Color images make our lives brighter and more interesting, but when it comes to printers, color printing doesn’t always fit your usage needs. What is a monochrome printer? This device can be much more economical to use if your main goal is office documents, invoices, and study materials. This is often the logical choice for business use.
Monochrome printer (monochrome – from Ancient Greek ‘one’, and ‘color’) – lives up to its name and can only print in one color at a time – black is most often used because it is the color of business documents.
Monochrome vs color printers: how to figure out what I need?
To do this, you first need to answer the question “can monochrome printers print in a different color?”. The logical question for most people deciding what type of printer they need is whether it is possible to fill a mono printer with ink of a different color, thus expanding the device’s capabilities.
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is that it is impossible to implement. The cartridges that can be found on sale under this type of printer are limited to black only. However, you can still use grayscale printing.
A monochrome printer does not have a toner cartridge to mix different shades, but a grayscale printer does have toner cartridges that will produce results in a wide range of shades of the palette between black ink and white paper.
Consider that a grayscale printer is more economical in terms of ink consumption due to the fact that there is no constant need to print with rich black ink on paper.
What is better, if you compare monochrome vs color printers?
Let’s see what advantages they have.
- Cheaper than color printers, which require a substantial maintenance budget in the long run;
- Again, it’s a matter of price: when printing a high volume of documents, a mono printer will do it much cheaper;
- Faster printing speed is also an advantage of mono printers when printing a large volume of documents (scientific papers, text documents, flyers, business literature);
- Less demanding to maintain than color laser printers due to simpler design;
While color printers:
- Have a wider range of printing objects
- More flexible in use: for example, you can print photographs, business literature, promotional materials, and some educational materials.
- Have the ability to create different shades of colors.
- Have a high print quality, the result looks very presentable, but inferior to the quality and print speed of monochrome laser printers and requires a special selection of paper.
Criteria for choosing between a monochrome and color printer
Keep in mind that color printers require a whole set of color ink cartridges, which are more expensive than cartridges for mono printing.
On the other hand, color printers can be recommended for personal use at home – sometimes there are times in life when a printer is needed, and not just black and white, but color.
There are many color printers on the market today. When you buy a device for color printing, you have the option to print black and white images too, so this option takes over the task of a monochrome device.
When choosing a printer, keep in mind that you should not buy an expensive item if its potential is not fully utilized.
Its maintenance may end up costing more than the benefit of working with the device.
If you’re going to be using a document printer, then a monochrome appliance is the best buy. However, if you often need to print color images, illustrations, or graphs, a color laser printer is the best choice.
But if the above advantages could convince you to buy a monochrome device, let’s see what types of mono printers are and what they are capable of.
What are the types of monochrome printers?
Monochrome printers can be divided into several categories, we will talk about the two main ones – monochrome laser printers and mono inkjet printers.
Should I pay attention to monochrome inkjet printers?
Monochrome inkjet printers are a cheaper classic version of printers that can still serve their purpose well if used correctly. These printers use ribbons and ink to print on paper. The technology, like everything ingenious, is simple – imagine the printing process on a monochrome inkjet printer as writing with a pen on paper, only the result will be incomparably faster, and it will also be more durable.
Benefits of monochrome inkjet printers
- Relatively low price – in the segment of monochrome printers, inkjet printers are the most budget option;
- Simple design, which makes it easier to clean and repair the printer;
- The second advantage of the simple design of this printer is the ability to repair it yourself, and in the event of a serious breakdown, calling the master will slightly reduce your budget;
- Compared with other types of printers, the monochrome inkjet printer is very economical in terms of energy use.
However, these devices also have disadvantages.
Negative traits of monochrome inkjet printers
- Print quality and clarity of such printers loses in comparison with laser ones;
- These devices tend to print with pale gray ink if the cartridge starts to run low;
- Printer inks require regular replacement, an aspect of machine maintenance that can cast doubt on the perceived cost-effectiveness of these types of printers.
Monochrome laser printers: Device Upgrade
The principle of operation of a monochrome laser printer is to use a laser to apply an image. This technology began to be used for printing about 20 years after the invention of the inkjet printer and is an alternative to inkjet printing with ink while having numerous advantages.
