Which Is Better: Inkjet Or Laser?

Which Is Better: Inkjet Or Laser?

When choosing a printer, especially if it’s your first one, you may get confused with all the options available on the market. Of course, we can’t recommend you the one and only model that would definitely meet your expectations since everyone has different goals and needs in printing. But we have made an objective review of two main printer types: inkjet vs laser printers. So read on and make a smart choice!

Of all the questions that we get asked daily, what is the most frequently asked? Easy, “should I buy an inkjet or laser printer?”

This article is going to break down the fundamental differences between an inkjet and laser printer as well as describe which machine is better for which particular function.

Essentially, the core difference between the two types of machines is that inkjets utilise liquid ink and laser printers contain a fine powder called toner.

Either way, you only pay for the printer once, but you’re paying for inks (or toners) many more times than that.

However, a laser printer also has other, very expensive items in them that also need to be replaced: Fuser, Transfer Belt and Drums x 4. So, from a cost of running perspective, a small business should consider a carefully chosen Inkjet Printer.

Now another important factor to consider is the application the machine will be used for. For high volume text printing, laser machines are absolutely the way to go, that is what they are designed for. If you simply need the printer to do some text printing every now and again as well as some images, an inkjet machine may be the most suitable option. If you need your machine to print quality graphics, an Inkjet with photo paper cannot be beaten.

What Is An Inkjet Printer?

Inkjet printers are machines that spray microscopic droplets of ink onto paper. Inkjet printers are generally cheaper, smaller, and can be used to print both text documents and high quality coloured images, especially photos. BUT be wary of cheap inkjet printers as those will end up costing you a fortune later on.

 Rely on dye or pigment-based ink to operate. They are a great option for people who want high-quality results and who print a lot of graphics. Inkjet printers are usually preferred by home users, along with home, school and small offices that print image-heavy documents.

Use small nozzles that emit ink droplets directly onto the paper. This method lends itself to brightly coloured images and is a good choice if you’re looking to produce high-resolution photos, graphics, or images in your documents.

PROS OF INKJET PRINTERS

  • Inkjet printers are usually smaller and lighter – making it ideal for a bedroom or home office where space saving is valued.
  • Great at producing photo-quality prints and image-heavy documents, as inkjet printers do a better job of blending and producing vibrant colours than laser printers.
  • The price of an inkjet printer is less than most laser printers.
  • No warm-up time needed before printing.
  • Can print on a variety of paper types, including glossy photo paper, textured art paper, and fabrics.
  • Can accommodate larger paper sizes.
  • Ink refill kits can reduce the cost of printing.

CONS OF INKJET PRINTERS

  • Ink is expensive, especially for users who print on a regular basis who are continually forced to repurchase more cartridges because ink cartridges can only print a few hundred pages.
  • Much slower than laser printers.
  • Low-capacity paper trays of 50 to 100 sheets, which can be frustrating for a user who publishes a lot.
  • Low monthly duty cycle (the maximum amount of points possible in a given month without causing damage to the printer).

What Is A Laser Printer?

Laser printers are machines that melt toner powder onto paper to create a print. Laser printers are more expensive than inkjet printers upfront and use pricier toner cartridges but is still a more economical option in the long run with its overall lower cost per page, faster print speeds.

Let’s take a closer look at the strengths and weaknesses of laser and inkjet printers so you can make your next purchase with confidence.

In contrast, use toner to produce text and images. They’re generally more extensive than their inkjet counterparts and have fast print speeds. Larger businesses and busy offices with high print volumes often opt for laser printers due to their business-focused features, such as optional trays for additional capacity, large replacement supply yields, and advanced security features.

Use toner powder instead of dye or pigment-based ink. Laser printers produce electrostatically charged dots on a light-sensitive drum which attracts toner powder. The toner is transferred to the paper and fixed by a heating process. Laser printers deliver crisp black and white and brilliant colour prints.

PROS OF LASER PRINTER

  • Most laser printers print much faster than inkjet printers. This isn’t and shouldn’t be a strong selling point for casual printers, but high volume users will notice a huge difference.
  • Laser printers produce sharp text. If you’re a high volume printer that only requires text documents, the laser is the way to go.
  • Higher monthly duty cycle means they are better prepared to handle high-volume jobs.
  • A price-by-price comparison favours laser printers over inkjet printers if you print on a frequent basis and aren’t producing documents that are graphically complex.
  • Toner, on average, is cheaper in the long run for high volume printers because their cartridges can print out thousands of pages in comparison to ink cartridges.

