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Color vs. Black-and-White Printing

2 min read


What is best for your business?

If you are the one tasked with determining your company’s printer needs, you likely have done a little head scratching. There are many things to consider, especially when determining if your office needs a color or black-and-white printer. If you are evaluating your company’s printing needs or thinking about making changes, it’s important to understand a few things.

Cost and value

There is still a hangover effect in the market after the first color laser printer was introduced at a hefty price tag in the early ‘90s. It’s true that traditionally color devices have been much more expensive than black and white devices. But today, that price has come down dramatically.

The type of color printing done by your office should be factored into any decision. While color printing may have some additional costs, it also can add value. Some types of communication are inherently more effective when they include color. Think of technical drawings, detailed spreadsheets, sales presentations, and marketing materials. In addition, most color devices can be set to print in black and white only, which provides a significant cost per copy savings with a service agreement but allows the flexibility to print in color when necessary.

Toner usage

The reason color copiers tend to be associated with higher toner cartridge costs is because color printing devices typically require four different color cartridges - cyan, magenta, yellow, black – to print the right color. Printing in black and white, on the other hand, uses a single black cartridge. If your output skews heavily toward the need for color, the additional cost of toner needed to operate a color device may be worth it. Businesses can reduce toner usage and save money by only printing in color when necessary.

Quantity and speed

It’s important to understand your business’s printer output and speed of work. The number of copies your company prints per month will determine a few things when investing in a new copier. If you have a low volume output or it’s for individual use rather than office-wide use, you may be able to utilize a low volume, slower speed printer. If the machine will be used by multiple users with various printing needs, you may want to consider a higher-speed multi-function device.

Performance and function

Performance, like cost, is an area of misunderstanding when it comes to assessing the differences between color and black-and-white printing. It used to be that color printing was considered slower than black-and-white, but that’s no longer always the case. The two are now comparable in performance. Today’s color printers also have all the same features previously believed to only be in black and white devices – duplexing, high-capacity paper trays, finishing options, and media choices. Additionally, color devices today can be managed on the network in the same way black-and-white printers were traditionally.

So, what is best for your business?

The choice between color and black-and-white devices is ultimately up to your business’s individual needs. By thinking through the above factors, you can make a more informed decision. If you still have questions and would like to discuss them with an expert, contact the imaging team at EO Johnson Business Technologies.



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