Inkjet vs. laser printer

Office Supplies

Inkjet and laser printers offer their advantages and disadvantages. Users will have to consider printing speed, image quality, price, advanced features, size and other factors when choosing the right printer for their needs.

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Are inkjet or laser printers best? 

Printers have come a long way from when they were first introduced to the market. Inkjet and laser printers remain the two most popular types of printers for home or office use. They both offer their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Generally, laser printers are quieter and can print faster compared to most inkjet printers. The inkjet printers have a lower upfront cost and are more compact in design. Even with the higher upfront costs, laser printers can be more economical when printing a large volume of pages.

Inkjet printers

Inkjet printers can be used for a variety of printing applications including documents and photos. They work by firing a tiny amount of ink through a nozzle onto the paper as it feeds through the carriage. Inkjet printers that offer colored printing use different inks to fire on the same spot. Different types of paper can be used with inkjet printers including vinyl and plastic. 

Some inkjet models come with other functions such as scanning and copying functions. There is a range of connectivity options with inkjet printers as they can be used with computers, smartphones or tablets. Some models also have slots for a USB or SD card. Some high-end models can also be connected via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for wireless printing.

The most affordable inkjet printers are available for as low as $30, but a decent quality model is going to cost $50-$100. If you want to print in bulk, want faster printing speed, or get an all-in-one printer you can expect to spend around $200. 

Inkjet printer pros

  • Inkjet printers can offer better quality for printing art, graphics or photos as the wet ink of inkjet printers produces more vibrant colors compared to laser printing. The better quality is more evident in oversized printing. 

  • For users on a limited budget, inkjet printers are significantly cheaper than laser printers.

  • The compact size makes them ideal for use in small offices, dorm rooms or studios.

Inkjet printer cons

  • If an inkjet printer is not used regularly, the ink cartridges can dry up.

  • For printing a large volume of pages, inkjet printers can end up being more expensive than laser printers.

Best inkjet printers

HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 All-in-One Wireless Printer

HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 All-in-One Wireless Printer

For a high-end inkjet printer that offers multiple functions, the OfficeJet Pro 9015 by HP is one of the best products on the market. It prints at an impressive 22 pages per minute. Some of the other features include wireless printing, a scan-to-email feature, scanning and copying functions and automatic document feeding.

Sold by HP 

Canon C3260 All-in-One Printer

Canon C3260 All-in-One Printer

For an affordable all-in-one inkjet printer that offers crisp printing quality, you can choose the Canon C3260. One of the unique features offered by this printer is the refillable ink technology, which can significantly reduce printing costs. This printer works with Apple AirPrint and Wi-Fi. It can also be connected with a smartphone or tablet using Canon’s printing app.

Sold by Amazon

Laser printers

In laser printers, there is an electrically charged laser beam that runs side to side over a drum, picking up toner (ink in powder form), and depositing it in the form of printed image or text on paper. To ensure the ink stays on the paper, the paper is passed through heated rollers. This laser technology allows for precise and sharp printing.

Laser printers are ideal for small offices or commercial use as they can print large volumes of pages at speed. Users who need to print large volumes of pages at home will also appreciate the efficiency of laser printers. You can expect a laser printer to easily print around 30 pages per minute. For colored pages, the speed might be slightly slower.

You will find similar advanced features on a laser printer as inkjet printers such as scanning, copying, wireless connectivity, automatic paper feeding and slots for USB and SD cards. You can print on a variety of papers just like inkjet printers. For a budget laser printer, you can expect to pay at least $100, however, for a good-quality laser printer with multiple features you are going to have to spend around $300-$400. 

Laser printer pros

  • For printing large volumes, the cost per page with laser printers is going to be cheaper than inkjet printers.

  • The toner won’t dry or become unusable even if the printer is not used for long periods.

  • The faster speed of laser printers allows them to be more efficient than inkjet printers.

Laser printer cons

  • The sharp and fine detail produced by laser printers can be a disadvantage when printing oversized images as the images can appear grainy.

  • The higher upfront cost of laser printers might be an issue for users with a limited budget.

  • The larger size of laser printers means they will take more desk space.   

Best laser printers

HP 1202w Neverstop All-in-One

HP 1202w Neverstop All-in-One

The 1202w Neverstop laser printer by HP is loaded with features. It comes with a scanner, copier, refillable toner, and it easily connects with the HP smartphone app, Google Cloud Print and Apple AirPrint. This printer is ideally used for printing a large volume of documents. It does not offer color printing.

Sold by HP

Xerox Phaser 6510/DN

Xerox Phaser 6510/DN

With a printing speed of over 30 pages per minute, the Phaser 6510/DN by Xerox offers great value for money with its affordable price. This printer features Ethernet connectivity, built-in security features, and a large 250-page paper tray.

Sold by Amazon

Should you get an inkjet or laser printer?

If you need a printer for occasional use and don’t need to print in bulk, an inkjet printer is a practical and affordable choice. If you need efficiency and speed to print a large volume of pages, you will need a laser printer. Laser printers are going to be slightly more expensive but if you print in bulk, it will end up being more economical than using inkjet printers.


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Ali Azhar writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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