Should I Buy a Laser or Inkjet Printer?

It seems like a trivial decision - after all, both types of printerseventually spit out your documents and photos. However, in terms of cost and quality of printing, the choice between inkjets and their printer ink costs, and laser printers with toner cartridges can make a big difference to your future printing life! We help you decide between inkjet and laser.

How many pages per month do you print?

The easiest way to understand the difference between inkjet and laser at different printing volumes is with a representative set of numbers. Do remember that these figures are averages across all different models tested in survey - your chosen printer could vary quite significantly.

Inkjet printers: Cost $50 for an entry level printer, with a per-page cost of 16c thereafter

Laser printers: Cost $150 at entry level, with a per-page cost of 2c thereafter

Speed of printing

If you do a lot of printing, you may well find yourself standing at the front of an inkjet printer, tapping your fingers while you wait for a page to come out ... laser printers are much faster.

Printing types

Your ideal choice of printer from a quality perspective will vary according to the dominant type of printing you do, also. The three main print profile types, and their associated choice of laser printer and toner, or inkjet and cartridge are:

  • Mostly black and white documents: A laser printer will suit you best, giving you both speed and economy. However, you may want to keep a cheap inkjet on hand in case you absolutely have to print something in colour, rather than outlay a fair bit for a color laser printer.
  • Mostly photographs:Inkjet cartridges and printing processes produce far superior image quality for photographs. Don't use them as your main printer if you print more than 50 sheets a month, though.
  • A mixture of coloured and black and white documents:Your choice of printer will vary depending on the volume of printing you do. Large volumes will be best served with a color laser printer, smaller volumes with a colour inkjet.

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