CONS OF LASER PRINTER

  • Can handle simple graphics, but complex images and photos are a challenge.
  • Although there are some compact laser printers on the market, they are generally bigger and heavier than inkjet printers.
  • Laser printers can’t handle the same variety of paper that inkjets can.
  • The upfront cost of a laser printer is usually more than your average inkjet printer.

Deciding on whether you should go with an inkjet or laser printer comes down to what you print, how much you print, and how much you’re willing to spend on printing. Inkjet printers are best suited for small, image-heavy documents, like photos and school projects. But, if you’re looking for a printer that can handle massive volumes of text-based documents, a laser printer is the more efficient and economical choice.

It also pays to think farther down the road. Do you project your print needs to change? Our needs change and taking them into consideration can save us potentially hundreds of dollars in the future.

Difference Between Inkjet And Laser Printers

There is no winner or loser in this battle of inkjet versus laserjet printers. Both of them have their advantages and drawbacks, but if you analyze all of the aspects systematically, it will be clear which one is suitable for you. 

First, it’s essential to understand the difference between an inkjet printer and a laser printer. Ultimately, both printers are tasked with getting the image or document on your computer display printed onto a sheet of paper. While the primary task may be the same, both types of printers do the job a little bit differently.

An inkjet printer, as the name suggests, uses water-based ink to recreate an image on paper. The printer uses small droplets of ink applied directly to the form to get the job done. A laser printer uses a laser (and heat) to create an image on a page. The laser charges (and warmth) the paper which then attracts and applies the powdered toner.

Laser Printer

 PROS 

  • Much faster, compared to inkjet printers.
  • High-quality, sharp text printouts.
  • Laser printers may produce much more significant volumes of printouts per month. This makes them a perfect choice for office needs.
  • The cost-per-page is lower compared to inkjet printers.

CONS

The quality of the printed photos and images is much lower in comparison with inkjet printers. The upfront cost of a laser printer is much higher than of an inkjet one.  Most of the models available on the market are quite heavy and take a lot of space.

Laser printers can’t work with a wide variety of paper types.

Inkjet Printer

PROS 

  • Much smaller and lighter, thus, portable and much more suitable for personal use.
  •  The best choice for printing photos and the documents containing images.
  • The printer itself is cheaper than laser alternatives.
  • Instant printing, no warm-up required.
  • Wide variety of compatible and remanufactured cartridges, which may significantly reduce maintenance expenses. One of the best places to get such alternative cartridges is Smart Ink. It provides customers with high-quality ink at a reasonable price.
  •  Inkjet printers can be used with various types of paper and even some fabrics.

CONS

  • Original ink cartridges are costly. They can be even more pricey than the printer itself.
  •  Printouts are susceptible to water damage as the ink is water-based.
  • Inkjet printers are relatively slower than the laser ones.
  • Printers have to be cleaned regularly to produce the same high-quality print.
  • Sometimes, the printed text may be smudged due to ink bleeding.
  • Paper trays can only contain 50-100 sheets.
  • The monthly duty cycle is relatively low, which means that you won’t be able to make too many printouts without the possibility to damage the printer.

What Factors Should You Consider When Choosing Inkjet Vs. Laser?

If you’re deciding between an inkjet printer or a laser printer, several essential factors can help you determine which is better for your needs, including:

Colour or Black and White

If you plan to print in colour, both inkjet and laser printers can provide the vivid colours and richly hued images you need. However, if you need to print only in black and white, a monochrome laser printer may be an ideal option. 

Price

The good news is that Brother offers both inkjet and laser printers at affordable prices to fit any budget. If copy, scan, and fax functions are not required, laser printers offer a more excellent range of options. Inkjet printers are typically less expensive to purchase while laser printers may cost more to buy initially, but generally have a lower total cost of ownership over time.

Quality

 While inkjet printers are considered powerhouses when it comes to high-resolution colour printing, laser printers do produce solid colour and black and white results. Both inkjet and laser printers can give you clear, crisp text that’s easy to read, as well as brilliant colour images and graphics ideal for business documents. Inkjet printers also offer the ability to provide borderless (edge-to-edge) printing.

