REVIEW: Color vs. Monochrome Laser Printers

As a longtime user of color laser printers, I was beginning to have second thoughts about whether to buy another color laser or to seriously consider a monochrome model.  Both platforms have pros and cons worthy of consideration.

Color Laser Printers

If you are looking for attractive colorful printouts, a color laser printer may be right for you.  These printers feature 4 separate toner cartridges that work together to produce a full-color image.  Although inkjets do a better job of  printing photos, color lasers produce excellent, sharp images especially when text is involved.  And unlike inkjets, color laser toner cartridges do not dry out so you don’t need to worry about ink expiration dates.

Unfortunately, there are many more negatives when considering a color laser printer.  The prime consideration is cost.  Color laser printers typically cost about double what a monochrome model would sell for.  They start out around $200 and go well over $1000.  A monochrome model could start just under $100 and go to about $500.

When considering cost, your biggest expense is in maintaining 4 separate toner cartridges (black, magenta, cyan and yellow).  Many color cartridges cost around $70-100, so a complete set will cost about $300-400.  Although most color lasers include a set of starter cartridges good for 200-300 pages, a full set will produce 1500-2500 pages depending on whether you purchase a standard or high-yield toner cartridges.

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