monochrome vs grayscale printing

Printing in Monochrome vs. Grayscale

Wizix TechBlog, commercial printers, office tips

When you need to print in black and white, knowing when to choose between monochrome and grayscale will result in better-quality, professional-looking documents. While these settings may sound similar, monochrome and grayscale are two entirely different printing processes used for producing black-and-white prints.


Improving your business’s printing practices by using the most efficient features for your office’s needs can help improve productivity. Continue reading to learn more about the differences between printing in grayscale vs. monochrome and how knowing which method to use can improve your document quality. 

Monochrome vs. Grayscale Printing: What’s the Difference?

So what is the difference between grayscale and monochrome printing? It comes down to how each setting uses color. Many people assume that when a printer prints something in black and white, it doesn’t use the color cartridge.  But with grayscale setting printing, the printer uses color ink or toner cartridges in combination with black to produce different shades of gray. This helps produce better shading and contrast in black-and-white images and graphics.

On the other hand, when you print in monochrome (black and white), your printer only requires two colors. It uses the black ink or toner cartridge to produce both black and gray tones, and leaves blank spaces on the paper to create white. This option is better for blocks of text that don’t involve fine details, like images.  

When shopping for printers, it’s important to note that a color printer can print in both monochrome and grayscale, while a monochrome printer cannot print in grayscale. 

Is it Better to Print in Monochrome or Grayscale?

Whether or not you should print in monochrome or grayscale will depend on your printing needs. For example, if you mainly print black and white text, then using the monochrome setting or investing in a monochrome printer is the best choice. Grayscale printing is better for black-and-white images, because of this setting’s ability to create various contrasting shades and finer details.

Three Tips for Using Monochrome vs. Grayscale Printing

1. Check Your Settings

Using the right settings when you print documents or black-and-white images will help your business reduce costs. If you continuously print plain text documents in grayscale instead of monochrome, you will run out of expensive color cartridges more quickly.

Monochrome printing only requires a small amount of black ink, while grayscale printing mixes black and color ink or toner to make up different shades of gray. So, if you use grayscale to print black text, you end up needlessly using your color cartridge. 

However, some printers do allow you to choose to use the black ink cartridge only for printing in grayscale. Always check your settings before printing plain black-and-white documents. 

2. Use Color Cartridges Sparingly

Understanding your printer settings can help ensure your ink cartridges last longer. Because color cartridges cost more, you can save money on ink cartridges by only printing in color and grayscale when absolutely necessary. 

Plus, the fewer cartridges you use up, the less negative impact they can have on the environment. If you are interested in more environmentally friendly printing practices, you can leave your used cartridges with us for proper recycling. 

3. Scan Images in Grayscale

Just as with printing, scanning images in grayscale will result in better black-and-white image quality. Scanning in monochrome may be slightly faster and take up less storage space, but it can also result in poor-quality images. If you need to save file space you can always scan an image in color and convert it to black and white later. However, you cannot revert a monochrome image back to color.

Toner Replenishment in California

Knowing the differences between monochrome vs. grayscale printing can help make your toner cartridges last much longer. However, they will still run out eventually. Don’t risk forgetting to restock your supplies! At WiZiX Technology Group in California, we offer a convenient autoship toner supply service that sends you replacement cartridges as soon as your supplies start to run low. Call 866-846-1411 to speak with a representative about ordering printer supplies. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (10/28/2021). Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash