Although there are various types of printers, inkjet and laser options are the most popular. Each printer has its unique pros and cons. As such, they can suit varied needs.
Since there is no single best printer that can meet everyone’s needs, your goal is to find the ideal choice for your printing requirements. If you are looking to purchase a printer for your business, office, publishing, or any need that involves printing, here is a brief overview to help you choose between an inkjet and laser printer.
The general characteristics of inkjet printers are cheap, small and versatile with the ability to print high-quality documents, pictures and photos. They rely on ink (pigment-based or dye-based), which can be a little expensive, although you can find affordable remanufactured cartridges, which works just as great.
Laser printers, on the other hand, are known for their expensive upfront costs and pricy toner cartridges. However, they offer fast printing speeds, lower maintenance and ownership costs, and lower cost-per-page. Both printers can get the job done and have their unique merits and demerits.
As such, your choice depends on one critical factor, and that is your printing needs. Ask yourself two main questions:
1. What is Your Print Volume?
If you are looking to print documents occasionally at home, an inkjet printer can give you great results. However, the ink in these printers can dry up, so it is ideal if you have a print load that can use up the ink.
Laser toner cartridges, on the other hand, do not have this problem and can sit for years without drying up. Laser printers are ideal for any print volume and offer the best option when that is the critical factor determining your choice. Inkjets can also complete all volumes, just not as effortless.
2. What are You Printing?
Your final print determines what printer you need. While both inkjet and laser printers can print text and image documents, they work differently and the final result also has significant differences. If all you want is documents and images printed fast, laser printers offer the best speeds in the market.
Modern laser printers also indicate remarkable improvement in print quality. However, if you need photos and high-resolution images printed in various paper options, inkjet remains the best solution.
Pigment-based ink in inkjet printers allows it to achieve deeper blacks and vivid imagery. These printers are specially engineered to print high-quality photos and images in a wide variety of paper and print material.
Some modern laser printers can print exceptional quality images and pictures at high speeds. They can still meet your needs and are cost-effective options. However, the pixel and photos aren’t as vivid as results from inkjet printers.
Which should I choose?
This is the big question that every buyer has to make. After all the reviews and comparisons, there are several reputable printer options from both inkjet and laser technologies. As a general rule of thumb, you should buy a photo inkjet printer if your needs involve printing gallery-quality photos.
If all you need is medium-quality colored images with no emphasis on tonal range and color depth, a color laser is more recommendable. Color laser tonners print more pages than inkjet and also don’t dry up when left unused for long. Other comparisons to make before selecting a printer include:
a. Print Quality
Most people assume that laser printers are ideal for black and white text, while inkjets are designed for color images and photos. However, advancements in technology enable laser printers to print sharp, quality color images and documents. The difference only occurs when it comes to professional-grade gallery and exhibition photos.
b. Print Speed
Laser printers are engineered for the workspace and can print between 15 to 100 pages per minute (ppm). Inkjet printers, on the other hand, have a print speed of 16 ppm. As such, laser printers have a higher print volume and suit those who seek fast print speeds above everything else.
c. Print volume
Your print volume can influence the printer you pick. A typical laser printer with 35 ppm can produce 750 to 3000 pages per month. The fastest inkjet printer with 15 ppm can print up to 500 pages per month. If you need to print more, consider investing in a laser printer, or at least two inkjet printers.
d. Print Yield
Inkjet ink cartridges can print from 135 to 1000 pages when full. Laser toner cartridges, on the other hand, can print from 2000 to 10000 pages. Because of this, laser cartridges last longer, so you do not have to refill them as often.
Some inkjet brands allow you to use refill bottles instead of cartridges. Each refill bottle can print up to 5000 pages, but you need several for the different colors.
There are various other things to review, including printer and cartridge costs. The cheapest laser printer is up to three times the cost of standard inkjet printers, so those drawn by low, upfront cost will find inkjets more appealing.
However, dirt cheap inkjets can have a higher cost per page and use up cartridges for only a couple of hundred pages, eventually spending more on refills. Laser printers also last at least five years, compared to inkjet’s minimum of three. Nevertheless, there are various high-quality brands from both categories you can use to meet your needs.