Inkjet vs. Laser Printers: Which is Better?
Inkjet and laser printers offer unique benefits and distinctive drawbacks. When it comes to choosing one for your business, there are many things to consider. Read on to learn the pros and cons associated with each type of printer option.
How They Work
Inkjet printers essentially create digital images by dropping tiny spots of colored ink onto paper. On the other hand, laser printers produce their digital graphics and photos by scanning a type of laser beam across various photoreceptors. So which type of printer is better? It really depends.
While both printing technologies have their place in offices and homes, one will most likely be better at meeting your needs than the other. We’ve spelled out the most relevant pros and cons of laser vs. inkjet printers below to help you determine which is best for your requirements.
- Great for printing photos and image-intense docs. Inkjet printers are better at blending colors than laser printers.
- Low start-up costs. Inkjet printers are cheaper than laser printers, and their ink cartridges cost less than toner cartridges.
- Able to print on many kinds of paper, including textured stationery, glossy photo paper and even certain fabrics.
- Require almost zero warm-up time before printing.
- Inkjet ink cartridges can be reused and refilled, reducing waste and saving a company money.
- Tend to be lighter, more compact and easier to maintain compared to laser printers.
- Inkjet ink is expensive; even more expensive than some fine champagne.
- Since inkjet ink is a water-based material, prints are susceptible to fading and water damage.
- Inkjet cartridges require frequent cleaning. While the printers automatically perform this maintenance, it wastes a large amount of ink.
- While they are getting faster, inkjet printers are still quite slower than laser printers. High-volume printing can be challenging with inkjets.
- Some inkjets will produce fuzzy, gray text when printing on plain office paper.
- Inkjet printers designed for home use generally have lower-capacity paper trays of approximately 50-100 sheets. Since output trays are almost nonexistent, it can be problematic for people who have home-based businesses requiring a lot of printing.
- Laser printers are far better at handling high-volume print jobs.
- Laser printers work a lot faster than inkjet printers. This may not matter much if you only print a few pages at a time. That said, high-volume users will immediately notice a significant difference.
- These printers produce flawless sharp black text. For print jobs that are mostly text with infrequent graphics, laser is the perfect way to go. Laser printers can also deftly handle small fonts and very fine lines much better than inkjet printers.
- Price-by-price comparisons give laser printers an edge over inkjets for docs that aren’t especially complex graphically. While they are pricier, laser toner cartridges are able to print more sheets relative to their cost, making them much less wasteful.
- While laser printers do work faster than inkjets, they also take time to get warmed up.
- Although laser printer toner is more affordable in the long run, upfront costs are more.
- Toner leaks can be a real nightmare, and some businesses regard them as deal-breakers.
- Laser printers aren’t able to handle certain types of paper and printing materials as well as inkjets. Any heat-sensitive material cannot pass through them.
- Home laser printers are able to cope with simple graphics, but smooth photos are a real challenge. If you are planning to print photos, opt for an inkjet printer.
- While you can find the occasional compact laser printers, the vast majority will be heavier and bigger than their inkjet counterparts.
The Bottom Line
Deciding on laser printing vs. inkjet comes down to what you plan to print and the quantity you need. Small, image-intense workloads are much better suited to low-cost, lightweight inkjet printing. If you need to print heavy volumes of mostly text-based documents, however, a laser printer will be the most economical choice.
In a nutshell, if you want to print highly detailed, high-res photos or graphics-heavy documents, purchase a quality professional photo inkjet printer that yields high-resolution images. If you just need a reliable printer that can put out sharp documents and satisfactory colored images or reports, a laser printer should do fine.
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