Laser Printer Vs. Inkjet: Which Is Better?
If you’ve recently been in the market for a printer, choosing between laser and inkjet printers can be a challenge. The solution is pretty clear: it all depends on the type of print. We’ll explain.
Laser Printer vs. Inkjet: What’s the Difference?
While it’s not essential to know which one is better, it’s a good idea to understand how each technology works and why it’s called that.
Inkjet printers do what they sound like: They have a tiny nozzle that lets a tiny drop of ink drip onto one side. Depending on the printer, this can be one color for monochrome printers, and even up to six for really high-quality multi-color printers.
Laser printers, on the other hand, are a little more complicated. Instead of ink, they use a powder that is layered on the paper and melted together with a heated drum. Again, similar to inkjet printers, you can use both monochrome and multicolor laser printers as required.
Many modern printers are all-in-ones (AIOs), regardless of whether they are inkjet or laser printers. This means that in addition to their normal printing function, they can often also scan, copy and send faxes.
Laser printer vs. inkjet: quality
For the most part, both printer types have a relatively good print quality, even if you use the cheaper printer variants. Unless you are consistently printing high quality photo pages, or relying on them for your income, quality shouldn’t be a huge factor for you. That being said, there are a few important things to keep in mind.
Inkjet printers are usually better for high quality photographic work, and that’s largely due to the use of ink. You can achieve a much wider color profile, especially when more color cartridges are used. For example the Epson Expression XP-970 It is the only printer that uses six different cartridges, so it can produce unprecedented photo quality at the consumer level.
A disadvantage of inkjet printers is that they can sometimes smear, depending on the type of ink used. When buying ink, try to avoid dye-based inks, as these are the kind that smear, while pigment-based inks tend to dry quickly and therefore have no problem with smudging.
Laser printers, on the other hand, are great for printing text. Not only is there no risk of smudging, but the text itself tends to be a lot crisper and clearer compared to inkjet. Laser printers can often print in a smaller font while maintaining clarity.
Laser Printer vs. Inkjet: Cost
The real question when buying a laser or inkjet printer is cost, but not what you might expect.
While inkjet printers are pretty cheap to buy upfront when compared to laser printers, their real cost comes from purchasing the ink. Printer ink is known to be expensive and the cost per printed page can be surprisingly high.
To give you an idea, a single color page of text can easily cost 10 to 12 cents per page on some printers. For color, you’ll see 20 cents, or even 30 cents per page in some cases, which adds up if you’re printing a lot of color.
Note: A new technology that has caught on is printers with ink tanks that do not require ink cartridges. These can be refilled at your home and can cut the cost of a page to a few cents, or sometimes even less. The only downside is that you have to deal with ink and refills, which may not be suitable for those who are not very familiar with the technique.
Laser printers, on the other hand, are significantly more expensive to purchase in advance, sometimes even twice as expensive in the lower budget range, but their cartridge life is many times higher than that of ink. For example, black and white printing costs only 3 to 4 cents on average and color printing about 10 to 15 cents per page on average. But as you can see, that’s half or even a third of the cost of ink.
Besides being cheaper, laser printers are generally much faster than inkjet printers and can sometimes print up to twice as fast.
Laser Printer vs. Inkjet: Final Findings
So which of the two technologies should you choose? While each person’s case may be different, there are some general starting points.
In most cases, if you don’t do a lot of color printing, it is better to use a laser printer. While the initial cost of buying a laser printer is higher than an inkjet printer, the long-term cost of printing many black and white documents is low. If you want to print a lot of pages, a laser printer is a better deal.
On the other hand, if you do a lot of color printing, inkjet is a better option. While the cost per page (CPP) is quite high, you probably won’t get better color quality from a laser printer unless you choose a high-end quality that is not available to most consumers. If you’re brave enough, you can also buy an ink tank printer that can absolutely help with the astronomical CPP of inkjet printing.