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Laserjet vs Inkjet Printer


Choosing your next printer is a big decision that requires careful consideration. The first decision that consumers are often faced with is the choice between an inkjet printer or a laser printer. When making this decision, one should consider the factors that set them apart to ensure that they are making the choice that best suits their needs.


Laser printers have a reputation for being machines for the work place. When compared to inkjet printers, laser printers clearly have the upper hand in speed, duty cycles (how many pages can safely be printed in a month), and longevity. Inkjet printers, on the other hand, have become mainstays of the home space for their lower costs and flexibility.


Laser printers will generally produce a bolder and sharper print that won't smear and is well suited for business documents, presentations, and advertising. Yet, inkjet printers take the cake when it comes to printing photo quality images at high resolutions.


Inkjet printers will generally have the most features (copy, scan, fax, print direct from memory cards) for the least amount of money. Due to the costs of laser technology, most fully loaded laser printers can cost an arm and a leg and are not feasible choices unless being used in a business environment. A fully loaded inkjet printer will usually be equivalent in cost to a monochrome laser printer that only prints and is devoid of any additional features.


The bottom line can often be the determining factor when choosing between an inkjet or a laser printer. Once the cost of supplies (ink) is factored into the cost of the printer, the scales can drastically tip towards one or the other. In our article "How to Find the Real Bargain Printer" we explored a method for comparing the estimated cost of ownership of two printers, over a year, to discover the most cost effective choice. You can use the provided worksheet (in the article) to narrow your choice down to the inkjet or laser printer that will save you the most money.

Printing Uses

Laserjets are ideal for printing high volumes of documents with black text. Inkjets are great for occasional printing black text documents and color photos.

Price and Features

The laserjet printer has a high unit cost, a faster processor, more memory and can process documents three to five times faster than the inkjet. Although the inkjet printer is slower and has fewer bells and whistles, it is fairly inexpensive to purchase.

Ink and Cartridge Errors

Inkjet printers are subject to cartridge error messages (even if there is no problem). It is also difficult to regulate how much ink is being used when printing.

Network Compatibility

Laserjet printers are ideal for businesses who utilize a network for multiple work stations. The inkjet printers are best as a standalone unit and less compatible for networking setups.