Although inkjet printers offer many advantages, laser printers have been able to maintain their share of the market by playing to their own strengths. The cost per page is highly affordable for laser printers, and the finished product is resistant to smudging or fading. Pages look clean and can be printed very quickly. Of course, there are also disadvantages. Inkjets are a better option than laser printers when it comes to colour printing because of the fine gradients they can reproduce. Furthermore, the initial cost of the printer is much higher.
While advancement has been limited, there have been exciting new releases, such as the HP Neverstop Laser 1001nw, which features refillable toner.
When is a laser printer a better option? It’s likely that an inkjet printer would be a better option for printers that are only used occasionally. For large printing jobs, however, a laser printer is an excellent option. They’re well suited to text printing jobs with numerous pages, such as contracts, and work well in an office setting.
If reliable text printing that meets high-quality standards is your priority, it’s likely that a laser printer will be a good choice. In some settings, like medical offices, laser printing may be mandated for records because of their resistance to smudging.
What Sort of Laser Printer Is Right for You?
There are several types of laser printers, including mono-only printers, colour printers, and all-in-one models that can also copy and scan documents. The best option for you will vary based on your needs.
If you only plan on printing text documents, it’s unlikely that you’ll need a model that offers additional features. There are two main types of laser printers that only offer to print. There are more affordable monochrome units that are designed for home use, and there are more costly models designed for office settings. In most cases, mono-only and colour models are available.
If you opt for an all-in-one laser printer, you’ll have a wider range of options. It’s possible to find mono-only and colour models. While a monochrome printer is only capable of black-and-white printing, all-in-one units can scan colour documents. They can also be used to make monochrome copies, in the same way, you could with a typical copier. When you purchase a mono-only all-in-one laser printer, you’ll enjoy its useful range of features and will also benefit from the affordability that a mono laser provides. Of course, you should be aware of the limitations of these models before you make a purchase.
All-in-one colour laser printers provide the clean printing that makes laser printers so appealing, but they also offer the utility of inkjet all-in-one units. Best of all, you can print colour images that won’t smudge. Of course, you should be aware that it can be costly to refill the toner on a colour laser printer. In fact, it could even be more expensive than the printer itself. This is something to keep in mind, especially if you won’t be using the colour printing functionality all that frequently.
You should also know that inkjet printers will almost always produce colour photos of a higher quality. When colour photos are printed via laser, the images often look flat. Laser printers are better suited to text output, charts, business graphics, and similar documents. You should only invest in a colour laser if that type of colour output is valuable to you.
A monochrome laser might seem limited, but it can be an excellent option. It’s resilient, fast, and is well suited to high-speed printing, making it an excellent choice for the workplace. Furthermore, there are reasonably priced monochrome laser printers that are suitable for home use. With that said, the photos that colour lasers print are often a solid option for business tasks like newsletters, brochures, and various marketing materials. Although high-quality colour lasers can’t compare with high-quality inkjet purposes, the photo and graphic output are still solid. Investing in a colour laser printer could allow a business to handle its own printing needs.
How Connectivity Works for Laser Printers
Most newer inkjet printers on the market are all-in-one units. This isn’t the case for laser printers. While there are plenty of all-in-one models, it’s also common to see units that are only capable of printing. While virtually every all-in-one can copy and scan, some also have a phone-line interface that makes them capable of faxing.
It’s common for laser printers to have an Ethernet jack, as well as Wi-Fi functionality. This makes it possible to connect a printer to a router or another wired network. This is usually a solid option for a smaller office or for home use, but you should consider other connectivity solutions, like connection via USB, if the printer will only be connected to one PC.
When you’re looking at a printer’s wireless features, you should make sure that the Wi-Fi interface is standard. In some cases, it’s necessary to purchase an add-on. These cards and modules can be expensive, especially for all-in-one laser printers.
There are many variations when it comes to printer control panels. It’s best to look at control panels closely so that you can confirm that the model you choose offers the features that are important to you.
Some printers offer Wi-Fi Direct, which makes peer-to-peer connections between a printer and a computer. With this feature or equivalent options, connecting to a network isn’t necessary. More commonly seen are printers with Near-Field Communications touch-to-print compatibility. With this feature, you can print from your mobile device by tapping it on the right part of the printer.
Testing Printing Speed
If you primarily print text documents, it’s likely that a laser printer will be much faster than an inkjet printer at the same price point. Inkjet printers have more speed limitations than laser printers do. While there are some printers on the market that can compete with the speed of laser printers, inkjet printers tend to be less efficient.
When you’re taking on smaller projects, you probably won’t see a significant time difference. However, the difference in speed will be more noticeable for larger printing jobs. For high-volume printing, it’s likely that a laser printer will save you a great deal of time.
