what is the difference between an inkjet printer and a laser printer?

what is the difference between an inkjet printer and a laser printer?

In search of a keep at dwelling printer?

If what you’re actually asking is what kind of printer ought to I get to remain productive at dwelling and you understand that you’ll typically print a mixture of coloured and monochrome paperwork, I like to recommend you get an reasonably priced colour laser printer. Laser printers are in it for the lengthy haul and are extra economical than inkjet printers. Laser printers use toner cartridges which print 1000’s of pages so that you don’t want to fret about replacements anytime quickly. Laser cartridges comprise toner powder so that you additionally don’t have to fret concerning the drama of operating into dried or clogged ink in any respect!

Many shoppers have requested the exact same query: ought to I get an inkjet or laser printer? There are a lot of components to contemplate and that can assist you determine, it’s not possible to not discuss each. So in an effort to reply your query of do you have to get inkjet vs laser, let’s dive proper in.

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First, let me provide the wanting it.

The largest variations between inkjet and laser printers is that an inkjet printer makes use of ink, is appropriate for low quantity printing, and is the normal selection of dwelling customers, whereas a laser printer makes use of toner, is good for prime quantity printing, is usually utilized in workplace settings however can also be appropriate and is a extra economical selection for dwelling use.

Whether or not or not you want an inkjet or laser printer would rely on what you print, how typically you print, and how a lot your printing funds is.

Now, let’s get to the lengthy of it.

Printer Comparability

What’s an inkjet printer?

Inkjet printers are machines that spray microscopic droplets of ink onto paper. Inkjet printers are typically cheaper, smaller, and can be utilized to print each textual content paperwork and top quality coloured photographs, particularly pictures. BUT be cautious of low cost inkjet printers as these will find yourself costing you a fortune afterward.

What’s a laser printer?

Laser printers are machines that soften toner powder onto paper to create a print. Laser printers are dearer than inkjet printers upfront and makes use of pricier toner cartridges however remains to be a extra economical possibility in the long term with its general decrease price per web page, sooner print speeds.

Let’s take a better take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of laser and inkjet printers so you can also make your subsequent buy with confidence.

What Will You Use The Printer For?

In the event you’re searching for a house printer for occasional printing, most individuals would recommendation you to get an inkjet printer. Nevertheless, a typical criticism with inkjet printers is that the ink dries up should you don’t use it typically. With that stated, you probably have the funds for it, I strongly recommend you get an affordably priced laser printer as a substitute; the toner utilized by laser printers doesn’t dry up.

However should you’ll be printing a small quantity of paperwork and require excessive decision coloured photographs recurrently, inkjet printers will get the job performed. Laser printers are recognized to be extra sturdy and might print giant portions of monochrome and coloured paperwork often.

What’s a monochrome printer?

A monochrome printer is a printer that prints solely in black and white. Monochrome printers solely want a black printer cartridge to print.

Although laser printers had been initially constructed for workplace use, they’re now rising in recognition as a house printer for economical causes.

In the event you’ll be printing giant volumes of paperwork, a laser printer is one of the best machine for you. Laser printers can print excessive volumes of paperwork each day with out even batting an eyelash (if a printer ever had one…or many).

What about for printing in colour? Shade laser printers are good for on a regular basis colour printing however should you’re trying to print skilled excessive decision pictures, go together with a photograph inkjet printer.

Top quality photograph inkjet printers are specifically engineered to supply vividly detailed pictures with the tonal selection and deeper blacks that photographers and creatives want. {Many professional} photograph inkjet printers use pigment-based ink which is extra fade-resistant and works with all kinds of artwork paper sorts in addition to a spread of paper sizes however you may as well discover dye-based photograph inkjet printers should you don’t require the longevity of pigment ink.

Inkjet vs. Shade Laser Printer – One of the vital well-liked questions we get from patrons is: ought to I get a colour laser printer or an inkjet printer? It boils right down to what you want colour printing for.

  • In the event you want gallery high quality pictures, get a photograph inkjet printer.
  • But when it’s essential print medium high quality coloured photographs that don’t require colour depth and tonal vary, we advocate colour laser printers over inkjet printers for 2 causes:
    • laser toner doesn’t dry up if left unused
    • you print extra pages from laser toner cartridges than inkjet cartridges

Know-how (How It Works)

Inkjet printers spray liquid ink by way of microscopic nozzles onto paper as pictured beneath.

