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Inkjet Vs. Laser Printers – Which Works Best for Offices?
For over two decades, inkjet printers have dominated the domestic and business print market thanks to their low initial purchase cost and affordable refill cartridges. Now however, the inkjet is being challenged by the laser printer – which has become an increasingly cost effective alternative in recent years.
For domestic print use, the all-round affordability of an inkjet machine makes monetary sense – but what about business use? Here, we weigh up the pros and cons of each type of machine to find out which works best for offices.
No matter how cheaply you buy a model for, inkjet printers will almost always provide better quality printouts than their laser counterparts. Why? Because inkjet machines use liquid based inks, they produce accurate, vivid colours and are good at blending particular shades. Until recently, laser machines weren't even capable of printing in colour, and still lack the same depth of colour offered by the inkjet.
The very method of which both printer types produce printouts also affects the quality and clarity of a print job. Whilst laser printers rely on electronically charged particles to affix ink to a page, inkjets use a series of ink jets to produce images and text – a method that is more effective at creating sharp, clear printouts.
For reliable, day-to-day business printing, it’s important to have a printer you can rely on. When purchasing a new business machine, speed, performance and reliability are important factors to ensure you can live with the printer on a daily basis.
In terms of performance and reliability, inkjet machines have their pros and cons. Whilst small, discreet and quiet, they’re also energy efficient – and their ink cartridges are easy to replace. They are however less efficient than laser printers in terms of ink use, whilst also being messy to clean and slower at printing large quantities of documents.
Laser printers too, have their pros and cons. Compared to inkjets, laser printers offer much faster print speeds, as well as more efficient use of toner. They’re also easier to clean and maintain, which may make them more appealing to some companies. In terms of cons – laser printers are larger, noisier and less energy efficient than inkjets, and also produce a lot of heat, which will need to be properly ventilated.
One of the biggest considerations for businesses buying a new office printer is the upfront and on-going cost of a particular machine. The cost of inkjet and laser printers varies dramatically, but it’s important to consider the on-going costs as well as the initial purchase price.
Though inkjets are considerably cheaper to buy outright than laser printers, they yield far fewer documents per cartridge than laser machines. For the price of a refill cartridge (around £15 - £30),consumers can expect to print around 200-300 documents – depending on the type of printouts you produce.
Laser printers on the other hand, have a high initial purchase cost, and are also pricey to refill – with toner cartridges priced at around £90 – £150 per unit. However, each toner cartridge is capable of producing around 2,500 – 3,500 documents, depending on whether you’re printing in colour or grey scale.
The inkjet vs. laser debate boils down to one consideration – how many pages does your business print? If you print over 2,000 pages of black text documents a year, a laser printer is probably a worthwhile investment, with per page costs of just 3p. Anything under 2,000 pages however, and the inkjet would work out the cheaper of the two machines.
If performance and print quality are also important to your company, be mindful of what you usually print. If you need to produce high-quality marketing materials or photographs, an inkjet may be a better choice for you. If however you favour speed, reliability and powerful performance – a laser machine could be the printer to go for.
Whichever printer you choose for your business, you could save up to 50% off your print costs with Printhead. We offer compatible ink and toner cartridges for a range of business printers, so you can enjoy great savings on the cost of refilling your office machine. To find out more about our third-party ink and toner cartridges, visit the Printhead homepage or call us on 0845 519 5405.