Advantages & Disadvantages of Inkjet Printers

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Inkjet printers shoot thousands of tiny droplets of ink onto paper, creating images and text. The ink the printer uses comes in ink cartridges, which are hard, plastic containers that a user can replace when empty. The cost of replacing an ink cartridge varies with the model of the inkjet printer.

Before purchasing a new printer, research the advantages and disadvantages of all the available printing technologies that fit into your budget.

Advantage: Good for Small Offices

Inkjet printers typically are smaller than laser jet printers, so they can save you valuable space. Laser printers, on the other hand, are often bulky. Also, inkjet printers usually have quieter operation than laser printers, which tend to be noisy. In a small office, both of these inkjet features are distinct advantages.

Advantage: Less Expensive Than Laser Printers

Inkjet printers are often cheaper than laser printers. If you need nothing more than a basic printer that can accomplish common printing tasks at a reasonable level of quality, an inkjet printer is likely the best choice.

Advantage: High-Quality Photos

High-end inkjet printers produce high-quality photos that border on professional photofinishing, according to It recommends that serious photography hobbyists purchase a letter-sized inkjet for best image-quality results. Those who not only want good photo printouts, but also need the printer for home-office work should purchase a multi-function inkjet printer.

Disadvantage: Expensive Ink Cartridges

Some inkjet printers use ink cartridges that are expensive to replace. If you print a lot, the cost of these cartridges adds up. One alternative is to refill the cartridge yourself. Another is to purchase a refurbished ink cartridge from a computer-supplies store. But be aware that inkjet manufacturers often warn consumers that using either of these two alternatives will void your warranty or damage your printer.

Disadvantage: Clogged Cartridges

Sometimes inkjet cartridges get clogged or dirty, which either blocks the ink droplets or causes them to land incorrectly. To fix this, you must initiate a lengthy self-cleaning process, which uses up valuable ink. Laser jet printers do not have this problem.

Disadvantage: Smears

You can't use all types of paper with an inkjet. With the wrong type of paper, the printed ink may smear and get all over your hands or clothes. Also, certain types of printouts, such as colour images, may take a long time to dry. Finally, moisture may cause printed ink to smudge.