The most common types of printer in the market today are inkjet and laser, which are popular for both home and office uses. While inkjet printers use ink, laser printers use toner. Which one is right for you?
In this article I will explore the main differences between these two printer types and help you decide which one is appropriate for your printing needs.
Sound good? Let’s get started!
As its name suggests, an inkjet printer uses ink to transfer a digital image onto a physical surface. It is a computer printing technology that squirts ink droplets onto a paper or plastic surface. This is perhaps the printer type that you would find in most homes and small offices.
All inkjet printers can be used to print text documents and full-colored images, like graphics and photos. They are generally better at printing pictures than laser printers, and some of the more advanced and specialized inkjet models can produce high quality photos with an impressive color range.
Most people use this type of printer for personal purposes, school assignments or work-related documents.
The printer machine consists of hundreds of tiny ‘guns’ with nozzles that propel microscopic droplets of ink onto the paper surface in a rapid motion. This movement creates the resulting print.
You can connect the printer to a computer source using a cable or wirelessly, in which case you can print documents from phones and tablets.
You should get an inkjet printer for everyday use at home or your personal workspace because it is cheaper to set up, and is usually lighter as well as easier to maintain.
It’s also the better choice if you need to print high quality photos as it is known to print smoother colors than a laser printer. It can also print on more variety of surfaces, including glossy photo paper, textured paper and even certain fabrics.
However, inkjets are not meant for high-volume printing so they are significantly slower than laser printers. They also have smaller paper trays that can only fit around 50-100 sheets, which could be an inconvenience if you are planning to print a lot.
Meanwhile, the water-based ink means that the printed results are more likely to fade or be damaged by water. The ink can also dry up if you don’t use it regularly.
A laser printer uses toner powder which is melted onto the paper when in use. The printer and toner cartridge are more expensive to buy at first but is more economical in the long-term as it can print more pages faster.
This type of printer is usually used in large workplaces where printing has to be done frequently and with speed. They are used when the priority is not producing high-quality images but large volumes of, usually, text-heavy documents.
Well, how does a laser printer work?
Essentially, a heated wire will positively charge a drum unit, which will melt the toner powder, and is then passed over by a laser that also reverses the charge where the toner is meant to hit. The areas that now have negative charges are the ones where text or image will be printed.
The main strength of laser printers is that they can print much faster than inkjets. They usually can produce sharper and blacker texts, including thin lines and small fonts, making it the better choice if you want to print more texts than images. Laser printers are also better for completing high-volume printing jobs.
However, these printers need to be warmed up before using and can’t print on as many varieties of surfaces as inkjets can. While simple images should turn out fine, they cannot produce smooth and full-colored photos as well.
You should also be wary of toner leaks, which may ruin your stacks of clean paper and render them useless. They are also more expensive upfront, heavier and more bulky to set up.
So, what’s the verdict? I think you should get the cheaper inkjet printer if you are looking to print small amounts of documents and colored photos on a regular basis.
But if you need to print large volumes of documents frequently and are fine with medium-quality images, then you should get a laser printer.