Inkjet Printers vs Laser Printers
Home or Office - Which printer is best suited?
Struggling to know which printer to buy? here's a quick comparison to help you understand.
If you’re in the market for a printer there are many decisions you have to make especially when it comes to specifications. The biggest question we get asked and probably the most important is inkjet or laser? Which one is better?
In short the biggest difference is that inkjet printers use liquid ink whereas laser printers use a fine powder known as a toner. This ultimately affects the initial purchasing cost, running cost, performance and overall output of the printer.
Depending on the type of printing you will be doing will determine which printer is best for your needs. Laser printers are usually best for large volume, heavy text-based printing. Whereas Inkjet Printers are best for lower volume printing, and documents such as photos. This is why Inkjets tend to be more suitable for the home, with Laser printers performing better in an office environment. That being said it all depends on how you plan to use your printer.
Let’s break it down even further and take a close look into the true comparison of each.
Inkjet printers use a liquid ink, which is distributed onto the paper by microscopic nozzles. Whereas Laser printers contain a drum unit that fuses toner powder onto paper with heat technology. Given the different types of technology used in each printer it’s only natural that they would produce different results.
Both printers perform differently when it comes to quality. An Inkjet printer is better used to print high-resolution images, compared to a Laser printer that produces higher quality text documents.
That being said advancements in printer technology has allowed Laser printers to still produce medium-quality images. Although Inkjet printers still win in this category, if you’re just needing to print a document with images attached a colour Laser is equipped to do the job.
In a nutshell:
Print volume refers to how much your printer can print at a time. This is where the Laser exceeds the Inkjet as they are considered to be the workhorse of the office. A Laser printer has the ability to quickly print a large volume of documents, where as an Inkjet printer’s volume is significantly smaller. Due to the Inkjet printers being designed more for home use they struggle in comparison to the printer volume of a Laser printer. That being said if you are only looking to print small volumes an Inkjet printer would be all you need.
The upfront costs may seem like a big factor when it comes to deciding between Inkjet and Laser. Inkjet printers have a lower upfront cost compared to Laser printers which are much more expensive. However this is usually due to the fact that Inkjet printers are known to have a shorter minimum lifespan compared to Laser printers (depending on the frequency of use of course).
As well as initial costs there is also the ongoing costs of purchasing supplies for your printer. Similar to the initial costs, different printing technologies means supply costs will vary. Ultimately the cost and frequency with which you’ll need to top up your supplies will differ greatly between Inkjet and Laser printers.
Laser printers require toner cartridges which have a significantly higher yield than Inkjet cartridges, costing you less in the long run. With an Inkjet printer, the cartridges will need to be replaced more often depending on the printing volume. This can sometimes be seen as a downfall, but if you’re printing volume is quite minimal an Inkjet printer is still the best suited model for you.
Another big factor that sets the printers apart is that a Laser printer not only requires toner cartridges it also needs a drum unit. Sometimes they come together as one piece such as some HP models, or they will come separately such as some Brother models. Don’t let this put you off Laser printers though, the drum unit is replaced a lot less frequently than the toner cartridges. Usually every 4-5 toner cartridges.
Like with any product there is pros and cons to each. The nature of your printing demands will determine which ones are deal breakers. Here’s the pros and cons for both Inkjet & Laser printers.
- Compact – they are usually smaller and lighter making it ideal for a home office.
- Versatile – due to their compact design, the printer can be moved without hassle, to fit a number of unique spaces.
- Price – Inkjet printers are usually less expensive than its Laser competitor.
- Efficiency – Although slower than a laser printer, they consume less power.
- Expensive supplies – the ink can be quite expensive especially for users who are printing on a regular basis as the ink cartridges have a lower page yield compared to the Laser printers.
- Print speed – their print speed is much slower.
- Paper trays – with a lower capacity paper tray usually only 50 to 100 pages, if you are printing often, the paper will need to be refilled constantly.
Below are a few examples of our best-selling Inkjet printers.
- Print speed – Laser printers are much faster than Inkjet printers. For high volume users this is a key selling point.
- Text quality – if you’re printing mainly text, Laser printers produce extremely high quality text prints.
- Toner price – on average is cheaper in the long run as the cartridges can print out thousands of pages compared to Inkjet printers.
- Image quality – Laser printers are more suited for text printing, so they struggle with quality when it comes to images and photos.
- Size – they are generally a lot larger and bulkier compared to their Inkjet competitors.
- Cost – the upfront costs are usually more expensive for a Laser printer.
Below are a few examples of our best-selling Laser printers.
To summarise the only way to determine which printer is best depends on your nature of printing. Inkjet printers are generally cheaper, smaller and have the ability to print high-resolution images as well as text. While Laser printers are more expensive upfront, they have a lower cost per page, faster printing speed and larger print volume.
If you’re in need of a home printer and will be printing mostly image-heavy documents, than an Inkjet printer is perfect for you. But if you’re looking for a printer that can handle large volume, text-heavy documents, then a Laser printer is the more beneficial and economical choice. As it will save you money in the long run.