Thursday, November 4, 2010

❏This vs That ❐: Inkjet vs. Laser Printer

Welcome to Thursday's

Gosh, I had no idea buying a printer could be so complicated until I had to decide for myself between laser or inkjet. How much does one cost over the other? How fast is laser compared to inkjet and which one do I really need. I mean even space allowance I had to consider since laser printers are more 'bulkier' and heavier than inkjet printers. Hence, I thought this would be a geat topic for this post.

Let's start with the basic knowledge of each:

A laser printer is a common type of computer printer that rapidly produces high quality text and graphics on plain paper. As with digital photocopiers and multifunction printers (MFPs), laser printers employ a xerographic printing process but differ from analog photocopiers in that the image is produced by the direct scanning of a laser beam across the printer's photoreceptor.

An inkjet printer is a type of computer printer that creates a digital image by propelling variable-sized droplets of ink on to paper through microscopic nozzles in the print head of the cartridges.

The Laser Printer Advantages:

Text quality: It seems laser printers are much better at printing finer details such as smaller fonts. Some high-quality inkjets are able to approach laser-quality text output, but not only are they more expensive, they must use more ink and take more time to produce those results.

Printing speed: Laser printers print very quickly – once the printer is warmed up, pages are printed as fast as they can pass through the machine, with no waiting for ink to dry.

Printing costs: Laser toner cartridges print far more sheets relative to their cost than inkjet cartridges. They are also less wasteful, as inkjet cartridges that aren't used often need to be cleaned, which consumes extra ink.

The Inkjet Printer Advantages:

Photo printing:  Inkjet printers excel when it comes to producing lab-quality photos. Some manufacturers even make inkjet cartridges specifically for photo printing.

Start-up costs Generally, inkjet printers cost less to buy than their laser counterparts. A good, all-purpose color inkjet can be bought from about $50 - $100, whereas even a basic black-and-white laser may cost significantly more.

Convenience and space:   Inkjet printers can also be much smaller and lighter than lasers, with dedicated photo printers (those that exclusively make four-by-six-inch prints) being smaller still.

Strength/Weaknesses of both:

  • Inkjets are significantly slower than lasers, while lasers (even color lasers) struggle with reproducing the subtle gradations of photographs.
  • Inkjets and lasers also have different strengths depending on the amount of work they do. Laser printers are more economical for those who do high-volume printing, while those who do occasional print jobs will generally save more with inkjets.

So which Is Best?

For those of you who do alot of printing of text or line graphics where speed and running costs are factors such as for a business, a laser printer would be the best choice.

For the occasional school report, project, recipe etc. at home as well as snapshots from cheap digital cameras, inkjets are the better choice.

In the end, it's all up to your wants and needs!

So what did I end up buying?

Well, after careful consideration, I decided to go with the laser printer simply for the fact that the amount of money I would have spent in inkjet cartridges (where replacing them just once can be almost as much cost as the actual printer), I would have been able to buy a laser!  That alone was a good enough reason for me!


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