14 Difference Between Inkjet Printers And Laser Printers

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What Are Inkjet Printers?

Inkjet printers are a category of printer in which printing is done with the help of inkjet technology. The technology works by spraying very fine drops of ink on a sheet of paper. These droplets are ‘’ionized’’ and this allows them to be directed by magnetic plates in the ink’s path. As the paper is fed through the printer, the print head moves back and forth, spraying thousands of these small droplets on the page.

An inkjet printer consists of a print head, ink cartridges, paper feed assembly, belt and stabilizer bar. Inkjet printers are the most commonly used type of printer and range from small inexpensive consumer models to expensive professional machines. Inkjet printers are capable of creating high-quality images and high-resolution photos with vivid colors. A typical ink-jet printer provides a resolution of 300 dots per inch, although some newer models offer higher resolutions. They can work with most types of papers, although they work best with high quality papers.

What You Need To Know About Inkjet Printers

  • Inkjet printers are machines that spray microscopic droplets of ink onto paper.
  • An inkjet printers’ technology is somehow straightforward where in ink is dispensed accordingly, as the cartridge moves across the page.
  • They are ideal for photos and documents with heavy-images as well as everyday text documents.
  • Inkjet uses two types of ink: pigment or dye ink. Pigment ink is less susceptible to fading or water damage.
  • Inkjet printers come in different sizes including smaller sizes that are ideal for home use.
  • Inkjet can print onto different types of paper, including textured stationary, envelopes, glossy photo paper and even some types of fabric.
  • Ideal for color printing. Most photo printers use inkjet technology to print images on special matte or glossy paper.
  • Inkjet printers print comparatively slower to laser printers.
  • Inkjet printers almost always make prints with better resolution and color reproduction than laser printers.
  • Ink cartridges are expensive to use and often have to be replaced.
  • Printer ink isn’t waterproof and the paper can feel wet if you print in color. Also, ink can dry up and the nozzles can become clogged.
  • An inkjet printer is cheaper in buying price when compared to a laser printer.
  • Inkjet printers are suitable for low volume printing.

What Are Laser Printers?

A laser printer is a printer that uses a focused beam or light to transfer text and images onto paper. In a laser print operation, a laser beam fires on a mechanical cylinder known as photoreceptor and this result in a pattern on the photoreceptor that gets coated with toner from a toner cartridge. The toner is black in most cartridges but may be cyan, magenta and yellow in color laser printers. Because of electrical charges, the toner sticks to the paper in patterns that are dictated by the software used to print. Finally, the paper is heated in order to fuse the toner to the paper. The result is a clean copy of the image written on the paper. Graphics sometimes don’t turn out quite as sharp, but they still are bright enough for a professional look in many situations. Given that laser printers do not use ink, they have less image smearing problems than inkjet printers and are able to print pages faster.

Laser printers produce very high quality print and are capable of printing an almost unlimited variety of fonts. Because laser printers are nonimpact printers, they are much quieter than dot-matrix or daisy-wheel printers. They are also relatively fast, although not as fast as some dot-matrix printers. The speed of laser printers ranges from about 4 to 20 pages of text per minutes (ppm). A typical rate of 6 ppm is equivalent to about 40 characters per second (cps). 

