Inkjet vs. Laserjet: Which Is the Right Printer for You?

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Inkjet vs. Laserjet: Which Is the Right Printer for You?

"Inkjet or laserjet?" is a commonly-asked question when selecting a printer. This decision that a buyer has to make shapes the whole printing experience. In the past, the appearance of laser printers revolutionised the printing process, but the inkjet technology was not made redundant. Inkjets continued to develop and are now able to compete with the laser counterparts. Inkjet models have become fast and efficient enough to even be considered for office use and high volumes of work. The laserjet technology has also progressed over the years and has increased in speed and precision.

Printers have also become more affordable over the years. They are produced in large numbers and can be purchased in computer stores or online. eBay is a good place to look for a printer, as there is plenty of choice on both inkjet and laserjet models.

When faced with two technologies offering the same service, it is necessary to weigh the pros and cons of each one to decide which is more suitable. With careful assessment of the needs, the buyer can consider the importance of the features of both types of printers and select the type that offers greater advantages.

Assessing the Needs

There probably is no single task that the inkjet and laserjet printer technologies cannot perform. The only question is 'Which one does it better?' Capabilities might also vary from model to model, but there are some general tendencies linked to technology limitations. Some of the common categories in which the two technologies are compared are listed in the chart below.



Printer Price

The price of the printer is a large part of the investment.

Cost Per Page

This is a measure of the printer's economic efficiency.

Printing Speed

Very important in assessing the workload a printer can handle.

Paper Type And Paper Handling

These offer insight into the printer's efficiency.

Assessing the needs is deciding which one of these qualities is more relevant for the intended use of a printer. How much a buyer is willing to pay for a printer is also a decisive factor. A great deal of subjectivity is at play here, as the buyer makes a compromise in one category while favouring another.

Printer Price

The price of a printer is always important. If the buyer has a planned budget for the purchase, it might restrict the choice in favour of inkjet printers. The inkjet models are cheaper as they are of simpler build. The ink cartridges are of smaller capacity than the toner cartridges used in laserjet printers and therefore call for a smaller initial investment.

Low-end laserjet printers can compete in price as well. To make the price more appealing for buyers, the toner cartridge sold with a laser printer is often just a test cartridge. This way, the buyer gets a fully functional printer without purchasing a whole toner initially.

Budget limitations are a problem when a printer is purchased for personal use. If a printer is being selected for office use without any budget limitations, then laserjets are a common choice. Inkjets might be able to compete in regards to the cost per page, but laserjets are faster and provide better text quality.

Printing Speed

Speed is a field where the main difference between the inkjet and the laserjet printers comes to light. The inkjets use tiny jets of variable size to squirt ink onto the page, while the laserjet uses a laser beam to plan the print job onto an internal drum. This greatly affects the printing speed which is often included in the specifications as 'ppm', or pages per minute.

The speed of an inkjet is very dependent on how much surface of the page needs to be covered, while the laserjet always takes a fixed amount of time. This gives the laserjet a great advantage in terms of speed. However, low-end laserjets and inkjets might be of equal speed and are great for home use.

Paper and Paper Handling

The paper used and the paper handling characteristics are also factors in the decision making process when selecting a printer. They influence the efficiency of a printer in an indirect way. Handling influences printing efficiency, while the paper used is linked to cost efficiency.

Printing on plain paper is still a problem for some inkjet printers. Even though this type of printer has evolved to a stage where it can print on surfaces such as specially coated fabrics, iron-on transfers, banner-size sheets, and special CDs and DVDs, there are models that still struggle to print simple text onto plain paper. Laserjet printers print on any kind of paper that can withstand the heat generated.

Printers come with different types of paper trays and bins. These, along with the printing direction, define the paper handling process. Divided by the location where the paper is stored, printers have top feed or bottom feed, the latter being more common. There are models that can print on both sides automatically by feeding the paper from both ends, and the feature is called automatic duplexing. This feature is mostly seen on large office printers that handle complex tasks.

