Inkjet vs. Laser Printers: Which is Right for You?


If you’re in the market for a new printer, you may be wondering: inkjet vs. laser — what’s the difference, and which is right for you?

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We all know the printer is an essential of any productive home office setup, but when it comes to choosing between the two printer types, the choice truly depends on your needs. I know, that isn’t the easiest answer to the inkjet vs. laser printer debate, but the real victory lies in purchasing the printer that works best for you. Here’s how it breaks down.

Inkjet Printers

I’ll be truthful. In the past, I may have said some unkind things about inkjet printers. But they have a lot to offer, depending on your printing needs. Here is where the inkjet shines:

  • Photo printing. Inkjets are just plain better than laser printers at blending colors, which means photos will look better coming out of an inkjet printer. In fact, there are dedicated photo inkjet printers on the market for just this purpose. So if your printing needs involves a lot of photography, an inkjet model may be the stronger choice for you.
  • Initial Speed. Inkjets usually start printing right away, as compared to laser printers, which can take several minutes to warm up. I love my Brother laser printer, but “quickly printing off a document” is more of an ironic joke than something that actually happens. (However, once laser printers get going, they print much faster than inkjets.)
  • Paper. Overall, inkjets are more tolerant of different paper types than laser printers. An inkjet can take glossy photo paper, envelopes, or other paper types that may promptly jam up laser printers. This is one feature I miss, no longer having an inkjet.
  • Economy, both in up-front price and size. Inkjet printers cost less than laser printers initially, and they also take up a lot less real estate on your desk. But there’s a trade-off for the lower cost…
  • Ink. We’ve all heard that printer ink is obscenely expensive, and it is. In fact, that’s why inkjet printers are so inexpensive. Most printer companies are giving away the printer and selling the ink. In some cases, it might seem cheaper to buy a new printer than replace all the ink cartridges. (However, that’s environmentally irresponsible and I beg you not to do it.)

The good news is, you can refill and reuse inkjet cartridges for a fraction of the cost, either yourself or at a shop. It takes a little more time and effort, but it can really pay off in the end.

Laser Printers

Now for the competition: the mighty laser printer. The laser printer is my personal weapon of choice in the printing wars, but I will be the first to admit that laser printers have their shortcomings. For me, the biggest drawback is the size. Though they are getting smaller with time, laser printers take up a lot more space on your desk. Some days, I’d give a lot for the tiny profile offered by the typical modern inkjet. Nevertheless, there are some great things to love about the laser printer:

    • Volume. If you need to print a lot of pages of text, laser printers are the faster, more economical choice. The more you print, the cheaper a laser printer becomes over time. They also print faster when it comes to a high volume of pages.
    • Text. For office documents and other print jobs that are mostly text, laser printers are the powerhouse choice. While inkjets do a better job of blending colors, laser printers excel at producing crisp, clear text at high volume.
    • Price. Here’s where things get tricky. Laser printers can be more expensive upfront than inkjets (depending on the model). But in the long run, the toner vs. ink debate is no contest: toner cartridges are cheaper to replace than inkjet cartridges. You’ll also be replacing your toner cartridges a lot less often. If you’re comparing inkjet vs. laser printers based on hard numbers, laser printers generally cost about six cents per page printed, while inkjets cost about twenty.

I chose a laser printer because it fit my needs: printing out huge amounts of text on the cheap. Before you choose your own winner for the inkjet vs. laser printer debate, think about how you’ll use it most, and go from there.

So, are you ready to make an informed decision on the printer of your dreams? Well, OK, maybe you don’t dream about printers, but if you want to save money on the printer that’s best for you, BLINQ has you covered with some amazing deals on printers, scanners, cartridges and more to get you started.

Do you have strong feelings on the inkjet vs. laser printer debate? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

Author: Daniel

Daniel lives by his wits in the remotest wilds of Montana. (Actually, he lives in a cozy downtown apartment with his wife and two cats.) When he's not shopping for deals he enjoys reading, writing, blogging, documentaries and frequent walks.

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