There is a point in your kid’s academic progress that buying a printer for home use becomes a necessity. One of the first things to decide is whether to buy an inkjet or a laser printer. If you are shopping for the best printer for child’s use, you’ve probably wondered what the differences are between inkjet and laser printers. Although both print technologies have their place in homes and offices, there’s a good chance that one will be better at meeting your needs than the other.
To be honest, the choice for most people is going to be inkjet. I have personally owned the HP desk jet 2131 and the 1112 versions for home use, but I ended up buying a laser printer. The inkjets are generally cheaper and smaller, two of the important criteria that you will be considering. However, if all you plan to do is produce black and white text, then a laser printer is worth considering. There are some affordable ones around now; they are not all huge machines for commercial use only. The basic distinctions here boil down to how each technology actually prints. This, in turn, has an impact on what a printer will do well, how expensive it is to print documents and photos, and how much you’ll pay upfront.
THE KEY POINTS:
- Inkjet printers are usually cheaper upfront, but more costly to operate. If you don’t print much, it can be the more affordable option.
- Laser printers are better for printing documents, while inkjets tend to be better at printing photos.
- If you want to keep the cost per page as low as possible, laser printers are cheaper.
- Inkjet printers generally take up less room than laser printers.
- Laser printers are much cheaper to run; the toner cartridge is much cheaper than replacement ink cartridges. They also print text much faster, and of better quality. However they will not be able to deal with your photos or graphics.
The following salient points will help you to make the choice:
Inkjet vs Laser printers: UPFRONT COST
When it comes to buying a printer, the cost of the printer is a big factor in the decision. Sure, you want certain features, but your budget will often make the decision for you. Inkjet printers tend to be much less expensive than laser printers. Inkjets are less costly to manufacture and sometimes manufacturers sell inkjet printers at a loss, knowing that they can make up the difference in ink sales down the road. Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy a new printer than to buy a full set of new ink cartridges. Inkjets cost less to buy, but you may pay more in the long run. Laser printers, on the other hand, will rarely be sold for less than ₹15,000/-. Now, the cost of printing should definitely factor into your thinking, but if you barely print, then inkjets are a better option.
Inkjet vs Laser printers: PRINT QUALITY
Laser printers are better for text documents, especially at high volumes, but inkjets have an edge when it comes to printing photos.
Inkjet vs Laser printers: COST OF PRINTING
- Inkjet printers vary in the cost-per-page, but tend to fall within the same general range. Black-and-white text will usually run at ₹ 3-7 per page, and colour printing will run between ₹11-18 per page.
- Toner, on the other hand, tends to be less expensive on a per-page basis for laser printers. Though no less carefully made, the fact that toner comes in powder form makes it a much simpler substance to ship, store and use.
- While individual toner cartridges are more expensive than ink cartridges, they print hundreds of pages, far exceeding the print yields offered on inkjet printers.
- Toner also stores better over the long term. Ink cartridges can be stored for months if kept properly, but if you’re an infrequent printer, the liquids that fill your ink cartridge can dry out, leaving you with a useless cartridge that has printed only a fraction of the pages it was meant to. Since toner starts off as a powder, there’s no need to worry about it losing its liquidity.
Inkjet vs Laser printers: PRINTER SIZE
Laser multi-function printers tend to be larger and heavier than their inkjet counterparts. If you’ve got limited space on a desk or shelf, it will be easier to find an inkjet to fit in that smaller space.
Why I decided to buy a laser printer over an inkjet for my twins:
Deciding between an inkjet printer and a laser printer really boils down to what your child uses it most for. Some people print a handful of pages a year, or print photos more often than text documents. Others may print reams of text, but rarely need a photo. Or they value long-term operating costs just as much as the upfront purchase price. In my home the text printing exceeds tremendously over that of a photo print. We require colour prints may be about 3-4 times in a year for some assignments, each time with an average of 3-4 pages. We hardly have a need for photo prints, and if we do require them we get it printed from a nearby studio for a cheap rate. Most of our prints include tons of colouring sheets, print outs of .pdf books unavailable in India, text documents for assignments, drawing panels, prints for cut outs etc. All these are in black and white and never coloured. And with a laser printer I never worry about the ink going dry, which used to happen with my old printers.
The Takeaway: So the bottom line is Inkjet printing is generally a better fit for the occasional printer. Ink will cost more on a per-page basis, but refills are cheaper than toner. Inkjets are also better suited for small spaces, since laser printers tend to be larger. It’s also the better option for printing images and photos, since ink offers richer colour and fewer printing limitations. Laser printing, on the other hand, offers the most affordable way to print a lot of text-heavy pages. It’s faster, too, offering finished, smudge-free pages in seconds. And if crisp, easy-to-read text is your priority, then go with a laser printer, which offers better text printing every time.
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