Laser printers, however, have a drum unit that fuses (or melts) toner powder onto paper with warmth.

So, one printer kind makes use of ink, the opposite makes use of powder. Inkjet printers sprays ink droplets whereas laser printers soften toner powder onto paper.

With this distinction in utility between the 2 inkjet and laser printer sorts, it’s a typical perception that smudging is extra widespread with inkjet printers than laser. That’s to not say all inkjet printers do. Inkjet printers that use pigment primarily based ink aren’t more likely to smudge whereas dye-based ink require an extended drying time for the ink to set. And this could additionally largely rely on what paper you’re printing on. Some paper sorts take up ink higher whereas some don’t.

Print high quality, extra formally known as print decision, is determined by the output you want.

In a nutshell, if it’s essential print tremendous detailed, high-resolution pictures, search for a superb skilled photograph inkjet printer that produces excessive decision photographs. If what you want is a dependable printer that may maintain printing sharp paperwork and passable coloured reviews or photographs, a laser printer suits the invoice.

A laser printer for printing in colour?

Completely. A standard notion is that inkjet printers are merely higher for printing something in colour, and laser printers are solely greatest for black and white textual content.

Though inkjet printers nonetheless win over laser in relation to excessive decision pictures boasting unbelievable colour tones and depth, colour laser printers are actually an possibility to contemplate for these trying to print medium-quality coloured photographs whereas having fun with the reliability, endurance, and financial advantages of a laser printer.

The expertise behind the 2 printer sorts primarily decide the constraints in relation to the standard of print outcomes. However developments in laser printer expertise have allowed colour laser printers to now produce fairly spectacular coloured pictures as nicely.

Decision is measured in DPI which stands for “dots per inch”. The extra dots there are in an inch of paper, the sharper the consequence. You solely actually need a printer with a decision of 600 dpi in an effort to create excessive decision paperwork and 1200 dpi in an effort to print good coloured photographs.

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Although it’s stated that the upper the dpi, the sharper the small print will probably be in a printed picture, you’ll be able to hardly discover the distinction after 1200 dpi. You solely actually need to fret about increased resolutions should you’re trying to print sharp images.

When printer specs, you will note that print decision is at all times a set of two numbers as in 4800 x 1200 dpi. This implies the max decision of that printer is 4800 multiplied by 1200 dpi. And sure, there’s such a factor as an excessive amount of dpi.

Inkjet Printer Resolutions

Most inkjet printers now have a most of round 5,000 dpi. Most Canon PIXMA printers have a most decision of 4800 x 1200 dpi (dots per inch). Epson photograph printers have most print decision of 5760 x 1440 dpi. The Canon iP110 printer has a dpi of 9600 x 2400 dpi, twice that of normal PIXMAs.

Laser Printer Resolutions

Most laser printers have print resolutions of as much as 2,400 x 600 dpi however newer fashions can now optimize their dpi in an effort to present an enhanced print decision of 38,400 x 600 dpi such because the HP Shade LaserJet Professional M479fdw.

In a nutshell:

  • Monochrome Laser printers: Wonderful for textual content and paperwork
  • Shade Laser Printers: Wonderful for textual content, paperwork, and might print medium-quality colour photographs (ie. household pictures for private use).
  • Picture Inkjet Printers: Nice for printing top quality pictures with huge colour vary and tonal depth. Finest when printing photograph gallery prints.

Laser printers are constructed to accommodate the calls for of a office so they’re engineered to print sooner (between 15 to 100 pages per minute, or ppm), whereas inkjet printers print slower at about 16 ppm. Since laser printers are sooner, they can produce extra paperwork in comparison with inkjet printers and subsequently have the next month-to-month print quantity.

  • Laser Printers: 15 to 100 pages/minute
  • Inkjet Printers: 16 pages/minute

Print quantity refers to how a lot your printer can print at a given time. A laser printer is taken into account to be the workhorse of the workplace due to its functionality to rapidly print giant quantities of paperwork. Provided that inkjet printers are meant for dwelling use, it’s print quantity is considerably smaller. For comparability, let’s check out the HP LaserJet Professional M401n’s print quantity and pace alongside the Canon’s inkjet PIXMA TS6220.

HP LaserJet Professional M401n Canon PIXMA TS6220 (Inkjet) Pages Per Minute 35 ppm 15 ppm Month-to-month Print Quantity 750 – 3,000 pages 250 – 500 pages

Discover the stark distinction between the print pace and print quantity between the 2 printer sorts.

