For the most part, choosing a printer can be a daunting task and entails balancing price, speed, and print quality. In order to choose the right printer for you, you will have to ask yourself how much you print per month, what types of documents you will need to print, what quality print you require, whether or not you need color, and if you care more about the initial cost or cost over the printer’s lifetime. The difference between inkjet printers and laser printers is day and night, but once you understand their differences and decide which type is most suitable for your needs, you are more than half-way to finding the right printer for you.
As a rule of thumb, laser printers produce crisp, speedy text documents and decent images, while inkjet printers produce top-quality, long-lasting photos and not-so-crisp text, all at an uncomfortably-slow pace.
Inkjet printers are best if printing high-quality photos are much more important that high-quality text and graphics and if speed is not an issue for you. Their major selling point is their superior color accuracy and print resolution for vivid photos, so this does add time to printing each page. They are also best if you have light printing needs and are more concerned with the cost upfront since replacing the ink cartridges can get pricey if you start to print a lot, but you can often find a good inkjet printer for under $100 or $200.
Laser printers are best if high-quality text documents are more important than high-resolution photos and that speed is essential. Laser printers major selling point is their ability to quickly print crisp documents at a very low cost per page. Color laser printers major selling point is their ability to print documents with a mix of text, graphics and photos at a fast speed, but they do run a bit more expensive because they can “do it all.” Overall, laser printers and color laser printers cost much less to maintain and operate and have a lower cost over the printer’s lifetime, but have a higher price-tag initially.
It’s worth explaining in detail the huge difference in the cost of ownership of the two types of printers. An inkjet printer costs a lot less initially but its cost per page is much higher than a laser printer’s cost per page. In fact, companies practically give away inkjet printers because the profit for most manufacturers is in the ink cartridges, or consumables as they call them. On the other hand, a laser printer costs a lot more initially, but over time its toner will cost much less per page. For example, let’s say you print 5000 pages in two months. You would have to replace the inkjet’s ink cartridges about 25 times compared with the two times you would have to replace the laser printer’s toner cartridge. The cost of the inkjet ink cartridges would almost double the cost of the laser toner cartridges. If you print a couple hundred pages per month or a thousand pages per month, laser printers are more cost effective overall.
Conclusively, if your business’ output volume is moderate to heavy, your best bet is to go with a laser printer due to the laser printer’s total cost of ownership. If you print very infrequently, whether it’s for personal use or for your small office, then an inkjet printer would be more cost effective.
At the end of the day, the types of documents you need to print may determine what printer, or printers, you select. If you’re printing mainly photos and documents for personal use, such as directions in which you don’t care about the quality, then you should get an inkjet printer. If you print a lot of text documents and are cost conscience, then a budget monochrome laser printer would be your best fit. Finally, if you print a moderate volume of text, graphics, and mixed documents, then a color laser printer would definitely best suit your needs and would be a good investment.
HP printers are great in both the inkjet printers and laser printers categories. Epson printers, Canon printers, and Kodak printers are very popular for inkjet and photo printers. Brother printers, Xerox printers, HP printers and Samsung printers are best in class for laser printers with Xerox probably the best in class for color laser printers for businesses. So figure out your printing needs and do your research and you will find the right printer for your needs at the right price.