Color Ink VS. Black and White: When to Use Which

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Color Ink VS. Black and White: When to Use Which

Most businesses still use printing as a main method of communication. Ensuring your printing remains cost-effective is important regardless of big or small your needs are. No company wants to be throwing money away on wasted ink and toner cartridges! A big way to keep costs down is by choosing black and white ink and toner over color. Color ink is on average more expensive per page than black and white. Unfortunately, it isn’t always feasible to print everything in black and white. Knowing when to choose a color print and when to choose black and white will maximize your ink and toner usage, leading to lower overall printing expenses.

How Does Color Printing Get So Expensive?

To understand why color printing is so expensive, it’s important to understand how it works. When you’re printing an image in color, you’re not typically using only the four colors loaded into your printer. Those colors are recognized to anyone who’s had to replace ink and toner cartridges before: CMYK. This acronym stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. It’s rare to print an image entirely made up of just these four colors! Instead, when you hit ‘print’ on a picture, your printer breaks up the image’s colors into layers. It then layers CMYK colors on top of each other in specific areas to create the vivid shades you see on your computer screen. Because of the layering process, a single shade (for example, purple) may be made up of a combination of all four CMYK colors. This draws ink from all four cartridges, depleting your supplies much faster than if only one was used at a time. Your ink and toner costs will go up the more often you need to replace cartridges.

A printing press printing materials

Where Black and White Printing Can Save You Money

Black and white printing may not be as beautiful as color, but it’s significantly less expensive. The reason costs remain so low with black and white printing is twofold: there’s a lower upfront cost and there’s traditionally less ink used per printed page when compared to color printing. With text documents there is a lot of white space left on the page. The more white space (areas where the ink didn’t need to touch at all) is in a printed sheet, the less material your printer needed to expend. When you don’t use as much ink to create images or text, you don’t have to replace your cartridges as often. As we mentioned above, color printing frequently uses all four color cartridges to create a single shade in an image. Black and white printing always comes from the same cartridge. You only need to replace one when it’s out! The price to replace black and white cartridges is usually cheaper than color cartridges, so you can see big savings printing in only black.

Packs of grid paper on a conveyor belt

When to Use Color and When to Use Black and White

While it would be great to just print everything in black and white to keep costs down, it’s not always practical. Modern businesses often need color to drive their point home. There are still quite a few ways in which you can save money, even when printing in color. The simplest is to limit use as much as possible. Reserve color printing for what absolutely must have vivid shades, such as presentations to a client. First and second drafts don’t need to be the prettiest, so use black and white printing until you’re on the final version. Most importantly, always go with a high-quality ink or toner. Cheap, off-brand cartridges frequently contain less ink or toner than their name-brand counterparts and the poor quality materials can seep into your printer, causing damage. We’re here to help make sure you keep ink and toner cartridges to a minimum expense! Please place your orders or address any questions by phone: 702.221.2465 Or email:


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