Inkjet Printers vs Laser Printers for Home Offices
March 17, 2022 | NECS
If you go to any printer buying guide, the first step you’ll see is “Inkjet printers vs Laser printers.” This is usually followed by a brief blurb of the two, with a recommendation that you do your research and find the best one for you.
With the increased volume of employees working from home, many are looking to purchase a new printer for their home offices. To make such an important decision, they turn to trusted sources and buying guides to teach them what to do. These are great at walking people step-by-step through the buying process, but that first question can lead you down a rabbit-hole of confusion.
You might end up backtracking as you continue to read on in the printer buying guide, because your first question never got answered.
“What is the real difference between inkjet and laser printers?”
That’s where we come in. We have the answers and can offer you suggestions on what printer will be best for your home office.
Define to Decide:
To find the answer to your question we need to start by defining the two printers and how they work.
• One of the most common types of printers.
• They recreate the image you’re trying to print by sending tiny droplets of ink onto paper.
• These printers are often favoured by home offices because of their inexpensiveness.
• Laser forms a pattern of electrostatically charged dots onto a light-sensitive drum, which then attracts dry ink powder (more commonly known as toner).
• The toner is applied to a piece of paper and heated to keep it in place.
• These printers are often favoured by businesses because of their speed.
Now onto the bigger question: cost.
Cost of Inkjet Printer vs Laser Printer:
Working from home is becoming increasingly common and popular. A previous blog of ours explored these changes, and how a lot of people now prefer the flexibility of hybrid working. With this shift in focus, printing needs are evolving. That means finding the best technology for your home office at the best price is essential.
Many are currently choosing the affordable inkjet for their home office. While this might seem appealing at first because of their reasonable price, the truth is that inkjets can be more costly in the long run.
The first price to consider is that of the machine itself. In this, the affordable inkjet wins out. But laser printers end up being the economical choice overall. The reason for this is the long-term cost of ink vs toner, and the number of pages you can print.
Ink for inkjet printers costs less, but ink runs out faster. With only 2,000 to 2,500 pages able to be printed before ink needs to be refilled (Digital Trends), you’ll be purchasing supplies more frequently. Inkjet users also face problems if they’re not printing enough because ink dries out. Ultimately, you could lose money on the ink you’ve already purchased before you’ve even had the chance to use it.
Another costly consideration is having to keep multiple ink cartridges on hand. For easy replacement, and to ensure continued printing without interruption, many inkjet users will keep replacement cartridges ready to swap out at a moment's notice. You could end up buying more than you need pre-emptively and waste money if the ink dries up from lack of use.
Toner for laser printers is actually the cheaper option in the end. While the upfront cost of toner is more, it lasts longer and is more cost-effective when calculating the cost per page. You’re likely to get somewhere between 3,000 to 20,000 pages with a laser printer before needing the toner replaced (Digital Trends). Another bonus is that you never have to worry about toner drying up. With users needing to replace the toner less frequently too, there’s not as much need to buy more than you’ll use.
While the cost savings are appealing, there are still other factors to consider. One of these is the quality of your prints.
Quality vs Quantity: Which Matters Most To You?
Printers come with their own specs that help users determine the quality of their print. One of these specs is print resolution, which is measured in dots per second, or what’s more commonly referred to as DPIs. The more dots there are per inch of paper, the better the resolution your photo will be.
For higher resolution prints, ideally your device should be able to manage at least 600 DPI for documents, and 1,200 DPI for good images with colour.
The higher the overall DPI of your printer, the sharper your image quality will be. A higher DPI can be of importance to users looking to print good quality images or documents for presentations. It won’t be as concerning for someone exclusively printing text documents.
For those printing photos, brochures, or documents for presentations, you’ll find that an inkjet printer is the better choice. They have a max resolution of approximately 5,000 DPI. They can also print on a variety of papers, including glossy.
Laser printers are built with text document printing in mind, meaning their DPI is lower. Newer devices can optimize the overall DPI, offering users the chance to print better resolution images. But they can’t print on paper that’s heat sensitive, limiting the variety of your prints.
If image quality isn’t top of your list, the more important print spec could be the quantity of pages.
Laser printers are built to optimize the volume of pages they can print before needing toner replacements and can hold more paper in their trays. Laser printers are the favourable option for people looking to keep multiple files handy.
Speed could be another factor, as you might need to print several documents as soon as possible.
Laser printers are by far the superior choice here, averaging anywhere from 15 to 100 pages per minute.
Due to inkjets favouring photo quality and their overall design, averaging around 16 pages per minute.
If quantity and timesaving are at the top of your list, laser printers are the better purchase. You can even opt out of buying the slightly more expensive colour option, choosing to buy the money-saving monochrome devices. This is yet another way that you can save money while maximizing the number of pages you can print.
Save Space, Save Money:
We do suggest that those buying printers for a home office think about choosing a laser printer.
Laser could be the best option for you, since these printers are faster and print higher volumes. They will save you time, space, and money. It’s true that the upfront cost is pricier, but the long-term savings that come from purchasing a laser printer can’t be beat.
The device itself will last longer too, with laser printers averaging a lifespan of 5 years.
Inkjets tend to need a replacement around the 3-year mark.
Laser printers are ultimately the economical choice. They’re also a user-friendly, timesaving and space-saving option that can be perfect for home offices. They won’t clog up your office space with potentially wasted replacement supplies, they print documents faster and at higher volumes, all the while offering users the same quality network and security features.
At the end of the day, the choice will come down to your company’s needs and the needs of its employees. Consider all the print jobs you could possibly be assigned and decide from there.
If you’re certain that images or presentation documents will be your focus, inkjet printers are perfect for you. The initial savings on the device, flexibility of paper choice, and vivid colour prints make inkjets a worthwhile competitor.
Before you decide though, let’s briefly review the advantages and disadvantages of each piece of equipment:
Advantages of Laser Printers
• Toner cartridge lasts longer
• Pristine text quality
• Faster printing speed
• Print higher volume of pages
• Toner won’t dry up
• Durable, long-lasting machines
• Built for frequent and continued use
Disadvantages of Laser
• Device’s initial price is more expensive
• Pictures might not print as vividly
• Can’t print on heat sensitive papers
• Toner cartridges cost more to replace
Advantages of Inkjet Printers
• Device’s initial price is affordable
• Perfect for occasional use
• Prints high-quality images
• Colour prints are vivid
• Can print on a variety of paper types
Disadvantages of Inkjet
• Slower print speed
• Ink cartridges run out quicker
• Ink can dry up without frequent use
• Paper trays hold less
If you’re still struggling to decide, know that NECS is always here to help customers find the right print solutions. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out today.