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Which Type of Printer to Buy: Laser or Inkjet?

Laser vs. Inkjet Printer
Laser vs. Inkjet Printer

Businesses and individuals often wonder what type of printer will best suit their needs. Both laser and inkjet printers have decreased in price over the years and both perform quality printing. However, there are pros and cons associated with each type of printer. By learning about both these types of printers, you can choose one that meets your particular needs.


When it comes to your budget, you'll be glad to know that basic models of inkjet and laser printers run roughly the same. In most cases, you'll need to rely on other criteria besides cost to make your selection. According to current prices, consumers can purchase a basic laser printer for "around $130" (1) and a basic inkjet for about $60. While laser printers have typically run slightly more than inkjets, a consumer is likely to find a special that makes the pricing completely comparable.

Of course, consumers will also need to worry about the ongoing costs associated with their printer of choice. When printing with black ink, a laser printer will run about $.06 per paper and an inkjet printer will run about $.08 per paper. When it comes to ink and paper, therefore, the two types run about the same. However, large laser printers may need an additional fuser cartridge so these may prove more costly in the long run.

Consumers should also keep in mind that using the right toner and cartridges for their associated printer is essential for saving money. Use a chart (2) to match your printer with the supplies it needs to work effectively.

Quality and Speed

If you print small fonts on a regular basis, you should opt for a laser printer. Lasers print small fonts with extremely good clarity and quality. For larger fonts--size 12 and above, an inkjet and laser will produce comparable quality. When it comes to speed, however, a laser printer will definitely outshine an inkjet printer. If speed is not an issue, you'll to use other criteria to make your decision.

Color Printing

If you do a lot of color printing and depend on excellent quality, you'll probably want to opt for an inkjet printer. A laser printer does not boast the same quality that an inkjet can deliver when it comes to color inks. Inkjets are better at delineating subtle color changes than lasers.

Printer Size

If you are looking for a compact model and require your printer to fit into a small space, an inkjet printer is generally the way to go. Laser printers are often bulkier. If size isn't an issue, either an inkjet or laser will suffice.

It also helps to read reviews for specific brands and models when you're trying to choose a printer. If you still can't decide, you can visit your office supply store to check the printers in person and view their associated printing samples. Once you determine your printing needs, you'll be able to choose a printer that's right for you.


1. Good Gear Guide, "Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?"

2. TROY Group,

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