Ink or laser? This is a question that will inevitably pop up in your mind when you’re out to buy a printer. It all comes down to: what do you need the printer for? Do you need it for occasional printing or everyday use? Will you be using the printer for modest amounts or large volumes? Would you be printing coloured images or primarily text-based documents?
Keep a note of the answers before you read our list of pros and cons!
Technology: Inkjet printers use technology where droplets of ink are sprayed directly onto the paper.
- Inkjets are favourites when it comes to printing photos or image-heavy documents for they are known to produce rich images in vivid colours.
- Low startup costs – Inkjets are cheaper than laser printers upfront. Although ink cartridges get over quicker than laser toners, they’re extremely cheap to replace.
- Starts real quick with no warm-up time.
- Inkjets are smaller and more compact than laser printers, making them easier to maintain – ideal for home usage.
- If you print on a very frequent basis, an Inkjet is not a good option for a single ink cartridge will give you only a couple of hundred pages. You will find yourself refilling the ink very soon.
- There is a risk of ink smearing/fading for Inkjet ink is primarily water-based.
- Such kind of printers can’t compare with the speed of a laser beam, so high-volume printing is certainly not an Inkjet’s best friend.
Technology: Static electricity is employed to pass a laser beam back and forth over a negatively charged drum to print.
- Laser printers are super fast! A home laser printer can give you up to 40 pages per minute whereas commercial ones can give up to 100 pages. Ideal for bulk printing purposes.
- Laser toners could be more expensive than ink cartridges but you are at an advantage of an overall lower cost per page. Laser printers produce volumes that are as large as 2000 pages per toner.
- Expect superior sharp black text.
- Smudges are rare for toners are dry to begin with.
- Costlier upfront with laser toners more than double the price of ink cartridges.
- Although they’re very fast, these printers are known to take considerable warm-up time.
- Photo quality does not match up to an Inkjet especially when there is a wide spectrum of colours involved.
- They take up a lot more space when compared to their Inkjet counterparts.
What is best for you?
Now that you know the pros and cons, let’s cut to the chase: what is ideal for you? Well, if you’re looking for a home printer for low-volume printing, we suggest you go for an Inkjet. Inkjets are also your best friend if professional high-res photos is what you’re after. But if you’re going to be printing in large quantities frequently and can make peace with medium-quality images, a laser printer is your best bet.