Inkjet vs Laser: Which Printer to Buy for Your Home/Office?

Inkjet vs Laser: Which Printer to Buy for Your Home/Office?

6 min read | Consumer Electronics

A printer is a useful piece of technology to have around. Businesses have been relying on printers for a long time now. Besides, people use printers in their homes as well. A survey shows that the average employee prints 10,000 pages in a year! Considering the significance of printers for your homes and offices, buying a printer for your home or office can be challenging. The current markets are flooded with printer choices by different companies and choosing the right one for your requirements matters. HP leads the printer industry with a market share of whooping 35% worldwide!

laser printer vs inkjet printer, laser printer vs inkjetSource

When buying a printer, there are many things you should consider such as printing costs, operation costs, and print quality. Printers can be broadly divided into two categories – Inkjet Printers and Laser Printers. Your requirements play a major role in deciding which category of printer you should choose. For instance, the best home office printer might not be the same as the printer for your business. 

There are many other features you can look for when buying a printer such as if the printer you are buying comes with a built-in scanner, automatic document feeder, networking capabilities, and much more. In this article, we have compared these two printer categories – laser and inkjet, under 5 different parameters to help you decide which is the best printer for your needs.

Laser vs Inkjet Printer: The Printing Technology

The end product of every printer is the same – a hardcopy of your digital document or picture. However, the printing technologies of laser and inkjet printers are different. Understanding these technologies will help you decide the printer types that suits your requirements. Besides, the operating and per-page print cost depends on the technology a printer functions on.

laser printer vs inkjet printer, laser printer vs inkjetInkjet vs Laser Printers – How They Work

Inkjet Printers, as the name suggests, uses ink in liquid form to print. As shown in the above picture, the liquid ink is sprayed and dried on the printing paper through microscopic nozzles. So, if you have ever seen people changing the ink cartridges of their printers, you have seen the inkjet printers.

On the contrary, Laser Printers use something called “toner” and not ink. Toner is an electrically charged powdered mixture that sticks to the photosensitive drum. As depicted in the picture above, this drum melts this mixture on the printing paper to produce the hardcopy of your digital document. 

As the inkjet printers use liquid ink, there have been more complaints of ink smudging on the printed documents as compared to laser printers. This, however, depends on the ink type, printing paper, and the printer quality you are using. 

Laser vs Inkjet Printer: Toner vs Ink

As mentioned in the above section, inkjet printers use liquid ink and laser printers use toner for printing. The operations costs of a printer you choose depends on the type you choose for your home or office. 

inkjet vs laser, laser vs inkjet, ink vs tonerInkjet Printers use liquid ink for printing. There are two types of inkjet inks: dye-based and pigment-based. Pigmented inks use pigments, ultra-fine powder, suspended in liquid. Dye-based inkjet inks, on the other hand, are colourants dissolved in liquid. If you are having a hard time deciding the type of ink you should choose for your printer, it is advised to use OEM inkjet cartridges. For instance, use genuine HP ink instead of third-party refill ink for getting optimum print quality for the best HP printer

Laser Printers use toners and its technology is not as simple as inkjet printers. Toner consists of electrically charged finely ground polyester (mostly). These charged particles are stuck to the printing paper using heat through a photosensitive drum to create sharp and smudge-free prints.

Laser vs Inkjet Printer: The Print Quality

At the end of the day, the print quality holds the most significant value when you are talking about printers. The print quality of inkjet and laser printers has its own set of good and bad parameters for different printing requirements. 

Since the toner is fused on the paper in laser printers, you can expect better quality when printing documents. For instance, if you are printing a document with a small text size, you will receive better print quality (crisp, detailed, and clear texts) using laser printers. On the other hand, inkjet printers perform better when working with colours. In a nutshell, you could say that laser printers are a better choice if most of your printing requirements consist of documents. On the contrary, inkjet printers are known to perform better with coloured photos. 

It is easier to get the desired colour, when printing photos, using the liquid ink (both dye and pigment-based). In spite of the launch of colour laser printers, inkjet printers flaunt their dominance in photo printing with better colour tones and depth of individual elements. 

As such, if your needs include printing high-resolution photos, you should always go with inkjet printers. If you need a printer for mostly documents and a few images, you should go for a colour laser printer. 

Laser vs Inkjet Printer: The Cost Factor

Whether you are buying a printer for your home or your business, the overall cost is an important factor to consider. This not only includes the upfront costs but also the cost per page and the operating costs of a printer.

For starters, there is a huge difference in the buying prices of laser and inkjet printers. The technology of inkjet printing was invented way before laser printing. As such, the purchasing price of laser printers are more than inkjet printers. For instance, keeping the print quality aside, you can find inkjet printers at ACT at a price, as low as, $245. The starting price of laser printers is around $1,099. 

The operating costs of a printer you choose is more significant in the long run. Operating costs of a printer include maintenance costs, paper costs, and ink cartridges/toner costs. Inkjet printers use liquid ink cartridges which are pretty costly. Liquid printer inks are costly because they are engineered and designed to have consistency, mixing, smooth flow, dry quickly, etc. This increases the cost per page amount for inkjet printers to a great extent. 

Laser printers use powdered toner for printing. Toners are more expensive than ink cartridges but print for more pages. As such, the printing cost per page for laser printers are significantly lower. To optimize the printing costs for laser and inkjet printers, you should use genuine OEM ink cartridges, ensure regular maintenance, and prefer less-costly fonts.

Laser vs Inkjet Printer: Print Volume

It doesn’t matter if you are buying a printer for your business or home, you would want to compare the print volume of laser and inkjet printers before choosing one. With that being said, the print speed of laser printers is more than inkjet printers. Even the low-key laser printers can print up to 25-30 pages per minute. This number limits to 5-10 pages per minute for inkjet printers. Besides, the average lifetime of an inkjet printer is about 3 years while laser printers last for at least 5 years.

A toner prints more pages than a normal ink cartridge. As such, if you need a printer for printing texts or documents in considerable volume, laser printers would be the right choice. On a similar note, an inkjet printer makes for the best home or home office printers as it is used for printing documents as well as high-quality colourful images.

Laser Printer vs Inkjet Printer: The Final Settlement

Analyze your printing needs before purchasing a printer. Ask questions like –  ‘Quality or Quantity?’,  ‘coloured Pictures or Monochrome Texts/Documents?’, ‘Home, Office or Home Office?’, ‘high or low print volume’, ‘in-built scanner or not’, etc. These questions will help you prioritize your requirements and bring the right printer home or to your office. 

To put it briefly, inkjet printers are good with printing high-resolution colourful photos but have lesser print speed, lower upfront costs, and higher operating costs. Laser Printers, on the other hand, are best suited for printing crisp documents, have a faster print speed, and higher upfront costs but lower operating costs.

Why Choose ACT for Printers and Printer Supplies?

Antigua Computer Technology (ACT) has over 30 years of experience as a reliable technology provider in Antigua. We offer an extensive range of IT-related products and services for consumers and enterprises. You can buy HP printers at authorized HP Service Centre in Antigua and retail store at Downtown (Market St. & Church St.) or Old Parham Rd. Visit our retail stores for printers and OEM printer supplies. We come up with articles about the latest in the world of technology and more. To subscribe to our blog, click here! Call at +1 (268) 480-5228 or fill this form to contact us right now!