What’s the difference between inkjet and laser printers?

Before choosing the right office printer, it’s important to know the difference between inkjet and laser printers. Here’s our beginners guide to understanding this printing technology.

Inkjet printing is ideal for a wide range of materials including photo printing and coloured documents, because it uses a water-based ink. This comes in the form of a pigments (which is less susceptible to fading or water damage) or dyes.

Laser printers on the other hand, use toner cartridges with a fine powder and a heated fuser to bind the powder to the paper. It’s better suited for black printing and very finite details. Also worth noting that should the power in the cartridge spill, it’s less messy than inkjet ink.

Printing speed
Nothing on the consumer market today beats laser printing for black and white text pages. You can expect upwards of 20 pages per minute, compared to maybe 6 per minute with an inkjet.

Machine size
If you have a smaller office, or a home office, an inkjet printer may be a better choice because it is often a smaller unit. Laserjet printers are typically larger.

The sizes and materials you can print on an inkjet are more varied than a laserjet. Inkjets are good for printing on regular paper, textured paper, stationary, photo paper, or even some fabrics, where as lasers are best for standard paper (and definitely not heat sensitive materials).

Multi-function capability
Both technologies can be found in all-in-one machines to support all your scanning, copying, faxing, and printing needs in one unit. Most also offer networking capabilities so you can connect it to your home or office network for remote printing.

For occasional printing, inkjet offers the most affordability, and laser printers are most cost-effective for frequent use. It’s important to factor in costs to replace ink or laser cartridges as well as maintenance and repair costs. Inkjet printers need more regular cleaning to prevent too much ink build-up. You’ll often find it’s more cost effective to completely replace an inkjet printer, rather than replace single cartridges.

When choosing the technology for your office printer, knowing the difference between inkjet and laser printers can help you make an educated choice that will provide you with the best lifetime value for your use.

To discuss your options for inkjet and laser printers for your office or home office, Steelhead can help! Get in contact to find out more.