Choosing a printer is often a difficult exercise. We do not want to make a mistake and end up with an item that does not meet our needs. Several models are now available in stores and we are hearing all kinds of things about the long term savings that can be made with laser technology.
So what to buy: laser or inkjet
We will discuss some important things you need to know here.
What factors to consider in choosing a printer
The best buying advice is always the same: choose the device that best meets your needs. So here is a little guide to help choosing a product that is suitable for the use you want to make of it.
Types of printers
Although there are different types of printers, there are 2 main printing technologies:
One is laser and
Another one is inkjet.
- Inkjet printing is made up of tiny droplets that settle on the paper. While with the laser, the ink powder is fused to the paper by an electrostatic process.
- For laser printers, there are 2 types of technology: laser printers and LED printers.
The main difference between the 2 is in the printing process:
- the laser printer uses a single light which attracts ink and creates a dot at a time on the paper while the LED printer uses multiple lights.
- Laser printers use a more complex system, with a mirror and lens that require very precise alignment compared to LED printers which have mechanical parts and a simplified printing process. On the other hand, very few manufacturers use LED technology.
In all cases, there are monochrome models (black only) and color models. To which we add several options by choosing a multifunction model.
We will therefore have to choose from a choice that looks like this:
- Inkjet printer (color or monochrome)
- Laser printer (color or monochrome)
- LED printer (color and monochrome)
This is not too easy to know which one best suits your needs! So here is some info to enlighten you further.
Their initial purchase cost is usually lower than that of a laser printer. However, ink cartridges generally need to be replaced more often. For example, with a $ 40 ink cartridge, you will print about 300 pages. While with a $ 120 laser toner, you will print 1,500 pages.
However, there are “high yield” ink cartridges. “XL” cartridges contain more ink and allow more pages to be printed before needing to be replaced.
We understand that in the end, the printing cost per page will generally be higher by opting for inkjet technology. But this is only true if you print a lot of pages. It is only after several hundred printed pages that you started to save money.
Another element to consider in the calculation, the type of color ink cartridges: Some models use a single block that contains the 3 primary colors. While with others, there are 3 separate cartridges.
The downside with one-piece color cartridges is that if only one of the 3 shades runs dry. You have to change everything and buy a new one. There is therefore a certain waste which can be costly in the long run.
Since this is liquid ink, cartridges can also be dried out if not used regularly. An aspect that you don’t have to worry about with laser technology.
Although their cost to purchase is generally higher than for inkjet printers, laser printers are more economical for high print speeds. The cost of toner is higher. But it allows you to print a much larger number of pages and above all more quickly. An element to be considered in a professional context. But which may lose much of its importance in a domestic and personal context.
As an indication, an inkjet printer cartridge can print between 100 and 1,500 pages while for a laser toner, this figure increases between 1,000 and 10,000 pages and more. Because the printing process is different. The laser printed images are more precise since there will be no “ink grains” seen.
On the other hand, for using the photo paper, the result will be better with inkjet. On the strength side, laser prints are more resistant to light and tend to last longer.
You should also know that color printing is very expensive which is only for monochrome. And the prices are more accessible.
We find them more and more in stores. But the choice is still very limited. The same type of toner is used as for laser printers. Depending on the model, these printers may be faster than laser printers and cost less.
Whether inkjet or laser, multifunction models are usually more expensive than those that only do printing. By “multifunction”, we mean that it is at the same time a printer, a scanner, a copier and a photo printer. On the other hand, it should be noted that the quality of digitization often leaves something to be desired.
Choose according to your needs
The best printer is the one that suits your needs. So, you can’t say which model or technology is the best.
However, we can help you make a choice by highlighting the points to consider.
Cost of printing
Look at the cost of printing per page. Although laser printers are cheaper, it is important to know that this is the case only after a certain number of prints. If you only print a few pages per year, the savings will not be very important.
Ink cartridge type
What types of cartridges are used for inkjet models: Blocks that contain 3 colors need to be replaced more often. Searate cartridges last longer, especially those that are XL or high yield.
On the other hand, the ink dries up if it is not used.
Bet on inkjet if you plan to print photos because the laser does not give good results.
look at the print quality. Usually, we evaluate it according to the resolution of the printed images. A model that produces images of 4800 x 1200 dpi (pixels per inch) will be more precise than one that offers 600 dpi.
Printing speed can also be an argument if you print a lot. Pay attention to the number of pages per minute (ppm) you can print.
Several printers connect to the home network and communicate with the computer in Wi-Fi mode, no wire!
More and more models are integrating cloud storage and remote printing technologies. This allows you to save the documents to be printed in your Cloud or, when possible to print them remotely using an application.
laser printer or inkjet printer?
Every year, millions of printers and accessories are purchased for personal and business use. However, some users are not satisfied with their purchase because they have not made an inkjet printer / laser printer comparison for their usage. They are then frustrated by the high costs or the short lifespan of their device.
In order to spare you from this annoyance, here we offer a brief explanation of the differences between inkjet printers and laser printers. And refute some misconceptions.
Laser printer vs inkjet printer
The prejudices about different types of printers persist. Laser printers were thus long regarded as particularly expensive while inkjet printers were supposed to be slow and noisy, but inexpensive devices.
It is fair to say that, laser printers remain more expensive than inkjet printers and their price has fallen sharply in recent years . Modern devices convince in particular with reduced printing costs. Which can be further reduced by using compatible toner.
