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Laser vs. Inkjet Printers – What's the Difference and When to Use Which

This blog covers laser and Inkjet printers in depth, reviewing when to use which based on their differences, and specific print functions.

Blog Post

8 minute read

Mar 13, 2024

You wouldn’t ask the clerk at the grocery store to do your taxes, and you wouldn’t ask your accountant to work on your car. Not because you don’t trust them, but simply because these people don’t have the appropriate expertise. Similarly, you should choose office equipment that fits your needs. If you’re printing often, you’ll need to understand the differences in laser vs. Inkjet printers.  

There are significant differences between laser and inkjet printers and each machine is designed with a different function in mind. For example, laser printers excel at high-volume printing whereas inkjet printers are much better at producing color, fine lines, and high-quality graphics.    

The following sections cover laser and inkjet printers in depth so you can be confident in choosing the right printer for your office.  

Visit the Impact Store where you can get all your printing, paper, and toner needs covered quickly and easily. 

Choosing the Right Printer for the Job


As mentioned above, different printers excel at different jobs, so it’s important to pick one that meets the printing needs of your business. While laser and inkjet printers are widely popular and cover a significant portion of printing functions, these are only two of the varieties from which businesses can choose.  

The printer varieties

For example, photo printers are specifically designed to produce high-quality photos on specialiazed photo paper with incredible detail and color accuracy. Many photo printers even use special ink cartridges.  

3D printers are another variety of printers that can create three-dimensional objects by layering a material (often plastic) in order to complete the design that it’s fed. These printers are great for prototyping and are used in a wide array of industries.  

Thermal printers are another popular variety that is mostly found in retail, logistics, and the service industry. This is because thermal printers use heat to transfer ink onto the paper reel, making these ideal machines for printing receipts.

Choosing the right printer for your needs is integral to establishing smooth and efficient workflows that don’t disrupt the bottom line.

When to Use Laser Printers

By understanding the various printer options on the market, you can make more informed decisions on the equipment with which you outfit your office. With that in mind, let’s dive into the details of laser printers and when to use them.

Laser printers are particularly suitable for certain situations and jobs like:

  1. High-Volume Printing: If your business regularly prints a large number of documents, especially text-heavy ones, a laser printer is an excellent choice. Laser printers are built for high-speed printing and are capable of handling large print jobs efficiently. They have faster print speeds compared to inkjet printers, making them ideal for busy offices or environments where quick turnaround times are essential.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: While laser printers often have a higher initial purchase price compared to inkjet printers, they typically offer lower printing costs per page in the long run. Toner cartridges generally have a higher page yield compared to ink cartridges, resulting in lower cost-per-page printing. This cost-effectiveness becomes more apparent with high-volume printing, making laser printers a more economical choice for businesses with significant printing requirements.
  3. Text-Heavy Documents: Laser printers excel at printing crisp, clear text documents. If your business primarily prints text-based documents such as reports, contracts, or spreadsheets, a laser printer is an ideal option. Laser printers produce sharp, professional-looking text with consistent quality, making them well-suited for business documents that require a professional appearance.
  4. Durability and Reliability: Laser printers are known for their robust construction and reliability. They are designed to handle heavy workloads and can often withstand frequent use without experiencing performance issues. This durability makes laser printers a dependable choice for businesses seeking a long-term printing solution that can withstand the demands of a busy office environment.
  5. Network Connectivity and Security: Many laser printers come with built-in network connectivity features, allowing them to be easily integrated into an office network. This enables seamless printer sharing across multiple users or departments, improving efficiency and productivity. Additionally, laser printers often offer advanced security features such as user authentication and encryption, which help protect sensitive documents and prevent unauthorized access to the printer.

All-in-all, businesses should choose a laser printer when they require fast, cost-effective printing of text-heavy documents, need a durable and reliable printing solution for high-volume printing tasks, and prioritize features such as network connectivity and security.  

By carefully considering these factors, businesses can select a laser printer that meets their specific printing needs and contributes to a positive employee experience and smooth workflows.  

