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Inkjet or Laser – Which way to go?

Of all the questions that the team at GOM are asked on a daily basis, what is the most frequently asked? Easy, “should I buy an inkjet or laser printer?” Now although there’s no concrete answer to this question because everyone uses their machine for different purposes and applications, this post is going to break down the fundamental differences between an inkjet and laser printer as well as describe which machine is better for particular functions.

Essentially, the core difference between the two types of machines is that inkjets utilise liquid ink that are sprayed through microscopic nozzles onto the paper, whereas laser printers contain toner cartridges filled with a fine powder that is transferred onto the page and bonded to the paper with a fuser. There is a common misconception that inkjet printers are more versatile in the sense of being compact machines that are smaller and easily transportable, however, nowadays even laser machines are quite suitably sized for even private home-use printers.

Although inkjets seem more attractive as they are a significantly cheaper upfront cost, people tend to neglect the ongoing costs and as a matter of fact, this is one of the most important considerations throughout this debate. You only pay for the printer once, but you’re paying for inks (or toners) many more times than that. A practical example may help put this into perspective.

HP M477FDW

LASER

HP ENVY 5640

INK

$889
RRP On HP Store
$149
$164
Cartridge price (black)
$25
2300
Average page yield
200
$0.07
Cost per A4 page
$0.12

The above table highlights that although laser printers have a higher upfront cost, they are a much better economical choice when it comes to running the machine over a period of time. You will definitely get more usage and a longer lifespan out of a laser machine, not only because they are a sturdier built machine but also from a serviceability perspective. If your laser machine was to breakdown, a technician can come out to either repair the machine or replace parts to get it back up and running, however, in the case of an inkjet printer once something goes wrong nine out of ten times you’re better off throwing the machine out and buying a brand new one – you’d actually save some money that way. It may sound good but if this is a common occurrence, you won’t be saving much at all.

Now another important factor to consider is the application the machine will be used for. For high volume text printing, laser machines are absolutely the way to go for the reason previously mentioned – cheaper ongoing costs and a longer lasting machine. If you simply need the printer to do some text printing every now and again as well as some images, an inkjet machine may be the most suitable option. By nature, ink is ideal for photos and colour printing so if you need a machine to print graphics you can expect better quality from an inkjet.

Final Breakdown and Wrap Up

LASERJET
INKJET
CHEAPER INITIAL COST
CHEAPER ONGOING COST I.E. CONSUMABLES
GRAPHIC PHOTO QUALITY
TEXT PRINT QUALITY
SERVICEABILITY/LIFESPAN
PRINT SPEED/PRINT VOLUME

At the end of the day, it’s all going to come down to what you’re using the printer for. Although the laser printer is cheaper to run and will typically last you much longer than an inkjet, if you need your machine to print quality graphics, it would be unwise to go with a laser.  Hopefully this blog gave you a better idea of which machine would be most suitable for your needs, however, if you still have some questions or you’ve decided what you need, contact the team at Global Office Machines – we can assist with all general and sales-related enquiries.

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