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  • Writer's pictureHeather Hall

Inkjet or laser printer?

Printers are far more affordable than they used to be but choosing the right one for a home or office may be confusing. Inkjet and laser printers are the two types available to the consumer and they function differently. Selecting your next printer boils down to what you print, how much you print, and how much you are willing to spend so you may want to know the pros and cons of both ink and laser before you shop.

Inkjet printers draw pages by forcing liquid ink through microscopic nozzles. They are great for residential because they are designed for low-volume printing on a variety of paper types. Inkjets tend to be cheaper than laser printers but consider the fact that the ink cartridges are more expensive and cost a lot over time. For those of you who have multiple homes also know that the cartridges dry up when neglected.

A laser printer functions like a photocopier. A rotating drum creates the image with static electricity that attracts the toner. The toner is then melted onto the page using hot fusers. Laser printers are larger in size but much faster (15 to 100 pages per minute) than inkjet printers (an average of 16 pages per minute) and have better overall quality when it comes to text which is why most office scenarios prefer laser printing. These workhorses are more expensive up front but overall, you will save money because it may be months, or even a year, before you will need toner replacements. Whether it be monochrome (black) or color, toner does not dry up if left unused, and laser printers tend to be more durable.

The manufacturer’s print volume recommendations should be noted. This is a guideline to how many pages a printer can generate in a month without causing damage to its parts. To avoid your printer breaking when you need it most, be realistic when you are shopping. In addition, consider whether you need a multi-function device (print, scan, copy, and fax), mobile printing, wireless, or ethernet.


Heather is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer that also has a background in teaching.

She can be reached at 239.825.0011 or by email at


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