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Inkjet printers vs Laser printers: Which one should you buy?

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  • 5 min read

Printers are an excellent tool for productivity they help you bring your digital data onto a sheet of paper. Depending on who you ask and for what purpose it serves, people would recommend one of two types of printer Laser or an inkjet.

Inkjets and laser printers were developed and popularised in the ’80s and are at each other’s toes for a long time. Inkjets were initially considered to be slow and of lesser quality in regards to their sharpness compared to laser printers.

But times have changed as inkjets have caught up to laser printers and even overshadowing them in some aspects. In this article, we’ll discuss how are they different from each other and which one should you buy.

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Which is better?

Before we begin, you need to understand that both of these types of printers have their strengths and weaknesses. Inkjet works well for printing pictures while laser printers are faster so you will need to think about their actual intended purpose so that you could make an educated choice on a printer that is right for you.

How do they work?

Inkjet printers spray minute droplets of ink through a little nozzle. Its movement is controlled by a printhead that actuates the movement precisely while a set of rollers pull the paper from the loading tray in a uniform speed set by the manufacturer to assure that a steady and smooth image is printed.

On the contrary, laser printers have a photosensitive drum unit that burns in toner powder on to a statically charged paper. The inked paper then passes through two hot rollers known as the fuser unit and gets delivered on the other side. literally, like the famous phrase “hot off the press.”

Pros of inkjet printers

  •  Inkjets are cheaper to buy and run
  • They are known to do a better job at blending colours more naturally than laser printers making them better for printing photos and other colour-intensive prints
  • They can print on a broader range of papers, stationery to even some fabric
  • Unlike laser printers, inkjet printers do not require time to warm up
  • Inkjet cartridges can also be refilled making them cheaper and eco-friendly than toners
  • Inkjet printers are smaller and less complex than laser printers making them easy to move around and maintain

Cons of inkjet printers

  • Inkjet ink is water based making them suspectable to water damage and fading
  • Ink cartridges need frequent cleaning this wastes ink
  • Even though they have gotten faster, Inkjets are still slower than laser printers, and when you are printing in large volumes, this becomes a hassle
  • If not appropriately maintained Inkjet printers tend to produce grainy and even fuzzy text while printing
  • Inkjet often has paper loading trays which are smaller, and they are also known to get stuck too. This could be an issue if you print a lot of stuff

Inkjet printers vs Laser printers: Which one should you buy?

Laser printers, on the other hand, are more sophisticated but they do come with their flaws.

Pros of laser printers

  • Laser printers are faster than Inkjet though by a small margin it is still noticeable and will be a boon if you print larger volumes
  • These printers are known to produce sharp and darker text due to their process
  • Laser printers are well equipped to manage high volume printing
  • If you’re going to be exclusively printing text documents, laser printers can be a cheaper alternative to inkjets
  • It maintains better NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) levels compared to inkjet printers

Cons of laser printers

  • Unlike inkjet printers, laser printers take time to warm up before they reach their operational speed
  • Toner leaks are a significant issue that laser printer owners face from time to time
  • They are considered to be a bit more complicated than inkjet printers to work on if you ever face any mechanical issues
  • Laser printers are known to be on the expensive side from buying to maintenance
  • Generally, they are fragile, bulky, and complicated to store and move around

Summing it up

Inkjet and Laser printers have come a long way since their inception in the 1980s. They both have their pros and cons. But in general, if your primary usage is high volume text printing and if you are willing to spend the little extra laser printers are fast and efficient and will suit your printing needs better. But inkjets, on the other hand, is no slouch as it’s cheaper and produces better colours over various printable materials and so has its own merits. It all boils down to what you are looking for in your printer.

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Mani Maaran

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