Imaging Spectrum Blog

The Differences Between Inkjet and Laser Printers + Costs to Know About

Even though we live in what most would call a “digital age” printers are still commonly used for a variety of business tasks. However, printers of the 21st century are more than just about printing documents and basic admin – they can now do a whole lot more.

Many companies today require a printer as the backbone of their business, such as photographers and lawyers. Depending on what the business uses a printer for and what features are needed, you can find a basic office printer for less than $100, which is perfect for small office use, but if more is required, the sky’s the limit. 

Technology has advanced so rapidly that now printers can be controlled right from a camera via Bluetooth. Doesn’t that make life a lot easier? They also can help quickly deliver high-quality prints to your clients that will keep them coming back for more. 

In this article, we cover two of the most common printer technologies – inkjet and laser printers – along with how businesses use them and their costs.


Inkjet Printers

What Are They Used For?

Inkjets are an ideal choice for producing very high-quality colorful prints. For graphic design or photography businesses, this would be the best printer to use; it’ll give your clients amazing products and keep them coming back to you! 

Today’s inkjet printers excel at printing colorful photos that look almost exactly how they look on a computer screen or camera. Colors will appear vibrant, well-blended and beautiful.

Inkjet printers can also print onto a variety of paper types including glossy and textured, so no matter the desired look, you’ll find a style that caters perfectly to your business and clients.


How Do They Work?

As the name suggests, these printers use ink that’s placed onto the paper in tiny droplets. These drops or dots are so small, they’re difficult to detect without proper magnification. 

So, much like a photo in a newspaper or magazine that comprises Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black dots, so too are the photos that come out of an inkjet printer. 

Because the dots are so small, most inkjet printers can produce high-resolution photos, up to 1440×720.


Inkjet Printer Cost & Extras

Inkjet printers are generally more affordable in the printer world, especially when compared to specialized ones like DTG printers, which are quite an investment. However, don’t forget to keep in mind the cost of replacement ink cartridges and supplies, which can quickly add up. 

Inkjet cartridges are inexpensive, but if your company prints high-quality graphics and photos often, these additional costs could add up quickly and exponentially. 

Cartridges can become clogged and require cleaning regularly. This is something to keep in mind because it could potentially hold up time-sensitive tasks or hinder the completion of work orders. 


what is cost of printer

Laser Printers

What Are They Used For?

This type of printer works best for small businesses, universities, libraries, and other companies who simply need a printer for basic admin or document printing. Laser printers are fast and can print pages quickly since they mainly focus on printing text-heavy documents.

For printing text-heavy documents with not a lot of graphics that need to be clear and vibrant, a laser printer is ideal. 

A laser printer can come with a lot of extras other than simply printing a document. Many also offer scanning capabilities straight to a computer via Wifi. Laser printers make for a great general office printer. 


How Does It Work?

Laser printers use the same basic technology for producing images as a photocopier. When “print” is pressed information is sent to the printer where a laser scans back and forth across a drum in the printer, which creates static electricity, to create the image. 

The static electricity acts as a magnet for the toner, which is applied to paper and then heated with a fuser to bond the ‘ink’ to the paper. 


Laser Printer Costs

The good thing about laser printers is that their toner cartridges can last quite some time, especially with minimal printing needs. However, they can be expensive upfront so this is a cost to factor in a budget for any true startup. 

Next, it’s important to know the different features of laser printers as the more features a printer boasts generally the higher the cost. 

Here are some of the essential features that come with today’s laser printers:

  • Basic document printing
  • Copying
  • Faxing
  • Scanning
  • Toner save mode
  • Compatible with a Mac, PC, tablet, or phone
  • Solid-state cooling

 Today’s laser printers can do much more than just printing documents, and act as a great all-in-one solution for general office use. 


how much is a printer

What to Know About Printer Costs

The good thing about printers is that they run the gamut with costs so whatever a business’ needs and budget, there is a big selection to choose from. 

A high-quality inkjet printer can be found for about $100, and budget laser printers aren’t much more. However, with more features, the cost can reach over $15,000. 

But why the big difference in prices?


What Determines Cost?

Many factors determine how much a particular printer will cost so it’s difficult to give a definitive answer. In general, the cheapest laser printers on the market cost around $130 and inkjet printers are from $60-$70. 

Keep in mind though, these budget-friendly inkjet printers will come with what’s called a ‘starter’ cartridge. This means they don’t have a full tank of ink and will need to replaced after a few prints. 

Since we can’t give an exact cost, here are the general costs that will affect purchasing a printer:

  • Pages per minute printed
  • Color or black and white
  • Scanning, faxing or emailing capabilities
  • Document collating 
  • Ink or toner capacity
  • Is it purchased or leased from a dealer?
  • Name brand

This article only scratches the surface of the multiple ways that businesses use inkjet and laser printers. But remember as a general idea, inkjet printers are used for design-focused industries, like photo booth photographers and graphic designers, and laser printers are used for more generic and quick purposes for establishments like law firms and medical facilities. 

As technology improves printers will become more specialized, which will, in turn, affect costs. The future of printers will be a seamless integration between technology from a smartphone to the computer to camera, and more.

This should make doing business even easier for those that require a printer daily. 



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Matt’s knack for the use of inkjet applications including proofing, promotional goods and signage came from the advertising world, where he managed the print and broadcast accounts for several key corporate accounts. Over 20 years at Imaging Spectrum, his experience has broadened in the print industry and now heads up the inkjet team in providing thorough solutions for printing opportunities across several platforms.


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