Most Month-to-month Responsibility Cycle vs Beneficial Month-to-month Print QuantityIt’s typically complicated to shoppers which quantity to comply with in relation to how a lot they need to actually print with their printers to maintain their printers in optimum operating situation. Let’s take this chance to make clear the distinction between most month-to-month responsibility cycle and beneficial month-to-month print quantity.

  • The utmost month-to-month responsibility cycle is how a lot your printer can print in a month with out inflicting harm to its elements.
  • The beneficial month-to-month print quantity is the quantity you need to print month-to-month to maintain your printer at optimum efficiency.

Printing at most month-to-month responsibility cycle can lead to your printer calling it quits a lot before you anticipate. Attempt to keep throughout the beneficial month-to-month print quantity as a substitute to maintain your printer round longer.

Web page Yield

Toner cartridges can print a considerably increased quantity of web page yield than ink cartridges so toners last more than ink cartridges. Most ink cartridges comprise an ink quantity that may often print between 135 – 1000 pages. Toner cartridge web page yields can vary from 2,000 to upwards of 10,000!

Ink tank printers nonetheless have allowed inkjet printer customers to get pleasure from having the next quantity of ink of their printer so that they received’t must maintain changing cartridges. For Epson and Canon ink tank printers, you utilize ink bottle refills as a substitute of cartridges and one ink bottle refill can print about 6,000 pages. Brother’s ink tank printers nonetheless use cartridges however bigger ones that maintain extra ink quantity. One of many largest Brother ink tank cartridge can print as much as 6,000 pages. That’s a whole lot of pages for an inkjet printer!

Nevertheless, it pays to say that such a lot of ink in your inkjet printer would solely make sense should you print recurrently.

Ink tank printers are nonetheless inkjet printers so it nonetheless inherits the failings of the expertise comparable to ink drying up and nozzle clogs. If you wish to keep away from changing cartridges often however usually are not positive should you’ll be printing with any regularity, we advocate you go together with a colour laser printer. In the event you’ll be printing a whole lot of coloured paperwork each day, ink tank printers is an efficient possibility.

Printer vs Cartridge Price

The upfront price of a laser printer might seem to be its greatest weak point. In spite of everything, inkjet printers have a a lot decrease upfront price with newer fashions priced as little as $29.99 whereas laser printers are considerably dearer with the cheaper ones priced at round $59.99-still twice the value of the most affordable inkjet.

However watch out for grime low cost inkjet printers. These low cost fashions have a excessive price per web page and use cartridges that may print only some hundred pages that you simply’ll find yourself having to switch cartridges often. Earlier than you understand it, you’ve already spent extra on ink cartridges than the printer itself.

When put next with laser printers, inkjet printers have a cheaper price partly as a result of —

  • inkjet printers have a minimal life span of three years,
  • whereas laser printers have a lifespan of at the very least 5 years

— and that is all is determined by frequency of use.

A extra necessary issue to contemplate when looking for a printer is its cartridge worth.

In the identical means that inkjet and laser printers extensively differ in worth, cartridge costs for a laser and inkjet printer additionally extensively differ — and for good cause.

Laser printer cartridges, also called toner cartridges, can print considerably extra pages than any inkjet cartridge so they’re typically dearer. Regardless of this, nonetheless, you will see that your self spending much less per web page with a laser printer.

This all boils right down to the price per web page of your printer cartridge.

What’s price per web page?

Price per web page is the easiest way to measure how cost-efficient your printer is. You’ll be able to calculate your cartridge’s price per web page by taking your cartridge’s worth and dividing it by it’s anticipated web page yield:

price per web page = cartridge worth / cartridge web page yield

Utilizing the 2 printers we used beforehand for instance, the HP LaserJet M401n makes use of the HP 80x excessive yield LaserJet toner cartridge which might print at the very least 6,900 pages whereas the Canon MX922 inkjet printer makes use of the Canon PGI-280XL excessive yield ink cartridge which prints at the very least 400 pages. Evaluate 6,900 pages vs 400 pages!

An HP 80x cartridge prices $196.99 (as of seven/17/2019) and the Canon PGI-280XL cartridge at the moment prices round $24.99. Though the HP toner is priced 87% greater than the Canon cartridge, because you get 94% extra pages out of the toner, the HP laser cartridge has a extra economical price per web page. Try the desk beneath.

