The big printer fight: inkjet vs. laser


Date: 23 September 2013

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When looking to invest in a printer, you're faced with a myriad of options.

Colour or black and white? Single function or all-in-one? Entry level or advanced? But underpinning all these choices is the age-old question in printing: laser or inkjet?

The two technologies remain fundamentally different. Inkjet printers squirt ink onto a sheet of paper through tiny nozzles, while lasers use a static charge and heat to make dust (called toner) stick to the page in a way that makes up letters and images.

In recent years, there’s been talk of a closing gap between the two. The distinction between home and business printers has also become much less clear.

Laser printers have got smaller and cheaper. Inkjets are faster, quieter and better-quality than ever before too. But even so, lasers remain king of the office.

Unless you want to regularly print high-quality photos, a laser printer is almost certainly the best choice for your business. If you mainly print black and white text, it's really the only type of printer worth considering. Here's why:

  • Speed. Laser printers win hands-down when it comes to the amount of time it takes to get the first printed sheet out of the machine. They usually process large or complex documents fast. And because they operate digitally, it takes the same amount of time to print each individual page, no matter whether it's simple text or a complex photo.
  • Crisp text. Lasers remain unbeatable for printing sharp monochrome text pages. They'll churn out crisp, monochrome documents consistently, with no worries over blocked ink nozzles or smudged text.
  • Cost-effectiveness. While they usually cost more to buy upfront, the lower running costs of laser printers almost always makes them considerably cheaper in the long term.
  • Quietness. Volume is more important in some offices than others, but lasers are generally being quieter than low-cost inkjet printers.

For most companies, the choice between laser and inkjet is a simple one. But what do you use in your business?

This is a guest post from Dave McNally, director product marketing at Dell Imaging EMEA.


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