We all have many expectations from a printer; we expect speed, top color quality, economical performance, volume printing, easy-to-use interface, pleasing aesthetics, wireless connectivity, the ability to print from mobile devices, and much more. Without a doubt, a printer is a true workhorse, which is why choosing the right one is essential.
Much like buying a house or a family car, there is so much to think about when making your investment that it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start. To make things a little easier, here is a quick guide on what to consider when deciding on whether to get an inkjet or laser printer.
Before we delve into each individual printer type, here is a general checklist for you to use as a guide when browsing the shelves (virtually or in-store, depending on how you prefer to do your shopping) for your next big purchase:
- Work load
- Cost of ownership
- Media support
- Print Resolution
Inkjet printers typically come with the capability to print reliably in both black and white and color. Perfect for low to moderate or individual use, inkjet printers generally offer good value for money, as well as a steady output and a solid shelf life.
Before deciding on buying your printer, you should first ask yourself: “what do I need this for?” If you are a student or you run a small business from home, and you think you will need to print in color, even around 30% of the time, an inkjet printer may be the most suitable choice as it will offer high quality photographic prints. Also, if you’re operating from a small office, bedroom, or small desktop space and you need to economize, there’s a good selection of multi-function printers that will allow you to do all of your scanning, copying, and printing in one place.
Sidenote: Not all inkjet printers do double-sided printing so if this is a feature you need to have, make sure you double-check the printer specs before buying.
One of the downsides to an inkjet printer is the ongoing cost of ink cartridges—not to mention the unreliable lifetime of each cartridge. Consumerreports.org illustrates this fact with this interesting infographic.
These ink cartridges can make your printer very expensive to run and sometimes, they can cause blockages. When choosing an inkjet printer, it always pays to pick a few preferred makes or models, and then compare the price, quality and reliability of their cartridges before committing to handing over any dough.
If you are looking to print in color or produce photographic images, you won’t quite get the quality you need from a laser printer. According to an article from PCMag.com, although laser technology is getting better at printing photos, it is still very much behind inkjets in terms of photo quality. However, if you’re looking for crisp, clean, top notch text on an almost industrial level, then a laser printer is the one for you.
Color laser printers do exist, but they are more expensive than inkjets, so it’s always worth keeping that in mind when you’re shopping around. If you’re looking to print out a few essays or basic documents from time to time, plus print out a few lovely looking holiday snaps, a laser printer may be a waste of time—and money.
For use on a slightly larger scale, like in an office environment, and for regular text printing, laser printers generally offer superior functionality for networking, as well as faster printing speeds. If your job involves printing a colossal amount of written documents, or you’re buying a batch of printers for a busy office set-up, laser printers will offer the best reliability and output.
Another definite pro of the laser printer is that, due to cheaper consumables, it costs less than an inkjet printer to run. But beware; some laser printers can be quite faulty due to the failure of their LEDs, so it’s always worth doing your comparison homework before making your final choice.
We hope this has helped you get one step closer to choosing your dream printer. Remember: don’t be hasty, take your time, go through our checklist.
Disclaimer: The images on this page are not owned by InkCartridges.com and are used solely to illustrate concepts discussed in the article. Please click on the images to see their original sources.