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Laser vs Inkjet: What Kind of Printer is Practical for You?

Laser vs Inkjet--it’s the dilemma of every average consumer when they’re about to buy a new printer. Not surprisingly, this topic is also frequently searched with various blogs and reviews available online. One common overlooked factor many people tend to forget is cartridge supply. There are differences in prices and capacity.  That holds true especially upon initial purchase. However, low prices and print yield number do not automatically translate for long term practicality. Here are some comparison you might helpful when thinking of buying whether ink or laser printer.


Head-to-head: Laser vs Inkjet Quick Comparison




Text Printing Speed



Text Print Quality



Photo Printing Quality



Page Yield



Ink Type



So, before you pull the trigger, here’s some tips to keep in mind:

Understanding and Knowing Your Needs

Chances are, while you’re reading this, you’re probably already have a model in mind; just confirming what you already know. For mid-grade or college students it is the ideal choice. Unless you’re in law school or a course where a lot of sample case studies or reading materials in need of printing for your classes and photo printing and scanning are not needed. If you’re setting a small office or enterprise your choice will depend on the workforce and workload. A typical light load office setting doesn’t need more than one printer unless high monthly volume printing tasks are required and may need two or more printers.

Consider some of these helpful tips to keep in your needs in check:

  1. Do you see yourself printing an average of 10-50 pages a day without a need printing a colored document? You’ll need a monochrome laser printer.
  2. Do you find yourself working at home or a freelancer who foresees minor printing jobs in a few weeks or a month? A standalone printer is efficient enough to fulfill any printing requirements such as printing or copying
  3. Are you about to procure printers for an office? You’ll need printers or a combination of both printer types in more than two units for medium-sized to large organizations.

Longevity – The Duty Cycle Issue

This perhaps is the most overlooked spec a printer has that most of us aren’t aware. Technically, duty cycle indicates the maximum number of pages can be printed within a month before the printer is expected to fail. It doesn’t mean if your printing jobs exceeded the duty cycle limit you will expect to encounter some problems immediately. Keep in mind that the number is not absolute and may vary from one printer to another. Factors that affect duty cycle can vary from printer type, print quality, ambient temperature and other external variables.

A high duty cycle is also an indicator of a printer’s longevity and durability. To put it into perspective, compare these two inkjet printers: a HP OfficeJet Pro 8710 has a rated monthly duty cycle of 25,000 pages while a Brother MFC-J985DW has a rated duty cycle of 2,500 pages—that’s 10x difference in pages. It should be obvious that the OfficeJet Pro 8710 can handle more workload the MFC-J985DW. So, your expected print volume should be lower than the duty cycle of your printer of choice.

Printing Cost

A toner of a laser printer can print thousands more of pages than a cartridge of an inkjet printer. If you’re unsure and have compared several toners and cartridges, you should determine how much is the cost per page as you print. Simply divide the price of a toner or cartridge by the number of pages the printer’s manufacturer claims. as illustrated by this formula:

Ink Price ÷ Number of Pages (Manufacturer Specification) = Cost per page

This is useful if you’re stuck between multiple models to choose from of the same printer type. You should also verify if the manufacturer claims to print the number of pages as it should. In most cases they do not match, but some figures come close from your printer count software (in case your printer has) so that you can calculate the actual cost per page.

1 comment

  • Hey, I need to purchase a printer but need a really really good quality colored photos but also need a printer with a good speed.
    I have a good budget and I will look foreword to your reply.


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