When shopping for a new printer, you face plenty of options. Many different brands offer a wide range of products with their unique features and qualities. However, every printer falls into one of two basic configurations: inkjet or laser.
The debate of inkjet vs laser printers is always a topic that comes up when shopping for a new printer. Some people have their preference while others have no idea what is right for them and their business.
Without proper guidance, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when comparing the options. The truth is that shopping for the right printer can be simplified with a few fundamental questions that you should ask yourself before diving into the range of options.
Taking a few minutes to consider your needs and the needs of your business can save a lot of time spent shopping and comparing options.
Inkjet vs Laser Printers: What is the Difference?
First, it’s important 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 paper to get the job done. A laser printer uses a laser combined with powdered toner to print images and documents. The laser charges the paper which then attracts the powdered toner.
Early laser printers were prohibitively expensive and very large when compared with inkjet printers. However, the gap in both size and price has closed in recent years.
Sitting in your office, these two pieces of technology may look similar. The truth is that they have just as many differences as they do similarities. So, which one is right for the needs of your business?
Choosing an Inkjet Printer: Pros and Cons
There are several reasons someone would want to consider an inkjet printer over a laser printer. One of the main reasons inkjet is the right choice for some businesses is the type of printing they are doing.
Liquid ink is far better at printing high-quality images. If your office creates bright, colourful presentations with pictures and infographics to provide to clients then an inkjet printer is going to give the best results.
Inkjet printers are also more versatile regarding the printing medium they can use. There are many different styles and types of paper that an inkjet printer can print onto. For example, glossy stock, textured art paper or even fabrics can be used by inkjet printers (depending on your device’s configuration).
However, inkjet printers are not without their downsides. In general, inkjet ink cartridges are far more expensive when compared with toner cartridges. If you need to do high volume printing that doesn’t require vibrant colour or detailed images then, despite the lower initial cost, an inkjet printer will prove to be costlier over time when compared with a laser printer.
Choosing a Laser Printer: Pros and Cons
Unlike an inkjet printer, a laser printer is not ideal for printing colourful, detailed images. Instead, laser printers perform best in an environment where most printing consists of text documents. The fine detail on laser printers creates crisp, clean text.
If you find that most of the printing done in your office are spreadsheets and documents, then a laser printer may be the best option for your business. In addition, laser printers tend to cost less per page when compared with inkjet printers at higher printing volumes.
However, a laser printer does have some limitations. For example, certain types of paper like heat sensitive paper cannot be used in a laser printer. The upfront cost of a laser printer is also higher than that of a comparable inkjet printer which could cause some initial sticker shock for budget shoppers.
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, hopefully, this article has shed some light on which is best in your specific situation.
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!
Not sure how much you should budget to purchase your printer? Read our article on How Much Does a Desktop Printer Cost? It breaks down can impact the cost of your next home or commercial printer purchase and breaks out an estimated price table.