What Is the Difference Between an Inkjet and Laser Jet Printer?

Written by jake emen
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What Is the Difference Between an Inkjet and Laser Jet Printer?
Should you use inkjets or lasers? (printer cartridge image by hugy from Fotolia.com)

One of the big differences between printers today is whether they use inkjet or laser technology. Inkjet printers are cheaper to buy, make use of individual ink cartridges to spray the page with ink and are great for home users. Laser printers are typically more expensive and use toner to etch or draw documents and images to the page.

Inkjets, Laser Jets and Lasers

An inkjet refers to any printer using individual ink cartridges to print documents by using small jets of ink. The term "Laser Jet" refers to a specific line of laser printers made by Hewlett-Packard. Laser printer is a broad classification that includes Laser Jet models. Laser printers make use of electric charges and laser "drawing" with a tone and drum system to create prints.

Benefits of Inkjets

Inkjet printers are usually less expensive than laser printers, because the technology itself is cheaper and because manufacturers look to create long-term customers by reducing upfront prices. Inkjet printers are popular for home use and use less energy than laser printers.

Disadvantages of Inkjets

While the initial cost of an inkjet printer may be lower, over the long run, costs could equal out. Replacement ink cartridges for inkjet printers are expensive and may need to be replaced frequently depending on the model used. Typically an inkjet printer is slower and the quality of the printed product is lower than that of its laser counterparts.

Benefits of Laser Printers

Laser printers are best for the office or workplace, where both quality and efficiency are important. Laser printers print more pages per minute than inkjets do. Quality is also superior with laser printers, which is important for business documents and presentations. A laser printer is also durable enough to handle the needs of a busy office without being overworked or breaking down.

Disadvantages of Laser Printers

Laser printers typically cost more than inkjet printers. While they are efficient and offer high-quality printing, most of the best photo printers on the market are actually inkjets. Inkjets often lend themselves to superior photograph and graphical printing, while lasers are typically more suited for quick document production in larger quantities.

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