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Printers – Laser vs Inkjet

After only two years with my inkjet, I’ve had to shop for another. Electronics aren’t made to last anymore I think they must be made purposefully to break when they’re exactly two years old! So shopping for a printer was a pretty stressful ordeal with all the options available. Some bullet points about my personal printing needs:

  • I never print my own photos. I always send them away.
  • I do print disk labels
  • …and lots of letterhead


So I just needed a general run of the mill home printer. And what’s the first question you get asked when shopping for a printer? Inkjet or Laser. What’s the difference? What’s better for casual use vs. heavy use? Which costs less to maintain? Here’s what I found when doing my research:


Injket – Inkjet printers are probably what you know as the common household printer. Inkjet printers use multiple cartridges (usually a black and a colour) which release ink onto the paper through little jets, hence the name.

Laser – Laser printers are what you would likely see in your office. And their printing method is quite cool. Laser printers use static electricity and a laser to melt the powdered ink (called toner) onto the paper.


Laser printers typically cost a bit more than inkjet, although this cost can be offset by the lower cost of keeping the machine running. Inkjet printers use up more ink while laser printers use toner which doesn’t need to be replaced as often.

{Common problems}

Inkjet – With inkjet printers, it’s not uncommon to get cartridge errors even when there’s nothing wrong. For me, this led to needlessly buying a new cartridge, then spending about an hour going through every step on the printer’s website and, ultimately, buying a new printer. Also, the ink in inkjets can actually dry up and so cartridges may need to be replaced even if they haven’t been used up. But this is a problem for the extremely occasional printer, I would say.

Laser – If you’ve worked in an office, you’re familiar with the inevitable paper jam. They happen more often with laser printers. Laser printers need more frequent maintenance and cleaning than inkjets.

{What you’re printing}

The ultimate decision about what type of printer to buy has everything to do with what you’re printing. Laser printers are know to be excellent with text, while inkjet printers are superior for image printing.

I hope this can offer some help in your decision regarding inkjet vs. laser!

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Elizabeth Halford
Elizabeth Halford

is a photographer and advertising creative producer in Orlando, FL. She wrote her first article for dPS in 2010. Her most popular one racked up over 100k shares!

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