Advantages of the monochrome laser printer
- Compared to monochrome inkjet devices, their laser competitors do not require such frequent maintenance, consisting of the constant replacement of ink cartridges;
- Print speed: laser printer can get the job done much faster than a monochrome inkjet printer;
- The print result of monochrome laser printers is more durable, does not smudge, and can be legible even underwater;
- The print quality itself is much higher and clearer compared to inkjet ones, the print is more durable and more difficult to degrade.
Of course, monochrome inkjet printers also have disadvantages, which we will discuss below.
Disadvantages of the monochrome laser printer
- Price: these printers tend to be more expensive, which is largely justified by the print quality.
- The design of a laser printer is no longer as simple as that of an inkjet printer, making it more difficult to repair and more likely to call a specialist, which is fraught with unintended costs.
- Good print quality comes at a price, as these printers often wear out quickly, although this depends entirely on what you are using your monochrome laser printers for.
How to choose the right type of monochrome printer?
So, if you have already determined that purchasing a monochrome device will be a more profitable option for you than a color laser printer, we suggest that you consider in this section how to approach the issue of choosing a printer correctly, and what you should focus on in this matter.
The key factor when choosing a monochrome printer is the purpose of the device.
For example, if you need a printer for a large office that needs to print large volumes, and you are willing to pay for quality, we recommend that you purchase a laser printer.
You will have high-speed printing, moreover, papers will be printed with high quality and clearly, besides, their appearance will be more presentable. In addition, during busy work, problems, and the need for printer maintenance may appear completely inopportunely – in this regard, laser printers are more reliable.
If your goal is home use, printing documents for study, or printing internal documents in a medium or small office, then buying a monochrome inkjet printer may well be enough for you. Logically, with lower print volumes, the need for maintenance decreases accordingly.
However, if you are technically savvy, you can afford to purchase a monochrome laser printer. This will expand your work opportunities if you work in the creative industries or marketing.
Thus, you will be able to get a quality result with minimal maintenance costs, if you are sure that you can carry it out yourself.
What characteristics should you pay attention to when choosing a monochrome printer?
Check the print speed
If you have chosen a monochrome printer, then most likely you need to print a large amount of paper. We already know that the advantage of laser printers is the printing speed. Therefore, paying attention to this characteristic is one of the keys when using the printer.
To do this, check the characteristic printed page speed per minute (ppm).
Good monochrome appliances can print about 100 pages per minute on average.
You should also pay attention to print quality
This characteristic directly depends on the separating power of the printer (dots per inch) – dpi. That is, the higher the dpi, the clearer the result of the printer will be.
For a small business, we can recommend a mid-range monochrome printer capable of sharpness of around 600 dpi. At the same time, for large enterprises with a need for high-quality printing, high-end monochrome printers are better suited.
Capacity for paper supply
The optimum capacity is 150 sheets for small print volumes and 250 for medium print volumes. There are also monochrome printers on the market, in which you can expand the input capacity of the printer if necessary.
Ability to print on different surfaces
If you are interested not only in routine printing on sheets of A4 paper, but in the creation of stickers, inscriptions, and images on papers of other sizes, and envelopes, then pay attention to flexible printers. They allow you to print on a wide range of media and impress with their versatility in use.
A feature that allows you to print on paper on both sides automatically using the settings. This saves on the amount of paper used.
Function of wireless network connection
This will greatly facilitate the work in the office if employees have one printer for several people. This feature of a printer allows you to avoid distraction from the workflow and get rid of excess wires in the office/room.
You may also be interested: Can you use sublimation ink for regular printing?
Keep in mind that the life of an ink cartridge is different from the life of the ink. The life of a cartridge for monochrome printing can be affected by the quality of both the printer and the cartridge itself.
Typically, ink cartridges last up to 2 years with moderate usage. Then the ink starts to dry out and the print quality drops.
When choosing a printer, focus on your needs. If you have chosen to purchase a monochrome printer, make a list of the features that are critical to your use of the device. After all, the main thing is to get as much benefit from the printer as possible, in relation to the cost of buying it.
Read also: What is the best shirt for sublimation?
We are confident that by following our recommendations you will be able to choose a printer that is ideally suited to your criteria.
You can also read our article on Canon Printer vs Epson: Which is Better?
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Hi, I’m artist and sublimation printing expert. Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, I had passion for photography and painting from my childhood. I started my career as a sublimation print operator for a local printing company in 2012. The role exposed gave me lots of practical knowledge about printing process, from managing color profiles to ensuring print quality on various materials.