You have to go for at least four different color cartridges for color printers, and they are usually much more expensive than their black counterparts.

Printing Application

Figuring out what you need your printer for should be the primary motivation behind getting a new printer.

Color printers have the edge of reproducing accurate colors on the page. They can also produce color scans of images and be used for magazine printing.

While monochrome printers cannot reproduce color images on a page, they’ll produce sharp text prints at a lower cost. They’ll also print monochrome images with higher fidelity and sharper details.

Features To Look For In A Monochrome Printer

If you’re interested in buying a new monochrome printer, here are some critical aspects that you need to consider before making the decision.

Types of Function

If you need to handle faxes regularly, photocopying, and scanning documents, you might want to consider going for a multifunctional laser printer rather than a normal one.

Of course, it’ll cost you more money. But if the functionality is what you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong with a multifunctional one!


USB connectivity is available on all the standard printers. Still, if you’re in an office environment and looking to handle multiple printing jobs for different people, ethernet connectivity is a must.

Many of the new printers also come with wireless functionality. That lets you use the printing function with multiple people simultaneously.

Cartridge Cost

The direct cost for printers is relatively low these days. So, the cartridge cost over time should also come into the equation.

Cartridge cost depends on different things like how many pages can be printed types of cartridges – whether it’s a drummer, fuser, or toner.

Paper Handling

Different printers come with varying paper requirements. Some will fit A4 size papers, while the others might use A3 size. Many printers can handle heavier paper types like envelopes and bush paper, while the others won’t take papers thicker than 100 GSM.

So you need to be aware of the types of paper you’re using to print.

Duty Cycle

The duty cycle is essential to consider if you regularly want to use your printer for bulk prints.

Every printer has a specific number of pages that it can handle per month. It can range from something like 5000 pages per month to a couple thousand depending on the model. If you’re expecting your printer to work regularly, you should know its duty cycle.

Reasons To Opt For A Monochrome Printer

For most people looking for a printer to buy, monochrome printers should be their definite choice. They are the cheapest and most basic printers that will do the things they want at a higher speed.

Following are some of the reasons you should be looking for while buying a monochrome printer.

Cheap Printing

Most people are looking to save money while printing. They don’t want to break their banks while printing regular documents for their offices or personal needs.

For most people, going in the route of buying a monochrome printer instead of an inkjet is the better choice to make.

Lower Ink Cost

Another important reason you should opt for a monochrome printer is that they don’t cost nearly as much per cartridge.

Color printers use much more ink than a conventional monochrome printer. Not to mention they even cost more than black ink. Color inks also run out much faster. So you need to keep buying new cartridges to keep the printing going regularly.

Sharper Prints

If your primary goal is to print documents, a monochrome printer will provide you with much better results.

Typically monochrome printers give higher DPI prints with much better sharpness than color printers. If you want the same sharpness from a color printer, you must spend a significant amount of money.


Color printers are pretty heavy because of the extra materials and larger ink cartridge size. Monochrome printers are a much better choice for you if you’re looking for something portable and can carry on the go.

Having a lighter printer might be advantageous for home use. You’ll be able to move your printer whenever you want from room to room. Moreover, monochrome printers have much less chance of messing something up on the inside when you carry it on the go.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do monochrome printers print color?

No, monochrome printers can’t print color on pages.

Do monochrome printers need ink?

Yes, monochrome printers need black ink to function correctly.

What is the difference between monochrome and black and white printers?

Monochrome printers can print different shades of grey, while the black and white printer will only print black on white paper.

Can monochrome printer print GREY?

Yes, most monochrome printers can print different shades of gray onto paper.

Is it better to print in monochrome or grayscale?

If you want greyscale images, it’s better to print in greyscale. But if you’re looking to print documents, then monochrome prints are better.

Final Words

Knowing your needs for printing is the most important factor before making the purchase decision. Different printers are available for different needs. Some are for color printing, some are for bulk prints, and some are multipurpose, like scanning and faxing documents.

Knowing what is a monochrome printer and a color printer and the ability to understand when you need one is crucial. We hope you’ll now be able to make your purchase decision on printers. Happy shopping!