On the other hand, inkjet printer ink dries quickly which reduces the waiting time after printing.
It is worth comparing the pros and cons of laser and inkjet printers before drawing any definitive conclusions about which device best suits your needs.
Laser / inkjet printer comparison
In this inkjet / laser printer comparison, we will discuss the pros and cons of each technology and the corresponding consumables. Namely ink and toner cartridges , to make it easier for you to choose.
While laser printers are more expensive to buy than their inkjet counterparts and current printing costs are lower. These making them an optimal choice, and not just for heavy users.
Tests show that a full color page can cost up to 84% less than printed with an inkjet printer. These costs are further reduced . Instead of the original toner, you opt for a compatible, cheaper toner (e.g. refill toner or rebuilt toner). The quality of the product also plays a crucial role here, as this alone can guarantee optimal results.
The laser printing is hard to beating terms of letter sharpness and color intensity. Even with
- a compatible toner,
- an indelible impression is obtained ,
- fixed immediately on the paper,
- resistant to UV and humidity .
With a print speed of up to one page per second , these long- lasting printers are ideal for small businesses as well as heavy home users.
In addition, these reliable laser printers offer user-friendly handling . Thanks to their separate black, cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges, color laser printers can reproduce high resolution graphics in excellent quality.
The problem is with printing photos:
The limited resolution of laser printers makes them less efficient than inkjet printers. This is an undeniable advantage of the latter.
In the long run, the consumables of laser printers are cheaper than those of inkjet printers.
The operation of a laser printer is quite simple. It contains an imaging drum as well as one or more toner cartridges. Which is the toner powder and that will be used for printing.
Using a laser, fuser, electric charge and other elements, the powder is absorbed by the drum and then projected onto the print medium.
Before being fixed there by the fixing unit . This also explains the printing speed which is much faster than that of an inkjet printer. Which must reproduce each character by millions of tiny dots of heated ink, line by line.
Depending on the manufacturer, the imaging drum is integrated either directly inside the device (this is referred to as a “permanent or semi-permanent imaging drum”) or in the toner cartridge.(in the case of disposable imaging drums).
If you opt for a semi-permanent imaging drum. Consider the sizeable price in your printing cost calculation: It will need to be replaced after around 20,000 pages (capacity may vary by brand and the model).
Of course, you will save money by choosing a compatible drum . One of the drawbacks presented by laser printers is the particles they emit.
However, technologies are constantly being improved. So that devices have already been manufactured and provided with the German Blue Angel label which certifies that they emit less harmful substances.
At present, it is also possible to filter the pollutants contained in the toner powder before they are ejected on the premises of the company. For example, by installing special fine particle filters for laser printers that you can be purchased cheaply from Toner Partner. These particulate filters with a long life and excellent filtering performance can effectively and immediately reduce air pollution in offices equipped with laser printers.
Advantages and disadvantages
- High printing speed and excellent print quality of texts and graphics
- Long-lasting and good quality printing
- Lower printing costs using compatible toner
- Network compatibility of most devices
- Long service life
- Lower quality photo printing than inkjet printers
- Slightly higher purchase cost
- Air pollution of large offices by fine particles (but special inexpensive particle filters exist!)
It’s not uncommon to find an inkjet printer for less than $ 60 in a home appliance store or on the Internet. If it seems very cheap at first glance , it can become more expensive to use over time since inkjet printer cartridges are often very expensive .
For users who print less than 500 pages per year, the costs are still reasonable. But for heavy users , they can be a colossal sum that is often forgotten to consider when purchasing.
Of course, costs can be reduced by using compatible ink cartridges. That offer the same print quality. Compared to laser printers, inkjet printers incur higher printing costs. Compared to laser printers, inkjet devices offer better resolution, but ink cartridges come at a considerable cost.
Still, inkjet printers are unbeatable for printing photos .
Laser printers cannot overshadow them in this area since there are even photo printers which, apart from the basic colors, have special colors., or even additional colors such as gray, blue or green, for an even better rendering. In addition, many inkjet printers can print on blank DVDs and specialty paper, while the capability of laser devices to do so remains limited.
- The ink in most inkjet printers is not UV resistant. Which causes the prints to fade relatively quickly.
- Another disadvantage of inkjet printers:
the printheads of their cartridges. It is not uncommon for them to dry out or become clogged if the printer is not used regularly enough. There are obviously tips and tricks on how to deal with dry printer cartridges. Although it does require a lot of effort.
Conversely, if it is stored in the rules of the art, the toner used in a laser printer has an almost unlimited lifespan. Modern devices offer a cleaning function managed by the printer driver.
Advantages and disadvantages
- Excellent quality photo printing
- Lower purchase price
- Printing on CD and special paper
- Slower printing speed
- Printing sensitivity to UV
- Printheads may dry out
- Higher printing costs due to the high price of original cartridges, but can be reduced by using compatible cartridges
- Shorter lifespan
As our laser / inkjet printer comparison shows, laser printers score high in popularity, efficiency and cost . In terms of print quality , they are increasingly popular and are already overtaking some inkjet printers on a few points. In addition, laser printers have become an accessible and wise choice for home users , especially heavy users . By purchasing a laser printer, you are betting on indelible and fast prints, long device life and lower printing costs if you are using compatible toner and drums.
On the other hand, if you like excellent prints of photos with vibrant colors , an inkjet printer is what you need . Finally, your purchasing decision always depends on your personal use and the demands you place on your printer.