Comparing Inkjet Printers Vs Laser Printers

We all like to save money when it comes to printers and cartridges but how do you decide what printer to buy in the first place? There are two main options – either an inkjet printer or a laser printer. This article gives some insight into the main differences and similarities between printing with a laser printer and an inkjet printer.

Firstly you need to understand the technology of the two styles of printers. The key difference is the means used to imprint the image onto the paper. Laser printers use a digital process that applies a laser beam and mirrors to project an image of the page onto an electrically charged rotating drum. Using a combination of heat and direct contact, the drum then transfers the image onto the paper. This process essentially burns the image onto your page making it smudge proof and permanent. Inkjet printers on the other hand use electrical impulses to spray the ink out of nozzles onto the page. The ink then bleeds into the paper before air drying.

Proponents of inkjet printers prefer the simplicity of their technology. The initial cost of the inkjet printer is often cheaper than a laser printer and replacement cartridges appear inexpensive. We would like to offer a word of warning however. The yield, or output, from replacement ink cartridges is usually significantly less than laser toner cartridges. This means that you need to look at the cost per printed page to do a true and fair comparison. Indeed, laser printers are typically much cheaper to run over time if you print high volumes. Whilst text output of inkjet printers is very good, it is their ability to print high quality images and photos that makes them attractive.

On the other side of the argument, laser printers offer much faster and greater printing output. This is because a toner cartridge can print between 2,500 to 10,000 pages before replacement. Laser printing is much faster than inkjet printing because, like a computer, a laser printer has an inbuilt memory enabling the image to be stored and accessed very quickly. This means that a simple page of text takes the same time to print as a complex graphic. Inkjet printers however have to spray each individual pixel meaning that large complex graphics takes a long time to print.

When you have decided if you are leaning more towards an inkjet printer or a laser printer you then need to consider other issues such as networking ability, paper tray configuration, media portability, memory, paper paths, optional font capabilities etc. There are many websites to help with your decision process.For example, PC magazine have investigated both laser printers and have several articles exploring printers and printer ink cartridges.

These days you can get some very reasonably priced and highly optioned inkjet and laser printers. We recommend that you consider the cost of the actual printer plus the cost of replacement cartridges over the life of your printer. To do this you need to have a good idea of the type and volume of printing you will do. In general, big business and sophisticated small business/home users choose laser printers whilst small business and the average home user is happy with an ink jet printer.

Laser Printer: The Better Printing Option

Laser printer is a very common term that many of us get to hear today. Almost all offices have switched to laser printers from the traditional ink jet ones. The laser printers have many benefits over the regular ink jet printers which makes them a better printing option in most cases.

Before looking at the laser printer let us first look at the history of printers that we have had till date. The very first printer of sorts would have been the simple type writer. It functions very similar to the printer with the only different being there is no computing interface between the typist and the printing device.

The evolution of the typewriter was the dot matrix printer. This was based on the same concept as a typewriter in that the contents where printers on the paper by impressions hitting a ribbon of ink. Depending on the kind of patterns that hit the ribbon, the corresponding images or text got transferred onto the paper.

The next jump in the printing domain was the ink jet printer. This printer uses a spray of ink to create images on the paper. The first printers of this kind were black and white printers and they could produce a much better and neater looking printouts as compared to the dot matrix printers.

With time, the technology evolved and coloured inks made way into printing. Now it is not difficult to get colour printouts as well as black and white printouts from the printer. So much so that most printers have the option to load multiple cartridges and support both printing options.

The next evolution in the printing technology was the laser printers. This solution was quite different from the traditional printing options that were available. All the previous versions used some form of ink to create images on the paper. The laser printer changed that approach and introduced the option of using electrostatic charges to print and create images on the paper.

Given the accuracy of the laser beams, the print outs from these printers where crisper and of much superior quality as compared to the other forms of printing. The ink jet printers too created great images, but there is always some lag time between getting the print out and the ink drying out. The modern solutions do address this problem and we have some really quick drying inks available. The quality of laser printouts is still superior to other printouts.

The only limitation of the laser printer for a long time was the lack colour printing option. As a result, it was a norm to use ink jet printers for colour printouts while sticking to laser ones for purely black and white needs. However, this is changing now with the advent of color laser printing. Now one can get laser quality printouts for not just banal text but also for vibrant colourful pictures and photos too. While the color laser printers remain premium product today, pretty soon they will become mainstream and general public can enjoy the high quality printing solutions.

Advantages of A Laser Printer

Does a laser printer have enough advantages that it is worth a splurge or should you spend your hard earned money on a cheaper inkjet printer instead? Before you make your decision it might be worth your while to look at some of the advantages offered by laser printers.

First of all laser printers are known for their speed. A laser can move very quickly so it can transfer information incredibly quickly to the paper. Rather than just print a section of a page as an inkjet printer does, a laser printer allows you to print an entire page at a time. This makes it much easier to print graphics mixed with text that are designed with a computer program.

Another benefit of using a laser printer is that it is more precise then other types of printers, but especially inkjet and impact style printers. This is because the laser beam transfers the image to be replicated very precisely on to the paper, which saves the spilling of any extra ink.

Another benefit of laser printers is that many of them are very modern and energy efficient. It doesn’t cost as much to keep the machine running. In terms of cost, the use of toner in a laser printer is much cheaper than the ink cartridges that are used in inkjet printers over the long run. This is because expensive ink cartridges can be used up very quickly, especially if you are printing in color.

Yet another convenience when it comes to using laser printers is that they are less messy to deal with this. You can easily refill or replace the toner cartridges that are filled with a fine powder. This fine powder is much easier to clean up then ink that can be spilled everywhere as you attempt to fill the cartridge from an ink jet printer.

In general laser printers can often hold more ink and can go longer without needing any kind of toner cartridge change or paper filling. This means that it is a lot freer and that it can practically serve more people at one time if they are all working together in a small office.

Color laser printers also offer their users more potential for creativity and design then a simple black and white printer. Suddenly it is possible to brand every piece of stationary you have with your own logo or colorful promotional designs. Formerly expensive printing jobs such as the printing of posters, postcards, business cards or invitations can now be simply done in the office instead of being farmed out.

Laser printers also give designers and artist a lot more control over their final product before it is submitted to a printer as the pages that are spewed out of a color laser printer can closely approximate the finished product. This makes the reading, correcting and approval of any final proofs a much simpler and easier job!

Another perk to owning a laser printer is that you can buy them as part of an all-in-one type machine that also includes a copier and fax in one unit. This is a great innovation as it allows you to streamline a couple of major appliances into one appliance. As this one machine now uses the same paper and cartridge for many different uses and functions you also find yourself saving on computer ink and paper as you do not have to buy as many different brands or types of supplies for it as you would for three or four machines. Thankfully these types of laser printers are dropping in price so that they are now not that much more expensive then a quality inkjet printer.