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Differences Between Mono and Colour Laser Printers

Updated on November 19, 2009

When you come to buy a new laser printer there are so many things to consider. Which manufacturer should you choose? What model will suit your needs best? What is your budget? But before all of these can be addressed you have to overcome the first obstacle, which is to decide whether you need a mono or colour laser printer.

By determining whether you’re happy printing in black and white or require full colour you can move on and determine how much to spend and which models fit your desired specification. Clearly the main difference between the two types is the colour or lack thereof on offer; however listed below are a selection of other significant considerations that could help to add a little more clarity to your decision making process:

Cost

A mono laser printer really comes up trumps when it comes to costs. Not only will the initial purchase price be significantly lower than a colour equivalent, but the day to day running will also show a marked reduction.

The primary reason for why running costs are kept so low is due to the cartridges they use. With a colour laser printer you require four colour cartridges (red, yellow, blue and black), or an amalgamated single cartridge with each of the four tones present; all of which costs a substantial amount more than the single tone option.

Initial costs reflect the reduction in associated features and onboard components/technology within the mono laser printer. Colour printers as a general rule of thumb tend to be slightly more complex than their mono counterparts. Because of this you really need to factor in whether or not you will genuinely require the addition of colour in your prints; because if you don’t, you could end up wasting a lot of money by choosing to go with the more expensive option.

Quality

The image reproduction is often comparable on equivalent mono and colour laser printers. Of course the major difference is that one will just be in greyscale whilst the other is more vibrant. For printing standard work documents and the occasional image, a mono laser printer should normally suffice; of course if you are looking to reproduce high quality images in their full glory the colour option is the only way to go.

Size

Laser printers tend to be larger than their inkjet counterparts. Due to their setup, speed and low print costs they are also often the printer of choice in most offices, big or small. The size of a unit isn’t often dependent on whether it is mono or colour, but is often determined by the size of the paper tray and the amount of features it has. In rare instances you may find that a colour one, complete with four toner cartridges may be larger than its mono equivalent, but this certainly isn’t a cast iron rule.

Speed

The difference in printing speed is often negligible. When printing in mono, using either a full colour or black and white printer, it may be slightly quicker than in colour; however as a general rule, modern laser printers tend to be pretty quick on the draw, so you shouldn’t have any issues with getting your work transposed onto paper with reasonable haste.

Conclusion

So there you have it, all of the differences you’ll find between a colour laser printer and its mono equivalent. In truth the most sizeable, colour transferral aside, distinction can be found in the pricing of both. If you’re on a budget and want more printer for your money, then a mono is certainly the way forward. That said, colour printers clearly offer more variety when it comes to printing options and as the technology has developed, the prices have tumbled, so you can expect prices to range from just £100 up to many thousands of pounds.

When it comes to choosing a model or a brand, well that’s a whole different story. There are certainly plenty to choose from with great examples available from manufacturers such as Epson, OKI, HP, Canon, Lexmark and Samsung. Often this decision will simply rest on your own individual requirements and the characteristics of the product itself. There are bargains to be had and a fantastic range to suit most budgets, you just need to decide whether you need colour or if you’ll be happy printing in black and white. A printer is often a long-term investment, so don’t just focus on your short-term needs.

A Quick Printing Poll...

What Printer Type Do You Own?

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A Few Colour Laser Printers

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Samsung CLP 310Samsung CLP 610Samsung CLP 660Samsung CLP 770Samsung CLP 315
Samsung CLP 310
Samsung CLP 310
Samsung CLP 610
Samsung CLP 610
Samsung CLP 660
Samsung CLP 660
Samsung CLP 770
Samsung CLP 770
Samsung CLP 315
Samsung CLP 315

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