Laser vs. Ink

At Global Laser one of the things we are asked about often is why Ink Jet printers are generally so much less to purchase versus a LaserJet.

When deciding between an inkjet or a laser printer, it is a good idea to evaluate several factors before proceeding with the purchase. Consumers are often swayed by initial purchase price and big box locations often cater to this, and they glaze over or don't ever mention the cost of replacement consumables. One of the things we see the most is when a customer buys a Brother LaserJet printer, they are not aware that there is a replacement drum that will be needed every 3-5 toner changes.

Below are a few key points to help show you that for most business needs LaserJet machines will ultimately be your best option.

  1. One of the main considerations when looking at both inkjet printers and laser printers is the amount of usage you anticipate. An inkjet printer works very well for relatively low demands that are primarily text documents. Also, usage that may require some type of color on an occasional basis can be handled very well with an inkjet printer. However, inkjets are not designed for a large amount of production each day. Also, the cost of new ink cartridges can be prohibitive as the cost per page (CPP) is generally higher than laser and when the volume of printing is higher, your recurring costs increase. An average ink cartridge only offers a yield of 250-400 pages per unit, whereas typical laser cartridges start at 1500 and can go upwards of 30,000. (This is based on the industry standard for page count where page coverage is 5%)
  2. For environments where there will be a mid to high volume of daily usage, there is no doubt that the laser printer is the better option. The laser printer is built to hold up to repeated daily usage and large print jobs. Colour is also a factor when it comes to the laser printer. Laser printers today simply produce a higher quality of colour graphic or image, which make it ideal when the print job involves the printing of sales brochures or a mass mail out to customers. Potential volume is a huge factor to be considered when purchasing a new machine.
  3. Another important consideration when choosing between an inkjet and a laser printer is the initial cost. Keep in mind that while the initial purchase is low, replacing the ink cartridges can become cost prohibitive if your average print usage continues to increase over time. Even though Ink cartridge can also be re-filled, they can only be refilled a few times and they too need to be replaced periodically.
  4. Speed is also a large factor as LaserJet machines typically offer a far superior output speed. The bigger the machine the faster the machine prints. HP boasts laser printers that will print in excess of 52-62 pages per minute.
  5. Yet another factor to consider is the potential for repair. Inkjet machines are typically non-repairable or in most cases not worth repairing. This is not a green option as the hardware is then disposable. LaserJet machines are typically built to allow repairs. This ability to repair is one of the reasons we highly recommend HP LaserJet printers as their parts are made readily available and relatively easy to replace. Repair costs are often lower than replacing the machine and preventing excessive waste from entering the landfill.
  6. Lastly, the type of paper that will be used is also important when deciding whether to purchase an inkjet or a laser printer. A laser printer usually can accommodate various weights of paper with little or no problem. Inkjets tend to work best with standard twenty-weight paper. If the idea is to use the printer to create sales and marketing material, small posters for trade shows, and other print jobs that require a stiffer paper product, then the laser printer is definitely the best option. Laser printers also often have multiple input paths, so you can have for example tray that will accommodate letter size paper, and the Multi Purpose (MP) tray at the front to print labels or envelopes or legal or any of the other available custom sizes.