Print Speed and Volume

How soon do you need those documents—and how many copies do you need? Laser printers can provide fast results at high volumes, making them an excellent choice for small businesses, larger workgroups, and mid-sized offices. Small offices that have lower print volumes find that an inkjet printer can quickly meet their printing needs.

Page Yield

Both toner and ink cartridges are available in a range of page yield options so that you can select the best choice for your printing needs. Both inkjet and laser printers offer high- yield cartridge options that enable you to print more pages before needing replacement cartridges. This can help to reduce the total cost of ownership, regardless of the type of printer.

Business Features 

If you’ll be using your printer primarily for business, laser printers may offer added business-centric features, such as optional paper trays, higher replacement supply yields, and enhanced security options.

11x17 Ledger Paper Size

Although most printers support a range of paper sizes, many Brother inkjet printers also offer more massive 11x17 ledger, or tabloid, printing. Learn more about 11x17 Ledger Printers.

Inkjet Vs Laser For Photo Printing

When it comes to printing, most of us want to have a universal model that would make high-quality photos. Admit it, we all want to save memories and get back in time looking through the pictures of our loved ones. For these purposes, inkjet printers will fit best.

The thing is that inkjet printers have dye- and pigment-based inks, which have a better capability of transferring subtle colours and different shades. Liquid inks are skillfully mixed, which means that the pictures that you print out will look exactly the same as the ones on your screen.

Printing photos on laser printers cannot grant you desirable results. The only way to handle this is to choose a particular model and purchase a suitable laser-printer-ready photo paper for it. However, laser printers are much better at dealing with the text documents as they may offer crisp and clear print, while inkjet ones can make some letters smudge.

Overall, laser printers are useful when it comes to text documents, especially at high volumes. But if you are looking for high-quality photo printing, inkjet printers are the only option you should consider.

Laser Printer Vs Inkjet: Maintenance Cost

When it comes to the money spent on a laser or inkjet printer, there are two types of expenses that you should pay attention to. The first one is the upfront cost of the printer; in other words, its price in the shop. The second one is the maintenance cost, which is a much more complicated matter.

Inkjet printers are more affordable to buy as the printing technology is quite simple; thus, the company doesn’t spend too much money on their production. Besides, due to a specific business model, the manufacturer may sell printers at a loss, knowing that they will get much more profit from ink sales.

On the other hand, laser printers are more expensive to buy, as they are harder to produce. Usually, the price for them is not less than $200 per item, which is quite a lot. But what about the maintenance cost? Which one is cheaper to take care of laser VS inkjet printers

When it comes to the maintenance cost, it’s all about the toner and ink cartridges expenses. And here inkjet printers are losing the battle. Since liquid ink is costly, the cost-per-page of black-and-white printouts will be around 5-10 cents, depending on a printer model. Meanwhile, the colour printing will cost you even more: about 15-25 cents per page.

Laser printer maintenance is much more affordable due to the toner price. For now, the cost-per-page of black-and-white prints is below 5 cents for any laser printers. And the colour printouts cost around 15 cents per page.

Which Printer is Right for You?

While there is no one correct answer to the question of whether to buy a laser or inkjet printer, there are a few general rules you can take away from this article. 

If you find that most of the printing done in your office are spreadsheets and documents, or you do a large amount of printing each month, then a laser printer will be the best option for your business. Whereas if you need to print on specialty stocks, print high-quality images, or you simply need an inexpensive convenience printer, an inkjet printer is for you. 

Ultimately, it all boils down to what you are going to print, and how much printing you expect to do. If you can answer those two questions, then you can make your purchase with full confidence!

Frequently Asked Questions

Inkjet printers, as the name implies, use ink to print text, graphics, and images onto various types of paper. These printers are most common in homes and small offices, though many commercial printing companies use industrial inkjet printers to produce high-quality brochures, flyers, and other pieces.

An inkjet printer is a computer peripheral that produces hard copy by spraying ink onto paper. A typical inkjet printer can produce copy with a resolution of at least 300 dots per inch ( dpi ). ... In the inkjet printing mechanism, the print head has several tiny nozzles, also called jets.

If you're all about productivity, a laser printer may be a better choice. ... Although laser printers are typically a bit more expensive than inkjets, they print a lot more pages from each toner cartridge, and so the cost per black-and-white or colour page is usually much less.

An inkjet printer uses ink to print documents, while a laser printer uses a laser to print documents. The different printing processes affect each printer's speed, functions, and image quality.

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