Both laser and inkjet printers have their strengths and weaknesses, so it usually comes down to what kind of tasks you want your printer to carry out when deciding which type to purchase.
Laser printers are extremely fast. As well as possessing quicker printing speeds, they are also more efficient, as toner isn’t wasted like ink often is to clean cartridges in inkjet printers. This means they have much lower running costs, which counterbalances the fact that they can often have a more expensive initial outlay than their inkjet cousins.
When it comes to the specialities of each type of printer, laser printers are perfect for printing large amounts of black text, which will come out clearer and more consistently than from inkjet printers. However, some laser printers can struggle with colour imagery.
On the other hand, inkjet printers excel at printing photographs in colour, making them great all-rounders. The initial cost outlay is also less than that of laser printers, although they are more expensive to run because of the ink cartridges, which are not as efficient as toner.
Inkjet printers are also a great choice for home use, as they are usually smaller and quieter than their noisier laser equivalents.
|Very fast printing speed
|Better at printing colour photos
|Excellent at printing black text
|Usually more compact size
|Low running costs
|Often cheaper to buy
|Toner not wasted like in inkjets
Ultimately though, it comes down to how often you use your printer and what you use it for – both laser and inkjet printers can be great for their respective purposes.
What is a Laser Printer?
A laser printer is a type of printer that, unlike traditional ink printers, uses electrical charge and a laser to print ink onto the page. Since their invention, laser printers have improved the accuracy and intricacy of printing, typically producing resolutions above 600 DPI (dots per inch).
How Does a Laser Printer Work?
A laser printer works by using a laser beam, static electricity and powdered ink called toner. The process starts with the computer sending data to the laser printer, which uses a laser to scan the required design onto a mechanical drum. This creates a pattern in static electricity that attracts the toner, which is then bonded to the paper as it is in a photocopier.
What’s the Difference Between Inkjet and Laser Printers?
The difference between inkjet and laser printers is the way that they print and the type of ink that they use. Traditional inkjet printers, which have been around since the 1980s, use liquid ink pushed through a nozzle to place tiny dots, smaller than the diameter of a human hair, onto the page to form an image or text. Laser printers, meanwhile, use a mechanical drum and static electricity to attract ink, which is then bonded to the paper.
Inkjet printers use traditional liquid ink stored in cartridges, whereas laser printers utilise toner, which is a powder equivalent. Toner lasts considerably longer than ink and is also more reliable, as ink can sometimes dry up or clog the cartridges that dispense it. The trade-off for this improved efficiency is that toner-using laser printers are often initially more expensive than inkjet ones.
Inkjet Vs Laser Cost Per Page Comparison
How does this difference between inkjet and laser printers translate into cost per page? We took a selection of black and colour ink cartridges and toner cartridges from our range and put together the following comparison:
|Inkjet ink cartridges
|Laser toner cartridges
|Cost per page
|Cost per page
|HP 301 Original Ink Cartridge CH561EE Black
|HP 85A Original Toner Cartridge CE285A Black
|Epson 27XL Original Ink Cartridge C13T27114012 Black
|Epson 0593 Original Toner Cartridge C13S050593 Black
|HP 62XL Original Ink Cartridge C2P07AE 3 Colours
|HP 131A Original Toner Cartridge U0SL1AM 3 Colours 3 Pieces
|Epson 29 Original Ink Cartridge C13T29864012 Black & 3 Colours 4 Pieces
|Epson 0591 Original Toner Cartridge C13S050591 Magenta
* Sourcedate September 2019
As we can see, the toner cartridges across the two brands, looking at black and colour, are considerably cheaper per page than their cartridge equivalents. While this is offset by the greater initial price of laser printers, the operational costs are significantly lower, with the potential to save money in the long run.