HP LaserJet Professional M401n Canon PIXMA TS6220 (Inkjet) Cartridge HP 80x Canon PGI-280XL Web page Yield 6,900 pages 400 pages Price $196.99 (*as of seven/17/2019) $24.99 (*as of seven/17/2019) Price per web page 2.8 cents per web page 6.2 cents per web page

HP 80X has a decrease price per web page of two.8 cents or $0.028 per web page, whereas Canon PGI-280XL has the next CPP of 6.2 cents or $0.062 per web page.

If the value of laser toner is simply too steep for you, contemplate attempting extra reasonably priced toner cartridge alternate options out there.

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Non-OEM suitable ink and toner cartridges are extensively out there at a lot better costs and print simply in addition to costly branded cartridges.

For comparability functions, let’s take the pricing of an unique HP 80x cartridge and examine it with a suitable HP 80x cartridge.

  • Unique HP 80x Cartridge: ~$205.99
  • Suitable HP 80x Cartridge: $34.99
  • That’s a worth distinction of $171.00!

That makes the suitable HP 80x cartridge 83% cheaper than the unique. You may get large reductions on suitable ink cartridges as nicely. Because of aftermarket choices, costly printer cartridges is now a factor of the previous.

The upfront price of an inkjet printer may appear the extra economical (and engaging) selection at first however once you bear in mind the value of ink cartridges AND how typically you’ll have to switch them (contemplating it’s low web page yield), the operating price of changing cartridges will simply get way more costly than the preliminary price of the printer.

Quite the opposite, laser printer cartridges can print extra pages so will probably be months and even years earlier than you’ll want replacements, once more relying on how a lot you utilize your printer.

Thoughts the Drum Unit

One other distinction between inkjet and laser printers is that for inkjet printers you solely want ink cartridges to print, whereas for laser printers, you want a toner cartridge and a drum unit. Laser printers at all times include a drum unit that transfers the toner powder onto paper. The toner and drum unit are the 2 consumables required for a laser printer to work. Typically they arrive collectively as one piece and typically there are fashions the place they arrive individually. Some manufacturers of laser printers have toner cartridges with an built-in drum unit like HP. Brother laser printers however have a toner cartridge and a separate drum unit. When buying laser printers, be certain that to test should you’ll be needing to switch the toner cartridges AND the drum unit (although you solely want to switch the drum unit quite a bit much less often than the toner). Don’t let this flip you off laser printers although. You’ll solely hardly ever want to switch the drum unit-usually each 3-4 toner cartridges.

Different Options to Ink Cartridges

In an effort to make the cumbersome and costly substitute of ink cartridges simpler, printer producers have alternate options to purchasing ink cartridges.

HP’s Prompt Ink Subscription Program

Although not precisely a substitute to ink cartridges, the HP Prompt Ink program is a subscribe-and-forget-it service for ink cartridges so that you don’t must maintain operating to the shop once you run out of ink. There’s a superb mixture of evaluations for the service so be sure you learn them earlier than signing up.

Ink Tank Printers

Brother and Epson have created a sequence of printers that may maintain larger volumes of ink in order that customers received’t want to switch cartridges for awhile. Such printers make the most of a CISS (Steady Ink Provide System).

We have now an article all about Ink Tank Printers that talks about the way it compares in opposition to common inkjet printers in addition to its efficiency in comparison with laser printers. It additionally solutions generally requested questions. If you wish to discover this printer possibility additional, I like to recommend you test it out.

Some downsides to bigger ink tanks are:

  • That it’s way more costly than the common inkjet printer and
  • It doesn’t change the truth that should you don’t print typically, ink nonetheless finally ends up clogging your cartridge nozzles and printheads.

So be sure you contemplate your frequency of use earlier than investing in a pricier CISS printer.

Continuously Requested Questions

Query: What’s a superb dwelling printer that may print each black and coloured paperwork, is sweet for dwelling and college use, and received’t dry up in between makes use of?

Reply: A colour laser printer meets all of those standards. Shade laser printers print each black and coloured paperwork and use toner powder as a substitute of ink so it received’t dry up in between uses-plus no printhead to fret about! Of all printer manufacturers, HP Shade LaserJet printers ship one of the best print outcomes in relation to colour accuracy and sharpness however Canon Shade ImageClass printers come at a detailed second. Search for colour laser fashions appropriate for dwelling or small enterprise use, you don’t want the expensive enterprise fashions. Look by way of buyer evaluations should you’re caught between two or extra printer fashions.

