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Printing. Inkjet vs. Laser

We are here to answer a rather common question among home printer buyers. What is the best kind of printer to purchase for your home, or more specifically, which kind of printer will yield the best value? To answer this question, we need to understand the differences between the two as well as common qualities and pros/cons of each. Inkjet printers use… well, ink. Applied as tiny jets from nozzles onto a substrate… inkjet. It’s a simple explanation, because it’s a simple principal. While it may be a simple principal, the tiny mechanisms inside is far from it and is quite an amazing machine. We think nothing of it. An inkjet printer has unmatched high-resolution photograph printing, a relatively low initial price point, and is amazingly mobile for its internal complexity. But let’s go over each one of these benefits a little more closely. As far as its graphical printing abilities, typically, it has no competition. An inkjet printer will reveal a much higher quality, high-resolution, and more accurate color depiction than any other printer type on the market.

They are also relatively cheap. That is to say, they have a lower initial cost than laser printers and generally a lower cost for ink replacement, however, you need to factor in a few variables to get an accurate valuation. Ink, being water based, will eventually dry, even in its cartridge. Their yield is also significantly lower than laser toner’s yield, at about a 1 to 8 ratio. A standard ink cartridge will yield about 250 pages while a standard toner cartridge will yield about 2,000 pages, depending on the amount of ink/toner used per page. If you think about that, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that ink is 8 times more expensive than toner when you are talking only upon output.

You also need to consider the frequency of printing with you have an inkjet printer. Since the ink has a finite lifespan, you’ll want to at least have steady printing cycles. This low-output, steady stream of printing will also improve the overall total output the inkjet cartridge has. Of course, you can’t always have linear printing habits. Sometimes you’ll have 10 things to print in one day, then a month later you may need to print something else. This is quite common for a home user, so if you have an inkjet, or if you are planning on going the inkjet route, keep it in mind that the cartridge has an expiration date.

Mobility is also a big benefit because it can be easily relocated and doesn’t take up nearly as much real-estate as a laser printer. If you live in a closet, you’ll probably require an inkjet just by dimensions alone. However, there are several limitations and disadvantages that inkjet printers have in comparison to their laser counterparts. Speaking of laser printers, you’ll spend more money, it will take up more space, and if you need to print color documents, you’ll spend even MORE money… but they are overwhelmingly the right choice. The main reason why is because they cost more. Yes, they are better because they cost more. Even though you’ll be paying more up front, you’ll make your money back by the average price per page output laser printers have, which is around $0.07 per page. The inkjet printer’s cost is around $0.20 per page. Again, the variables of ink longevity and quantity of prints are factored in these estimations. As an added bonus, laser printers have better quality text documents, print about 5 times faster, and last about two times longer than inkjet printers do.

Sure, they’ll take up a little more space, but the financial benefits of having a laser printer for standard home printing needs greatly outweigh the minor downfalls. The only exception to this would be if you needed the machine exclusively for printing high-resolution photographs on picture-quality substrates (gloss paper). The inkjet’s mechanics are perfect for that type of printing, but that’s pretty much it. Even then, you’ll want to make sure that you are printing weekly, as the ink will eventually dry up and will dry even quicker if it sits for prolonged periods of time.

Regardless of if you have an inkjet printer or not, you will still most likely need a laser printer for printing text documents or low resolution graphic documents. There is no good reason why you would want to waste expensive ink on simple documents.

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