Black and white printers are cheaper to buy and use than color printers because black and white printers require one ink or toner cartridge, while color printers typically require four cartridges: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. A new color printer may cost twice as much as a monochrome printer.

A black and white printer is more practical when the user only prints black and white text documents. On the other hand, color printers are useful for printing photographs and documents that contain colored text, graphics or illustrations. Usually bigger and heavier in size, color printers may print slower with higher costs per page and require more parts maintenance than black and white printers.