The Difference Between Inkjet, Laser, and Digital Printers – Explained

office multifunction printer

Sharing documents through digital clouds and mobile applications might be the latest technology trend, yet many offices still rely on a good, old-fashioned printing to share work and get things done. When looking to purchase a printer, making the right decision for your office can be tricky. With so many different makes and models available on the market, how do you choose between an inkjet, laser, or digital printer?

Digital Printer

A digital printer is an all-encompassing umbrella term for both laser and inkjet printers. Essentially, as long as the printer has digital capabilities, for example, it can receive documents wirelessly or print from a cloud – we can call it a digital printer.

Digital printers have a major advantage over wired printers due to their ‘print from anywhere’ capabilities. With a digital printer, you don’t have to attach your computer via a wire or cable meaning that documents are easier to print and access.

Laser Printer

Laser printers work by using a light beam, drum, and toner to print the document. This is a really quick method of printing compared to inkjet printers and this method of production means that laser printers are able to handle high print volumes with ease.

A major benefit of a laser printer is its ability to produce the perfect copy. The laser element allows for precision and black text often prints looking incredibly sharp and neat. However, the initial purchase cost of a laser printer is generally higher than an inkjet printer. Laser printers are also unable to print on a variety of paper types, due in part to the heating process that happens when a laser printer is in use.

Bulky and large, laser printers will look out of place in a small or home office. Ideally suited to medium to large style businesses, laser printers can be a worthy investment if you’re able to afford the initial cost.

Inkjet Printer

Inkjet is a type of printer that takes a traditional ink cartridge. These cartridges simply squirt ink onto the paper and produce your document. Inkjet printers usually contain black, cyan, magenta, and yellow ink. These sub-primary ink colours then combine to make a myriad of colours when you print.

Ink cartridges are priced at around $20 per colour and for the amount of ink you actually get, this works out to be $3 per millimeter. As Wired Magazine put it, you might as well be printing with Dom Perignon.

Inkjet printers can work very well for photos and documents that are image-heavy. Generally, they’re lighter and smaller than digital or laser printers, making them ideal for homes or small offices.

Once a staple in every workplace, inkjet printers have quickly become outdated with the introduction of digital and laser printers. However, for businesses with minimal funds, initial purchase costs can be lower than a laser or digital printer.

Before diving in and making a purchase, think carefully about what you’ll be using your printer for. Are you going to be printing a high volume of documents? Does your business need a printer that can handle large quantities of graphics? Or do you need a general, office use style printer? Framing these thoughts should help you recognize what type of printer you should be looking at and make your purchasing journey a lot easier.

Steelhead can help you make the right choice when it comes to purchasing or leasing an office printer. Trust our 40 years of experience and get in contact to see how we can help you today.