Query: I print quite a bit recurrently and wish a cost-efficient printer that may print in black and colour. What printer ought to I get?

Reply: You’ll be able to both get a superb HP or Canon colour laser printer OR you may as well take a look at ink tank printers. Laser printer cartridges print 1000’s of pages earlier than operating out of toner, and ink tank printers have giant ink reservoirs so it may possibly print much more pages than commonplace inkjet printers.

Query: I work from home and print a whole lot of pictures and wish excessive decision photographs. Can a colour laser printer produce the outcomes I would like?

Reply: For top decision pictures and pictures, we advocate getting knowledgeable photograph printer specifically if this pertains to your line of labor. Shade laser printers are nonetheless certain by present laser printing expertise limitations and can’t ship the identical colour accuracy and sharpness as high photograph inkjet printers.

Query: Can a laser printer print stickers or labels?

Reply: Sure, you’ll be able to print stickers or labels utilizing a laser printer so long as you get the proper sticker paper for laser printer use. Don’t use sticker paper meant for use for inkjet printers on a laser printer. This may end in costly and irreversible damages just like the sticker paper melting contained in the laser printer’s fuser unit.

Nevertheless, should you want vibrant and sharp coloured stickers or labels, we recommend going with an inkjet printer. Printing with an inkjet printer additionally offers you the choice to print water- and fade-proof labels. In the event you want fade-proof stickers, be sure you select a printer that makes use of ink cartridges that comprise pigment-based ink. Pigment-based ink produces longer lasting photographs in comparison with dye-based ink which isn’t water proof and fades sooner.

Right here’s a abstract of the variations between an inkjet and laser printer.

Inkjet Printers


  • Inkjet printers are often smaller and lighter – making it very best for a bed room or dwelling workplace the place house saving is valued.
  • Nice at producing photograph high quality prints and image-heavy paperwork, as inkjet printers do a greater job of mixing and producing vibrant colours than laser printers.
  • The worth of an inkjet printer is lower than most laser printers.
  • No warm-up time wanted earlier than printing.
  • Can print on a wide range of paper sorts, together with shiny photograph paper, textured artwork paper, and materials.
  • Can accommodate bigger paper sizes.
  • Ink refill kits can cut back the price of printing.


  • Ink is dear, particularly for customers who print frequently who’re frequently compelled to repurchase extra cartridges as a result of ink cartridges can solely print a number of hundred pages.
  • A lot slower than laser printers.
  • Low-capacity paper trays of fifty to 100 sheets, which may be irritating for a person who prints quite a bit.
  • Low month-to-month responsibility cycle (the utmost quantity of prints doable in a given month with out inflicting harm to the printer).

Laser Printers


  • Most laser printers print a lot sooner than inkjet printers. This isn’t and shouldn’t be a robust promoting level for informal printers, however excessive quantity customers will discover an enormous distinction.
  • Laser printers produce sharp textual content. In the event you’re a excessive quantity printer that solely requires textual content paperwork, laser is the best way to go.
  • Larger month-to-month responsibility cycle means they’re higher ready to deal with high-volume jobs.
  • A price-by-price comparability favors laser printers over inkjet printers should you print on a frequent foundation and aren’t producing paperwork which can be graphically advanced.
  • Toner, on common, is cheaper in the long term for prime quantity printers as a result of their cartridges can print out 1000’s of pages compared to ink cartridges.


  • Can deal with easy graphics, however advanced photographs and pictures are a problem.
  • Though there are some compact laser printers available on the market, they’re typically larger and heavier than inkjet printers.
  • Laser printers can’t deal with the identical number of paper that inkjets can.
  • The upfront price of a laser printer is often greater than your common inkjet printer.

Deciding on whether or not you need to go together with an inkjet or laser printer comes right down to what you print, how a lot you print, and the way a lot you’re keen to spend on printing. Inkjet printers are greatest fitted to small, image-heavy paperwork, like pictures and college initiatives. However, should you’re searching for a printer that may deal with heavy volumes of text-based paperwork, a laser printer is the extra environment friendly and economical selection.

It additionally pays to assume farther down the street. Do you venture your print wants to alter? Will your children be needing a extra dependable laser down the street or do you have to persist with an inkjet printer? Our wants change and taking them into consideration can save us probably a whole bunch of {dollars} sooner or later.

If you understand which printer kind you’re getting and want to see a listing of suggestions, take a look at our record of greatest laser printers and greatest inkjet printers. Blissful Purchasing!

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