When to Use Inkjet Printers  

After reviewing laser printers in detail, let’s break down Inkjet printers and review where they shine in the wide world of print.

Inkjet printers are particularly suitable for certain situations and print jobs like:

  1. Color Printing and Graphics: If your business requires high-quality color printing or produces graphics-intensive materials such as brochures, flyers, or presentations, an inkjet printer may be the best option. Inkjet printers are known for their ability to produce vibrant, photo-realistic color prints with smooth gradients and accurate color reproduction. They excel at handling a wide range of media types and can print on various paper sizes and textures, making them ideal for businesses that prioritize print quality and versatility.
  2. Affordability and Initial Cost: Inkjet printers typically have a lower initial purchase price compared to laser printers, making them a cost-effective option for businesses with budget constraints or those with lower printing volumes. Additionally, inkjet printers often require fewer components and maintenance, resulting in lower ongoing operational costs. This affordability makes inkjet printers a practical choice for small businesses, startups, or home offices looking for a reliable printing solution without breaking the bank.
  3. Photo Printing and Creative Projects: Inkjet printers are well-suited for businesses involved in photography, graphic design, or other creative endeavors. They can produce high-resolution prints with fine details, making them suitable for printing photographs, artwork, or designs with intricate patterns. Inkjet printers also offer the flexibility to print on specialty media such as glossy photo paper or canvas, allowing businesses to create professional-quality prints for display or sale.
  4. Compact Size and Portability: Inkjet printers are often more compact and lightweight compared to laser printers, making them easier to fit into small office spaces or move around as needed. This portability can be advantageous for businesses with limited space or those that require printing capabilities on the go, such as mobile professionals or remote workers. Inkjet printers are available in a variety of sizes and form factors, including portable models that can be easily transported between locations.
  5. Low Volume Printing: If your business has relatively low printing volumes or primarily prints documents with minimal color or graphics, an inkjet printer may suffice. Inkjet printers are suitable for printing text documents, emails, or simple graphics with satisfactory quality. They offer flexibility in terms of print resolution and speed, allowing businesses to adjust settings based on their specific printing needs without sacrificing quality or efficiency.

An Inkjet printer is a great option for businesses that require high-quality color printing, affordability, versatility in media handling, and flexibility in print resolution and speed.  

Overall, Inkjet printers are well-suited for businesses engaged in creative projects, photo printing, or those with low to moderate printing volumes.  

Reviewing The Major Differences Between Inkjet and Laser Printers

The main difference between Inkjet and laser printers lies in how they work and the type of printing at which they excel.

Inkjet printers work by spraying tiny droplets of ink onto paper to create images or text. They are great for printing colorful photos and graphics because they can produce high-resolution prints with smooth color transitions. However, inkjet printers can be slower than laser printers, and the cost of ink cartridges can add up over time, especially if you print a lot.

On the other hand, laser printers use a toner powder that is fused onto the paper using heat. They are excellent for printing large volumes of text documents quickly and efficiently. Laser printers are often faster and more cost-effective for black-and-white printing, but they may not produce the same vibrant colors as inkjet printers.

Overall, the choice between inkjet and laser printers depends on your specific needs. If you need to print a lot of colorful photos or graphics, an inkjet printer might be the better option. However, if you primarily print text documents and need fast, cost-effective printing, a laser printer could be the way to go.

Some organizations have enough variety in their print jobs that they can justify both a laser printer and an Inkjet printer, but again, it all depends on your specific business printing needs.

Wrapping Up on Laser vs. Inkjet Printers

When it comes to selecting office equipment like printers, you need to take several factors into consideration like the volume of printing, what type of materials you plan to produce, and how the machine you ultimately choose will influence daily workflows.

Not to mention, printers are typically considered long-term investments, so if you choose the wrong machine you might be stuck in a less-than-ideal situation for far too long. Take your time, assess your printing needs, and choose the right printer for your operation.

If you’re looking to replace or update your current office printers, visit the Impact Store to browse through a wide variety of modern options ready to evolve your print-based workflows.  


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