Printers are one of those things that we all have, but don’t know much about. What exactly is the difference between inkjet and laser? And which one is most suitable for my needs?
Let’s make sure we are not wasting money this year and get the best printing results possible with this printer buying guide!
Image by TAKA @ P. P. R. S
Inkjet printers are one of the two powerhouses of home printing (we’ll get to the other one shortly). And they work by applying a controlled stream of ink droplets from one or perhaps more ink cartridges.
Inkjet printers are good if you to want to produce crisp and colourful images, but don’t need the professional finish. Let’s just say, you wouldn’t really want to print off your holiday snaps off with a common a garden inkjet!
On the down side, the cartridges that are used in these printers are not cheap and the paper too can be expensive. What’s more, the speed of printing is not so impressive …
Who: Inkjet printers are perfect for home users, students and those who run small businesses. You can produce high quality images or graphs intermittently and you won’t have to pay over the hilt!
Image by Sir Adavis
Laser printing is the second major player in the printing world and, instead of using ink cartridges it runs off toner. Laser printers use a drum, which attracts toner onto paper, where it is fused using a heated roller making up the required text.
Laser printers are faster and quieter than inkjet printers and over time the cost of using toner will be significantly cheaper per page than that of an inkjet. However, laser printers are typically more expensive than inkjets and don’t handle graphics and images quite as well. Colour laser printers, although coming down in price, are still pretty darn expensive too!
Who: Laser printers are ideal for businesses that need to print a high volume of documents and reports, which include simple graphics.
Cost: Black and White (aka Monochrome) range from £100-£300; Colour Laser Printers tend to range from £400+
Image by Matt Holland
The Inkjet Printers mentioned above tend to use four basic ink colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK), although a Photo/Snapshot Printer throws a few more colours into the mix. These printers work in a similar way to Inkjets, although they use dye sublimation that transfers colour dye from a ribbon onto paper.
The ink is, as you would expect, slightly more expensive than traditional inkjet ink and the paper isn’t cheap either. That said – the quality of prints are close to what you might get from a professional and you can usually print in photo-size (which is typically 4’’ x 6’’).
Who: If you are interested in producing high quality prints then this is the best printer for you. Although keeping your old cheap printer on hand may come in handy, as if you’re not using this printer for HQ prints, it can provide to be a waste of money!
Cost: At least £200
Image by All Tops
Multifunction Printers (MFPs) are sometimes termed All-In-One’s (AIOs). So it’s unsurprising to learn they do more than just print! These printers tend to double up as scanners, photocopiers and faxes, which make them the ideal candidate for small businesses or home offices.
You can choose whether to go for an inkjet MFP or a laser MFP, although it’s important to remember the advantages of each (see above).
Who: Home offices where you need to do more than just print and for most small to medium size businesses. Do you operate a small business? Then, due to its speed, a laser MFP is probably the choice for you.
Cost: Inkjets range from £100+; Lasers from £200+
About the Author: Elise is a freelance writer who loves nothing more than writing about the social media. She also loves to get involved in interior design during her free time. Here she writes for Printer Basics.