Men In Ink
Ink & Toner Experts Since 2002



Black Only vs. Colour Printing


‘Black only’ (or grayscale) printing seems to be a confusing subject. It's one of those things we at Men In Ink find ourselves talking about often! Saving money while printing efficiently is the goal, so let’s dive into this one… Should you print grayscale whenever possible? Will that save your colour ink and keep you printing longer and more inexpensively?


Some background…

Grayscale printing is used in commercial print shops to print what appear to be ‘black only’ images. What you may not realize is that ALL colours are used when printing something ‘black only’ so the image has a richer appearance. For home printers, your default settings will do the same - your printer will use both the black and colour cartridges to print, even when set to grayscale! Quality black printing requires both black and colour inks for depth and fullness. All colour printers are designed with this in mind.

How can you save ink then?

Rather than trying to print everything in grayscale, use ‘draft’ or ‘fast draft’ printer settings instead! This is the absolute best way to reduce the amount of ink you’re using when printing. Remember, printers use both black and colour inks when printing grayscale, so you’re not saving anything by doing so unnecessarily.

Some printers will print with only a black ink cartridge installed - if your printer does this, you can technically save ink and use black ink only to print. Please remember inkjet printers work best when used regularly and ink cartridges dry out pretty easily - so printing with black ink only may mean your colour ink cartridge will dry out and go to waste. Again, the best way to save ink is to use both cartridges regularly in draft quality!

How to properly print ‘black only’

If everything you print can be grayscale, we highly recommend buying a monochrome (black only) laser printer instead. They’re usually a bit more expensive up front as compared to an inkjet printer, but you’ll save much more in the long run!! Monochrome lasers have the lowest cost per page by far and will run forever. And did we mention that they DON’T dry out? Speak to someone (read: Men In Ink) before buying one to make sure you’re getting the most value for your money. As with inkjet, all printers are NOT equal!

Feel free to get in touch if you have further questions about what we’ve covered in this blog. If this information helped you, we’d love to hear your comment below!