The choice between an inkjet printer and a laser printer boils down to what you want to use the device for. While one set of users may benefit more from an inkjet printer, others may find a laser print a better fit for their unique needs. Here in this post, we will examine the differences in inkjet and laser printers. The information will help you make an informed decision on whether you should buy an inkjet or a laser printer.
An inkjet printer sprays tiny droplets of liquid ink through microscopic nozzles onto the substrate. A laser printer, on the other hand, has a drum unit that fuses tiny particles of toner powder onto the substrate. Laser printing technology offers greater precision in comparison to inkjet printing.
It’s a common belief that smudging is more common in inkjet printers because they use liquid inks. However, inkjets that use pigment-based inks are less likely to smudge. Dye-based ink takes more time for the ink to set. The amount of smudging also depends on the type of paper used. Some paper types are better at absorbing ink.
Initial Cost of Buying the Printer
The device acquisition cost for inkjet printers is lower in comparison to laser printers. Therefore, if you’re looking for an economical printer for personal use, consider buying an inkjet. Most households across the world now use inkjet printers for everyday printing needs. The cost difference between a multi-function inkjet and a laser printer is huge with laser printers usually costing more than inkjets.
Ongoing Cost (Cartridge Replacement)
Considering the page-yield or cost-per-print, ink cartridges (inkjet printer consumable) are more expensive than toners (laser printer consumable). The cost-per-print for inkjet printers is around 5-10 cents for black & white text and 15-25 cents for color prints. For laser printers, the cost-per-print is less than 5 cents for monochrome documents and around 15 cents for color prints.
The truth is that both ink cartridges and toners are pricey. The best way to reduce the ongoing cost is to consider buying compatible ink cartridges and toners from a reputable seller. You can save up to 50% in ink cartridge or toner replacement costs by choosing high-yield compatible ink cartridges instead of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) inks. In any case, make sure the ink cartridge or toner that you buy is the right fit for your printer.
You can also recycle ink cartridges in exchange for a discount on new ink cartridge purchase or a charity donation, or maybe sell unused ink cartridges if it’s not compatible.
When You Need Black and White Prints
Get a monochrome laser printer if you need to print large volumes of black & white documents. Laser printers are better suited for producing sharp, black text with crisp and clear letterforms. With inkjet printers, the print is legible but the individual letters won’t be as crisp in detail, especially when the fonts are smaller in size.
When You Need Color Prints
If you need to print high-quality photographs and image-heavy documents, consider buying an inkjet printer. With dye/pigment-based inks, inkjet printers can handle colors well and deliver brilliantly-colored prints. These devices offer greater tonal variety and are better at blending colors.
Color laser printers rely on halftone dots to create various colors on the substrate; these devices can print basic photos but they’re not built to produce lab-quality photo prints. Expensive laser printers that can handle higher-quality color well, work with laser-printer-ready photo paper only.
Therefore, photographers, graphic designers, and businesses that require high-resolution prints for marketing, client presentations, sales pitches, etc. should consider inkjet printers.
Laser printers are engineered to print faster as they are generally used in commercial establishments. A laser printer can print between 15 to 100 pages per minute. An inkjet prints at a slower rate; it can deliver around 15 pages per minute. The exact print speed varies for different laser/inkjet printer models. Over the last few years, inkjet printers have become a lot faster but they are still slow in comparison to laser printers.
The difference in print speed won’t matter much if you print just a few pages at a time. However, it can be a serious consideration for a high-volume user.
All printer vendors mention figures such as monthly duty cycle and recommended monthly print volume in their product descriptions. The monthly duty cycle is the maximum number of pages that a device can print without suffering any damage. Recommended monthly print volume is the amount that you should print to keep your device operating at optimal performance.
Designed to be an office workhorse, a laser printer has a much higher monthly duty cycle as well as recommended monthly print volume. This is the reason why large scale businesses that print reams of paper every day/week prefer buying laser printers. Small businesses that print less frequently may consider buying budget inkjet printers.
The Drum Unit
An inkjet printer requires only ink cartridges to print. A laser printer, however, requires two consumables – toner cartridges and a drum unit. Some laser printers have a toner and a drum joined as one unit. All laser printers manufactured by HP have toner cartridges integrated with a drum unit. Laser printers made by Brother, on the other hand, have a separate drum unit. A drum unit needs replacement once you’ve used around three to four toner cartridges. Since toner cartridges last long, you’d rarely need to have the drum unit replaced.
Different printer models vary in size and design but laser printers tend to be larger and heavier than inkjet printers. You may find it difficult to accommodate a laser printer in a home office.
Inkjets printers have benefited a great deal from recent advances in miniaturization. Some inkjet such as Canon PIXMA MP280 now have a printhead built into the cartridge. Turn to our Canon printer ink and toner cartridges for beautiful printing of your photos and documents
Laser printers are comparatively larger in size because these devices have to accommodate a bigger drum unit, a thermal element, and a laser module. Multi-function laser printers can be so bulky that you’d need a separate table to accommodate them in an office.
Guest article written by: My name is George Mendelson. I am the PR Media Manager at InkjetsClub, a nationwide leading ink and toner retailer. One of my passions is educating and helping people through all the issues related to Printers, Ink Cartridges and Toners.