What You Need To Know About Laser Printers

  • Laser printer is a type of personal computer that uses a non-impact mechanism i.e keys do not strike the paper. The machine melts toner powder onto paper to create a print.
  • A laser printer uses an electrical charge to instruct where and when the toner should dispense onto the paper.
  • Ideal for documents with mainly text, especially with small fonts and fine lines.
  • Laser printers use toner cartridges that are filled with fine powder. The toner (powder) does not dry up even if you don’t use it for a long time. The powder is also not as messy as ink should it spill.
  • Laser printers are typically larger-often too large for in-home use, unless they are single-function or compact printers, which are roughly the same size as large inkjet printer.
  • Laser printers cannot handle as a wide range of printing materials as inkjet printers; they cannot print on heat-sensitive materials.
  • Ideal for printing in black and white. Laser printers are better at printing small fonts and spreadsheets.  Whereas they can also deliver crisp images (such as color graphs, charts and other graphics), laser printers don’t work well with the special paper used for photographs.
  • Laser printers print a lot faster than inkjet printers.
  • Laser printers make prints with poor resolution and color reproduction when compared to inkjet printers.
  • Toner cartridge prints are more affordable than ink because toner cartridges last longer than ink cartridges. 
  • The prints from a laser printer are both waterproof and dry, and the toner in the cartridge never dries up.
  • It’s more expensive to buy an average laser printer.
  • Laser printers are suitable for high volume printing.

Also Read: Difference Between Impact And Non-impact Printers

Difference Between Inkjet Printers And Laser Printers In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON INKJET PRINTERS LASER PRINTERS  
Description Inkjet printers are machines that spray microscopic droplets of ink onto paper. Laser printers are machines that melt toner powder onto paper to create a print.
Underlying Technology An inkjet printers’ technology is somehow straightforward where in ink is dispensed accordingly, as the cartridge moves across the page.   A laser printer uses an electrical charge to instruct where and when the toner should dispense onto the paper.  
Suitability They are ideal for photos and documents with heavy-images as well as everyday text documents.   Ideal for documents with mainly text, especially with small fonts and fine lines.  
Ink Inkjet uses two types of ink: pigment or dye ink. Laser printers use toner cartridges that are filled with fine powder.
Size Inkjet printers come in different sizes including smaller sizes that are ideal for home use.   Laser printers are typically larger-often too large for in-home use
Printing Materials Inkjet can print onto different types of paper, including textured stationary, envelopes, glossy photo paper and even some types of fabric.   Laser printers cannot handle as a wide range of printing materials as inkjet printers.
Appropriate Use Ideal for color printing. Most photo printers use inkjet technology to print images on special matte or glossy paper.   Ideal for printing in black and white. Laser printers are better at printing small fonts and spreadsheets. 
Printing Speed Inkjet printers print comparatively slower to laser printers.   Laser printers print a lot faster than inkjet printers.  
Resolution Inkjet printers almost always make prints with better resolution and color reproduction than laser printers.   Laser printers make prints with poor resolution and color reproduction when compared to inkjet printers.  
Prints Printer ink isn’t waterproof and the paper can feel wet if you print in color. Also, ink can dry up and the nozzles can become clogged.   The prints from a laser printer are both waterproof and dry, and the toner in the cartridge never dries up.  
Cost An inkjet printer is cheaper in buying price when compared to a laser printer.   It’s more expensive to buy an average laser printer.  
Suitability Inkjet printers are suitable for low volume printing.   Laser printers are suitable for high volume printing.  

Advantages & Disadvantages Of Laser Printers

Advantages

  • Laser printers are noiseless
  • They are user-friendly
  • Their printing speed is high
  • They are highly optimized and efficient
  • Good for high volume printing.

Disadvantages

  • Laser printers are costly
  • Given that they are nonimpact printers, they cannot perform double printing simultaneously.
  • They are dangerous to environment since they generate ozone.
  • They are relatively large and therefore require large space.

Advantages & Disadvantages Of Inkjet Printers

Advantages

  • Low maintenance costs.
  • High quality output, they are capable of printing fine and smooth details.
  • They are reasonably fast.
  • An inkjet printer is cheaper in buying price when compared to a laser printer.

Disadvantages

  • Print head is less durable and prone to clogging and damage.
  • Not good for high volume printing.
  • Replacement of ink cartridges is expensive.
  • Printing speed is not as faster as laser printers.
  • There is problem of ink bleeding, ink carried side-ways sometimes causes blurred effect on some papers.
  • You cannot use highlighter marker on inkjet printouts.
  • Aqueous ink is sensitive to water; even a small drop of water can cause blurring.