A new printer can be a fantastic addition to your home office. There’s plenty of choices available, but the best printer for you will depend on your specific printing needs. Someone who is producing colour prints will have different printing requirements to someone who is printing text documents.
Use this guide to get the lowdown on inkjet vs laser printers and which one is best for you.
Inkjet Vs Laser Printers
Laser printers use a toner cartridge and a heated fuser while inkjet printers use liquid ink and microscopic nozzles. Laser printers typically cost more but they also print more pages per toner cartridge reducing the overall cost-per-page. Each printer type has its strengths and weaknesses:
An inkjet printer is able to handle document printing as well as photo and colour printing. They are usually compact and have lower initial costs but higher running costs than laser printers. The higher running costs are due to the cost per inkjet cartridge and the number of pages that can be printed per cartridge.
- Great all-rounder option
- Better colour printing quality
- Often slightly cheaper initial cost
- Running costs may be higher
- Printing speed is usually slower than laser printers
If you are looking for an office printer for printing high volumes of black-text documents or business graphics, a laser printer can do so efficiently. Laser printers can handle heavy workloads and the cost-per-page is much less than inkjet printers as laser toner cartridges have a significantly higher page yield than inkjet cartridges.
- Excels in printing word documents
- Fast printing speeds
- Low running costs
- High initial price
- Can be bulky
- Not as good at printing colour and images
If you are looking for a home printer that you will use occasionally to print a small volume of documents an inkjet is a great option as they are compact. They are also a very good choice if you plan to print in colour.
If you are looking for a printer that is able to print large quantities of documents frequently then a laser printer is a great option as they have fast print speeds and are very durable.
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Initial Cost & Cost Per Page
There’s not too much difference in price between a basic model laser and a basic model inkjet. Although, laser printers will be more expensive if you want them to have colour printing capabilities.
An important factor to keep in mind is the ongoing running costs. You’ll be paying for consumables including ink cartridges or toner cartridges and paper. Ongoing print costs for inkjet printers is around 20 cents unless you are printing in black only then that cost drops to around 8 cents per page. The running cost of a basic black and white laser printer is around 6 cents per page.
Laser printing is often considerably faster, you can print up to 20 pages per minute on low-end models while low-end inkjets offer a speed of around 6 pages per minute. If you have a high volume of documents to print on a regular basis you will find a laser printer not only has a faster print speed but is also less expensive to run. The print quality of regular text documents is more or less the same but if you are printing small fonts then laser printing tends to be better.
Inkjet printers produce better quality colour prints. Laser printing is good for everyday colour printing but is not ideal if you need to produce high quality, professional-looking prints. Laser prints are able to print text very well, the letters are printed crisp and clear so are ideal for general office use but when it comes to colour and printing photos, inkjets are the way to go.
Printers vary greatly in size and design, but generally, inkjet printers are lighter and more compact often making them best suited to smaller offices and home office spaces. If you are looking for a space saving option, inkjet printers are better.
Consider additional features you may benefit from such as:
- Computer connection capabilities – modern printer technology usually offers wireless printing and cloud-printing features.
- Low ink alerts
- Paper size – if you need to print larger paper sizes be sure to specify this in your search.
- Multifunction – do you need copying, scanning or faxing capabilities? If so, look for a multifunction printer.
- Security features – printer security is often overlooked, consider pin-code protection, secure networks, encrypted data storage etc.
Inkjet Vs Laser Printer FAQs
The best option for home use is an inkjet thanks to its compact size and all-round capabilities. However, if you are printing large volumes of black and white text documents you will likely find a laser printer is better suited to you.
No, laser printers do not dry out as they use powder from toner cartridges to print rather than wet ink cartridges. The ink in inkjet printers does dry out if left unused for a long period of time.
The average life span of desktop laser printers is around 5 years.
It is better not to but it is far more damaging to use inkjet paper in a laser printer than vice versa.