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Inkjet vs. Laser Printers

Inkjet vs. Laser printers is the first dilemma that you’ll have to overcome in order to dig-out the printer that’s most suitable for you. That’s why you need to know the topic by heart and relate each criterion to your own needs and wants, as the two categories are entirely different.

Inkjet vs. Laser Printers: Mechanism

First of all, let’s talk about how each type works. You see, inkjet printers rely on ink cartridges. Now, they could have only two cartridges; one for black and one for colors, or you might choose to go with something that’s a little bit more advanced involving the CMYK system with 3,4, or even five ink cartridges. Nevertheless, the main point remains that it uses fast-drying liquid ink that is dropped on the paper creating the document.

The way inkjet printers work makes them ideal for several applications that require printing on special media. For example, if you need a printer that can print on CDs and DVDs, an inkjet printer with a dedicated disc tray would be great for that. Inkjet is the way to go if you need a poster printer, too.

On the other hand, laser printers use powder toner, which is dropped on the paper and melted through the heat in order to stick to it. This toner is stored in a single toner cartridge.

It’s also important to factor in how you’ll be using the printer. For example, Inkjet printers are great for artists, photographers, and graphic designers to print their artwork in rich colors, while laser printers are more suitable for printing monochrome documents in office environments and schools. It’s also worth noting that a laser printer with parallel port would be a great asset for those who have older computers and workstations that don’t support USB.

Read more: Monochrome vs. Color Printers

Inkjet vs. Laser Printers: Price

One of the crucial aspects to any product, not just printers, is the price. You’ve to choose something that is within your budget. Yet, when it comes to printers, things are a bit different, as it’s not just the initial cost, you also have running costs to think of. 

With inkjet printers, you’ll find that the initial cost is rather low, which is an attractive feature for many customers. Nevertheless, keep in mind that ink cartridges need frequent replacement, and if they don’t come cheap. Consequently, you’ve to add the cost of re-purchasing them to the equation before making your decision. 

On the other side, you’ll find that the initial cost of a laser printer is rather high, but toner cartridges tend to enjoy a much longer lifespan. Therefore, you won’t have to replace them anytime in the near future, which brings the overall cost of laser printers down quite a few notches.

Inkjet vs. Laser Printers: Duty Cycle

Duty cycle, or rather, the maximum duty cycle, is the workload that your printer can put up within a month before needing maintenance and service. That’s why you must check to know if it’s compatible with your own needs. 

For instance, a laser printer can have a maximum duty cycle of around 80,000-90,000 papers, while an inkjet printer will have a much lower maximum duty cycle of around 20,000-30,000 papers per month.

This leads us to our next discussion point, and that is the workload every printer is capable of dealing with.

Inkjet vs. Laser Printers: Workload

Inkjet printers are mostly designed for domestic use when you’re going to print a few papers every week. They’re also suitable for students as printing an essay or two every week is no big deal. Another thing is that inkjet printers give you the freedom of printing in black-and-white and/or colour. Plus, there are other varieties that include image-specific printers that produce even higher quality colour printing. 

On the other hand, laser printers are designed for extreme workload office environments where thousands of papers are being printed here and there. Their toner cartridges take a very long time to run out, and they have an incredible maximum duty cycle, as we’ve discussed before.

The thing is, if you want to stay within the normal price range of laser printers, you’ve to settle for a black/white only printer, as going for a colour laser printer will take you to a whole new price level which is not within everybody’s budget.

Inkjet vs. Laser Printers: Size

Our last point is the size, as it’s an aspect that is forgotten by a lot of people. Before you actually purchase a printer, you’ve to make space for it. Make sure that you can open the front and back trays smoothly, and that they will not be in the way of anything as they can break quite easily.

More often than not, you’ll find that inkjet printers are much smaller in size then laser printers, especially if you choose to go with the photo-specific ones that are smaller.

As we’ve mentioned, laser printers are designed for office environments, so they do take up a lot of space. They’re heavy and chunky, hence, if you choose to go with a laser printer, make sure that you have enough space for it.

Final Thoughts

This will be a wrap on our inkjet vs. laser printers simple guide. The points we’ve discussed are the ones that have the biggest effect on your choice of printer. Hence, don’t forget to know your everyday workload, budget, type of documents that you will be producing; coloured or black/white, and of course the available space in your apartment, office, etc.