Differences Between an Inkjet Printer And a Laser Printer

What Are The Differences Between an Inkjet Printer And a Laser Printer?

Only a few years ago, printers were mostly used in offices and businesses for professional needs, only to print documents and some images. However, these days, printers are used for a lot more than just printing out official documents.

Printers manufactured and sold these presently can not just print on paper, but also on vinyl, wood, plastic, adhesive paper, card stock, traditional sheet media, business cards, labels and transparencies. In short, you can do most of your printing jobs yourself at home or at work instead of going to a printer.

There are mainly two types of printers that are the most popular these days: a laser printer and an inkjet printer. These two kinds of printers are different from each other in a lot of ways, but they both deliver excellent end results.

First, we need to know what an inkjet and a laser printer is, and how they work.

What is an Inkjet Printer? 

An inkjet printer comes with several ink cartridges inside for both black-and-white and vivid color printing. The printing mechanism is completely different from any other kind of printer, with a printing head that has several nozzles at the mouth. These nozzles are known as “jets”; ink is spread on paper and other materials from these nozzles.

The standard inkjet printer comes with 300 dots per inch, or dpi. This means that these nozzles can spray up to 300 tiny droplets of ink per inch of printing material. Some of the high-end inkjet printers can also give up to 600 dots per inch, i.e. 600 dpi resolution printers.

Inkjet printers are perfect for a variety of uses in homes and offices, both for personal and professional use. They also happen to be the most popular types of printers.

What is a Laser Printer? 

A laser printer is somewhat different from an inkjet printer, in more than one way. This kind of printer works with lasers and a completely different kind of ink. Laser printers came into existence after inkjet printers and became widely popular because of their vivid printing quality and speed.

Laser Printers use a single laser and a model based on electrical charge; unlike traditional printers or inkjet printers, the ink used in laser printers are completely different.

The regular printers for heat transfer of this kind typically have a resolution of 600 dpi, or even higher. This means that the printing quality of these printers are much higher than any other printers, as well.

Difference Between an Inkjet and a Laser Printer 

There are more than just a few differences between a laser and an inkjet printer; they differ from each other in more than just some ways.

Working Mechanism 

As you’ve already read, inkjet printers use tiny little nozzles to spray droplets on ink on your printing material. These drops are miniscule, so much that an inkjet printer can actually place 300 to 600 dots per inch of space.

On the other hand, a laser printer uses a kind of powder, called “toner”, instead of liquid ink to print on materials. It has a drum unit inside the machine, which melts the toner powder and forces it on the printing material. The toner powder dries instantly to create the text or image you want on your paper, vinyl, wood or card.

Print Quality

Both inkjet and laser printers can produce excellent quality texts, images, photographs or designs on a number of materials.

Even among the two types of printers, the quality of the end result depends upon the brand, the models and the price of the printer. A 600 dpi printer will give you a better print than a printer with a 300 dpi or lower.

However, it is general knowledge among users that laser printers are better for printing out official documents, texts or black-and-white images. This is the kind of printer that’s used more in offices and businesses rather than homes or for creative work.

On the other hand, inkjet printers are most used in printing photographs, colored designs and patterns, and vivid images. An inkjet printer is used by professional photographers, artists and creative professionals to print both documents and high-resolution photographs.

Although you can print colored photographs with a laser printer, the best quality can be found with an inkjet printer; in the same way, laser printers are a much better option for printing documents and texts although you can use an inkjet printer for the same work.

Most households prefer the use of an inkjet printer for different projects, while businesses and offices prefer a laser printer.

Print Speed

The speed for both laser and inkjet printers are almost the same, but it also depends on the brand and the model. Laser printers are designed to be faster as they are mostly used in offices and workplaces.

The average laser printer can print up to 15 pages in a minute, while the more expensive, high-end ones can print up to 100 pages in the same time. The printers take longer when printing colored images and photographs than with texts, though.

Inkjet printers, too, can print up to 16 pages per minute, and this is the highest speed of these kinds of printers. Although the speed can be considered quite slow compared to the high-end laser printers, the quality of inkjet printers – particularly in case of photographs – are much higher.

Page Yield

How many pages you can print with each refill of ink or toner of course depends on your personal use. If you print out whole pages of texts and images, you’ll need to refill your cartridges more often.

Inkjet printers use ink cartridges, and each new set of cartridges can print between 135 to 1000 pages, depending on the density of the designs and images.

However, all the cartridges aren’t empty at the same time, so you might simply need to change them irregularly. With some models, you can change single cartridges of ink, and with others, you need to replace the entire set; you can refill the cartridges in some models, or completely replace them.

Laser printers use powder toner cartridges instead of ink cartridges, and they can be used to print 2,000 to 10,000 pages with each refill.

This is definitely higher than the number of pages that can be printed with an inkjet printer. However, the color toner cartridges of a laser printer are exhausted much quicker than the black toner cartridges.

Printer Cost

In general, laser printers cost more than inkjet printers. Of course, the price depends on the brand, the size and the model, but as a rule, you can find inkjet printers at a much lower price range than laser printers.

This should also be taken into consideration that the average lifespan of an inkjet printer is about 3 years, but the average lifespan of a laser printer is around 5 years.

Cartridge Cost

The price of cartridges for both laser and inkjet printers also differ, just like the prices of these printers. However, before considering the price of cartridge, it is important to understand the concept of “cost per page” of printers.

“Cost per page” refers to the amount it costs to print each page, depending on the price of the cartridges and the page yield. All factors taken into account, the “cost per page” is actually an indication of just how cost-efficient a particular printer is.

Even though a laser printer and the toner cartridges costs more than that of an inkjet printer, these cartridges last longer and give you more page yields. This ultimately means that the “cost per page” of laser printers are lower than that of inkjet printers, making the former more economical to use.

Storage Space

In general, inkjet printers are smaller and more compact than a laser printer. They are easier to store away at a shelving unit or even keep on your desk. Laser printers, on the other hand, are large and bulky machines, most suited in the copier room of an office.


There may be a number of differences between a laser printer and an inkjet printer, but they are both extremely efficient in their own ways. Used in homes or offices, they can both give you high-end printing experiences for all your professional and personal needs.

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