Inkjet Printers vs. Laser Printers
Most people think about printers in a general sense. They may realize that there are many different manufacturers and models available, but they don’t understand how different inkjet and laser printers truly are. As the two common types available, they have similar capabilities on the surface, but use totally different mechanisms to print—both with strengths and weaknesses to consider.
So what are the core differences between laser printers and inkjet printers? And which one is right for your business?
Laser vs. Inkjet Printers: The Basics
Laser and inkjet printers are both widely available, and in many various contexts. Whether you’re buying a small printer for your home office, an industrial printer for your office, or ongoing managed print services, you’ll get to choose between these two fundamentally different types.
An inkjet printer uses traditional liquid ink to print. When you send a job to this machine, it will process the job and use microscopic drops of ink to gradually form text and images. In most cases, inkjet printers are smaller, less expensive, and yet capable of printing high-quality photos. But because ink is associated with so many issues, it’s not always the best choice.
A laser toner uses a powerful laser to melt toner powder instead of spraying droplets of ink. Toner is a dry substance, so it’s usually simpler to use. As you might imagine, laser printers are more expensive up front, but they tend to be less expensive and easier to deal with in the long run because toner is capable of lasting longer with fewer issues.
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Printer Toner vs. Ink
The core difference between inkjet printers and laser printers is how they get images and text on paper. Inkjet printers use literal liquid ink, while laser printers use dry toner. Only a small amount of toner is required for each individual job, and it has the potential to last many years without leaking or drying up. Ink, in contrast, is generally more expensive, you’ll use more of it, and you’ll be more prone to a variety of issues when using it.
Strengths of Inkjet Printers
These are some of the best strengths of inkjet printers:
- Ideal for low volume printing: Inkjet printers provide high quality, but they tend to be slower and more prone to issues. This makes them suitable for low volume work. If you’re only printing a few pages per day, or if you’re the only one using this device, you should immediately lean toward purchasing an inkjet printer.
- High quality: Ink droplets make it possible to print photos, documents, and images in high resolution. If you’re looking for the highest quality print materials, inkjet printers are preferable. Laser printers are suitable for a wide variety of jobs, but if you need the best quality possible, choose inkjet.
- Suitable for many paper types: Inkjet printers benefit from being able to use many different paper types. With laser printers, you may see inferior quality in certain situations, such as blurriness on high-quality photo paper. Inkjet printers still have some limitations, but you’ll have a wider range of paper options to choose from.
- Cheaper upfront: Because inkjet printers use a simpler form of technology, they tend to be less expensive up front. The same size device, capable of similar work, is going to be more affordable than a laser printer.
- Smaller and lighter: Inkjet printers tend to be smaller and lighter. If you’re working with a small amount of space, or if you plan on moving your printer from workspace to workspace, inkjet is indisputably the best.
- No warmup necessary: One minor problem with laser printers is that they take time to warm up before they can print reliably. You won’t have any warmup period with your inkjet printer, meaning you can start your jobs faster.
Strengths of Laser Printers
Laser printers, in contrast, present the following strengths:
- Ideal for high volume printing: Because laser printers are faster once warmed up and capable of printing documents rapidly, they’re ideal for high volume printing. If you’re going to print many pages at once, or if many people are going to use this machine, a laser printer may be preferable.
- Access to high-capacity, durable toner: Toner is advantageous over ink for several reasons. Page for page, it tends to be much less expensive than ink, allowing you to save money in the long run. It’s also less prone to issues like leakage and drying.
- Capable of printing sharp text for office documents: Laser printers can produce very sharp, easily readable text. They fall flat when it comes to photo and image quality, but they can print legible, professional quality documents.
- Less need for replacements and maintenance: In many cases, laser printers require less maintenance and fewer replacements. You may need to replace your ink cartridges frequently with your inkjet printer, but toner requires far less manual intervention.
- Faster printing: Do you need to print 200 pages as quickly as possible? Once your laser printer is properly warmed up, you should have no problem tackling this job.
- Cheaper in some situations: For some offices and applications, laser printers end up being cheaper. You’ll have to pay more for them up front, but because you use less toner and replace it less frequently, the device eventually pays for itself.
Laser vs. Inkjet Printers: Which Do You Choose?
So should you get a laser or inkjet printer for your office?
That depends on several factors, including your budget, how often you’re going to be using this printer, whether you’re considering ink cartridge vs. toner, and what kinds of jobs you’re going to be printing on it. If you’re working with a limited budget, you’re only going to use this printer occasionally, and you’re going to be printing a mix of documents and photos that need high quality, an inkjet printer is probably the best option. If you don’t mind paying a bit more upfront if it means saving money in the long run, if you’re going to be printing lots of documents every day, and if you’re mostly going to focus on text documents, a laser printer might be perfect.
Are you undecided about whether a laser or inkjet printer is best for your office? You don’t have to make the decision alone. Whether you’re after managed printing services or a printer to own outright, we can help you—so contact us for more information today!