Color Laser Printer or Inkjet – Points to Consider When Choosing a Printer

Color laser printers and inkjet printers both have features that make them desirable for the home or office but there are a few points you should consider before purchasing one. While price may be a big factor, print quality and speed may also be important. Laser printers tend to be larger than inkjet printers so that may also factor into your decision. Also, if the printer is for your office you may want it to have networking capabilities. All of these points should be considered before purchasing a color laser or inkjet printer.


Inkjet printers are by far the least expensive to purchase and maintain as compared to a color laser printer. Inkjet ink cartridges are much less expensive than the toner that color laser printers use. If you are planning on using your printer for a variety of text, photos and graphics an inkjet printer costs you half as much as the same printing job from a color laser printer.

Print quality

The resolution of the color laser printer is far better than that of an inkjet. The inkjet printer uses a print head that contains tiny nozzles that squirt ink onto the paper in a dot form. The amount of nozzles on the print head determines how close the dots print together giving you a higher resolution with a higher nozzle count. The color laser printer uses toner and a drum to roll on a higher resolution and more durable print. Color laser printers can also use any type of printing paper as opposed to the inkjet printer requiring inkjet paper only.


If speed is your main concern then the color laser printer is the right choice for you. Even the least expensive color laser printer can print 10 – 15 pages per minute while the most expensive inkjet printer can’t keep up with this speed. If you are choosing a printer for the office and it is used for high-quantity printing then the color laser printer may be the best option. They are designed for high-volume use and the toner cartridge lasts longer than an inkjet cartridge.


Inkjet printers come in a variety of sizes and take up very little space in your work area. This is what makes them so popular for personal printers at work and home. Color laser printers are much larger and bulkier. If space is an issue this can be a deciding factor in which printer you choose.

Networking capabilities

Color laser printers generally come with networking facilities to connect to your computer network directly. This feature alone might make choosing a color laser printer for your office more desirable. An inkjet printer must be networked directly through a computer and not to the network, making it more costly to use in a networking situation. Color laser printers and inkjet printers each have their own pros and cons. Once you’ve decided which features are the most important you will be able to choose the printer that suits your situation best.

Working Of Laser Printers

Laser Printers are commonly used printers that are known for its rapid printing abilities. The other marked feature of a laser printer is the high quality text and graphics printing. It works basically on the principle of xerographic printing process. However, it is different from the analog photocopying machines in which the image produced is the result of direct scan of a laser beam on the photoreceptor of the printer.

Using a laser printer has a number of advantages over any other types of printers available. The speed of a laser printer varies from one model to another as it depends on a number of factors like the graphic intensity required in processing the job and others. The latest models of laser printers can print more than 200 single color pages in one minute, which is more than 12 thousand pages in an hour! The color laser printers are relatively slower, but even they can print at more than 100 pages per minute. The high speed laser printers are generally used for printing of mass mailings like utility or credit card bills etc.

The cost incurred in using the laser printing technology is dependent on more than one feature such as the cost of the toner, paper, once in a while replacement of the drum, and change required in other consumable parts of the printer like transfer assembly and the fuser assembly. Laser printers having drums made of soft plastic can be costlier in the long run than one can comprehend; its high overall cost becomes apparent only when the printer requires a drum replacement.

Another feature in the family of laser printers is the duplexing model. This allows printing on both sides of a paper without the need to remove the paper at all. This technology can cut paper cost directly into half and also lessen the filling volumes. Formerly, the duplexing technology was available only on the high-end laser printers. However, now they can be seen on a number of mid-range office laser printers. Although, the duplexing technology can reduce the printing speed to some extent as the paper path length increases.

The dot-matrix and inkjet printers take the incoming spooled data for the printer and directly print that on the paper making it a slow process which can stop as soon as the printer is waiting for more data. On the other hand, a laser printer cannot work this way, the reason being the large amount of data required to output to the printer in a continuous fashion. The printer cannot wait for data arrival and if that happens, there can be gaps and misalignment on the page.

To take care of the above problem, a printer buffer is used. The data is built up and kept in the large printer buffer that is generally present in the printer. This data bank is large enough to account for every single dot that can be printed on a page. However, this requirement of storing the dots in the memory before printing can begin has limited the printing capability of laser printers to small size like A4 or A3. Most laser printer cannot print long banners as there is no memory to hold that amount of data.

The printing takes place in seven steps. A Raster Image Processor scans the entire page line by line and stores a bitmap of the page in the raster memory. The drum is then charged negatively and the bitmap is written on the photosensitive drum using a laser beam whose functionality is dependent on the bitmap image. The charged toner particles are charged negatively and wherever the laser has not discharged the drum, the charges will repel and printing won`t take place, hence creating the required print out. The toner contains a plastic powder that is attracted to the parts where the laser beam hit and in the end the plastic powder is fused at 200 degree Celsius to bond the ink with the paper.

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.