The tray capacity limits the quantity of pages one can store within the printer. If capacity is of importance, some printers can be upgraded with an additional tray for an extra fee. Starting capacities for inkjets can be as small as 50 sheets and upgrade might not be possible, so it is important to consult the specifications if capacity is of importance.

Comparing Costs per Page

Ink and toner price is one of the factors that greatly affect the cost per page, which is basically a measurement of the printer's economic efficiency. The numbers mentioned in the printer specifications are calculations based on the use of recommended brand cartridges. However, there are other compatible cartridges of equal capacity that cost considerably less.

However, cheaper is not necessarily better, so always do the math to get an approximation of the cost per page prior to purchase.

Decreasing the Cost per Page

Refurbished cartridges and refills are among the more economically sound choices. The ink itself costs only a fraction of what a whole cartridge does. However, a new cartridge can never compete with the price of a refill. Be that as it may, there is no such thing as unlimited refills. After a few times, the cartridge cannot be effectively refilled, and a new one should be bought.

The use of compatible or refurbished cartridges is often discouraged by manufacturers. It is true that in some cases, these types of cartridges produce copies of slightly inferior quality, but this should not be a concern for those who are not seeking perfection. In the battle of quality versus quantity, the user is the one who decides what is valued more.

Using Both Inkjet and Laserjet Printers

Owning inkjet and laserjet printers at the same time solves a lot of problems. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses. The weaknesses of the one usually lie in areas where the other can do a more satisfactory job.

The downside of owning two printers is maintaining them both. Those who do not have many printing tasks can find this to be an unjustifiable expense. On the other hand, with strategic division of the printing tasks, those who need to do a lot of printing for their work or a hobby can see good results with regards to quality and cost per page. It can also be pretty difficult to find the needed space to accommodate two printers. Some of the printer models are quite big, and home users might find it difficult to fit them in their limited workspace.

Combined Technologies

Some technologies like scanners and fax machines are often combined with printers. A printer combined with a scanner makes for a decent copy machine in addition to providing the separate services. Buying a printer with fax capabilities is not only cheaper than maintaining two separate machines, but it also eliminates the need of caring for two printing units.

The multifunctional printers are practical, but they are not suited for high volume of work. The machine can only perform one task at a time and sometimes, this can cause a backlog. This problem is rarely encountered with home users, but it is quite common in offices.

Buying Inkjet and Laserjet Printers on eBay

eBay carries a selection of both inkjet and laserjet printers. The website also offers cartridges and paper for the printers available. Searching for a printer on eBay is easy. It is as simple as entering the word 'printer' in the search bar. This approach creates a complete list of printers found on eBay. To create a list of more manageable results, you can use either a more specific query, such as "laserjet printer", or filter the results.

Smart filtering can create a specific set of results that directly addresses your needs. You can filters by type, technology, brand, and speed, among other parameters. The output can also be filtered to make the distinction between the black and white and the colour printers. Selecting supported paper size can narrow down the choice even further, especially if some less common sizes are needed.

Offers on new, manufacturer refurbished, and used printers can be found on eBay. Additional equipment and spare parts for printers can also be purchased on the website.


With so many types and models, there is a printer for everyone's needs. Choosing a printer can be a breeze for those who are well acquainted with the technology. By anticipating the tasks and the volume of work a printer is supposed to handle, the buyer can decide which of the printer's features hold greater importance in a purchase decision. Compromises can be made on less important features, as there is no such thing as the perfect printer.

The choice between inkjet and laserjet is formed based on the expectations of price, cost per page, and speed. One might be slightly better than the other in performing specific tasks. Both types have their strong and weak sides. One may choose to use both types and achieve better results by the careful division of tasks between them. Multifunctional printers with integrated scanners and fax machines integrate some additional features that add value to the printer.

No matter what one's preferences may be, it is easy to locate and purchase the printer that one desires through a website such as eBay.

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