Black and White vs Color Printer: Which is Best for Your Business?

Black and White vs Color Printer - Find Out Which is Best for Your Business

Black and White vs Color Printer: Which is Best for Your Business?

It’s Monday morning and you are strolling into the office only to find piles of paperwork on the desk waiting for you. Ready to take on the day, you grab a cup of coffee and get to work. As you shift through the papers you notice that they are all black and white and begin to think… do we really need that color printer in the office?

Okay, maybe it didn’t go exactly like that, but if you are wondering which printer is best both economically and practically for your business, keep reading. Finding the right copier for your unique business can be a challenging feat and many do not know where to start. Why are color printers so much more expensive? How do I calculate printer output volume?

Follow along with us as we walk you through a few questions to ensure there is no buyers remorse.

Factors That Affect the B&W vs Color Battle
In Conclusion

Black and White vs Color

Factors That Affect The B&W vs Color Battle

Office Technology is ever evolving. Regardless of the manufacturer, copiers and printers are available in either black and white or color. Most of the color options 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. However, in most cases there is a price to value difference between the two pieces of equipment, so you will want to give some serious thought as to whether having that functionality is worth the investment. If you require color printing, but at a low volume, another option may be to purchase a larger black and white machine and a less expensive desktop color printer.

Related Article: 3 Benefits Of A Copy Machine For Any Business



Black and White printers and copiers take significantly less toner due to the simplicity of the single black cartridge. The economic advantages are clear with an average cost of a black and white page being $0.08.


Color (CMYK) printing typically requires four separate cartridges: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. A color copy of the same quality as the above black and white page has an average cost of $0.10 to $0.15 per page, potentially doubling your spend. Keep in mind, when purchasing toner there are higher end, mid-range, and lower end options that can affect the cost per page slightly.

Although black and white printers may be the affordably priced option, many companies require color printing regularly for charts, graphs, proposals, marketing materials, and more. If this is the case for your company as well, continue reading below to see if the quantity of output justifies the increased cost.



The number of copies that your company prints per month will determine a few things when purchasing a new copier. If you have a low volume output or it’s for individual use rather than office wide, you will be able to utilize a low volume, slower speed, and less expensive piece of equipment. If you will be using the machine for multiple users or consolidating smaller pieces of equipment, you will want to consider a higher speed multi-function copier, which will avoid print overage charges or excessive wear and tear on the equipment. Either way, it’s very important to get a precise monthly volume count to ensure that any service agreement that you enter into is accurate and that you are only paying for the volume that you’re using.

If you would like to monitor volume over time, many machines have a page count listed in the printer settings on the LCD Display. Below are a few articles with step by step guides to checking the page counter value for a printer.

Canon: Viewing the Page Counter Value
Konica Minolta: Checking Counters
Ricoh/Lanier: Checking the Counter Information

Using this information, the need for color may be clear based on a high level of volume over time. Use the cost per page formula:

(Black Cartridge Price/Page Yield) + [(CMY Cartridge Price/Page Yield) x 3] = Total Cartridge Cost Per Page


(Total Cartridge Cost Per Page x Number of Color Prints) x Expected Life of Machine = Additional Cost of Color Printer

If the above number is higher than the added cost to purchase the color printer or copier, it will be worth it for your company to move forward with a color machine. If it is lower, it may be best to stick to the black and white machine. This is not an exact formula and page coverage, high-quality photo printing, and quality of the cartridge (to name a few) can slightly alter the result. Keep in mind, other factors can drive the cost of a machine itself up such as added functionality (stapling, folding, hole punching) and the quality of the device.

Related Article: The Best Multi-Function Copiers



Let’s get “laser” focused on laser and inkjet printers (too cheesy?). There’s no question when it comes to who wins the speed battle between black & white and color printing, but does it matter for your business? If there is a constant scramble for last minute printed invoices that have to get in the mail within the next 2 minutes before the mailman arrives or a service manual that needs to be printed accurately before you head out to your next sales call, then speed may be an important factor for your team. If the team primarily functions at a slower pace with high-end proposals or all-day internal document printing (contracts, owners manuals, and documents of that type) a slower ppm (page per minute) may not affect the functionality of your team much. Some factors to keep in mind that may also slow down printer and copier speed:

  1. Age of the Machine
  2. Software Updates
  3. Image Size and Quality
  4. Resolution (ppi)
  5. Inkjet Printers are on average 2x slower than Laser Printers (High-Volume Printers have an even faster ppm than standard Laser)

In Conclusion

The choice between black and white and color printers and copiers is ultimately up to your business’s individual needs. By questioning the above factors and how they relate to your business, you are one step closer to ensuring there is no buyer’s remorse. Ultimately, if the primary function of printing for the office is documents, then a black and white printer may be the one to focus on. If there is more of a need for printing artwork, images, and color proposals, then color may be the primary focus for your research.

Want a customized solution based on your needs? Not quite sure where to go from here? Let the experts at Ford Office Technologies give you a hand at 1-800-633-3673 or by emailing

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