When you look at the information provided by vendors, you’ll often see an estimate of how many pages can be printed per minute. However, you can get a clearer picture of what a printer is capable of by reading reviews for different models.
Considering the Quality of Text
With inkjets, tiny droplets of ink are sprayed onto paper. While these printers work well, ink can bleed. This bleeding allows inkjet printers to reproduce photos with a high level of accuracy, but it can cause problems when printing text. When printing small fonts, bleeding can make the letters difficult to read clearly. While you may not spot it at first look, text documents printed via inkjet may also show artefacts, such as blogs or speckling. Filament breaks and smudging can also be an issue, especially when fonts are very large or small.
In contrast, it’s possible to see high-quality monochrome prints from compact laser units, like the Xerox B210.
Laser printing technology makes it possible to print with a high level of precision. A drawing beam is used to place toner particles in the correct spot before they’re fused into place. For professional documents, such as office letterheads, laser printing is a much better option.
This is even more true when you’re printing on both sides of a piece of paper. Ink tends to bleed through the page when you print with an inkjet. Using thick paper can reduce the bleeding, but it’s still an issue. With laser printing, this isn’t a problem. You won’t be able to see the text on the other side of the page unless you print with extremely thin paper. This makes it an excellent option for projects like double-sided booklets.
Furthermore, toner is electrostatically transferred to the paper and then fused there via heat. This method means that documents printed via laser don’t have to dry like documents printed via inkjet do. This makes it much easier to print numerous pages one after another.
Looking at the Cost of Printers and Toner
It doesn’t matter if you use an inkjet printer on a daily basis or let it collect dust. Whenever you go through the printer’s cleaning cycle or swap out cartridges, some ink will be lost. In contrast, laser cartridge toner can last a lot longer, even when the printer is idle. The toner doesn’t dry out, and it can generally be used to print more pages than an inkjet cartridge. For this reason, a laser printer could be a solid option for a smaller office that only prints every once in a while, but it could also be a great choice for businesses that print large numbers of documents.
There are also eco-friendly options. The HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1202w, which is an all-in-one printer, has refillable toner.
The initial cost of a laser printer does tend to be a lot higher. In many cases, however, they save money because the cartridges are more efficient, which means the cost per printed page is lower. Of course, the release of high-volume inkjet printers designed for business use has helped to reduce this gap cost. It’s difficult to say which printer has the advantage. In most cases, it will vary based on the models you look at. Cartridge subscriptions and bulk refills can be an option for both inkjet and laser printers. This can be another way to lower costs.
When looking at pricing, it’s also important to look at the cost of accessories. Items like transfer rollers, drums, pick rollers, and fusers should be considered. It may be necessary to replace these parts from time to time, especially if you choose a high-end laser printer and use it frequently.
Managing Duty Cycles and Paper
When assessing any type of laser printer, it’s important to take a close look at the tray volume. Consider how often you’ll have to load paper. Decide if the paper tray is capable of meeting your office’s needs.
Naturally, you’ll want to make sure that the paper tray has an acceptable capacity. You may also want to see if it’s possible to add additional trays. There are models that allow you to stack trays beneath the body of the printer, like the Lexmark MC2535adwe. You may also want to see if the printer has some sort of bypass slot that can hold additional media, like envelopes. You should also make sure that the output tray is a suitable size for the largest documents you’re likely to print.
The term “duty cycle” is used to describe the maximum number of pages that should be printed per month. Going past that limit can put unnecessary strain on a printer. You may see a recommended duty cycle for a printer as well as a maximum duty cycle, which is the absolute limit on the number of pages that should be printed each month. Looking at this specification can give you a much clearer picture of what a printer is capable of. It can also give you a better sense of how large the printer’s paper trays should be. If a printer has a recommended duty cycle of 1,000 pages, a 500-page paper tray isn’t necessary.
If you’re going to be using a laser printer alongside desktop publishing tools for commercial print projects, you’ll want to confirm that the printer supports PostScript and PCL. In most cases, support for at least one page-description language (PDL) will be needed.
However, if this isn’t a feature that you need, you don’t have to pay more for it. Printer models that don’t have PDL support could be cheaper than comparable laser printer models.
Other Features You Should Seek Out
When you look at high-end laser printers, you can find many appealing features, including printers that are equipped with a hard drive, password protection for printing, network functionality, and touch screens. It’s very common for printers to be equipped with automatic duplexers, allowing you to print on both sides of a page with ease. For all-in-one printers, popular features include scanning flatbeds and automatic document feeders (ADFs) that can scan, copy, and fax documents that span multiple pages. If you intend to copy or scan piles of documents, this is a feature that you’ll want to have access to.
When you look at high-end models, you may even see printers that are capable of scanning two-sided pages automatically. There are models that can scan one side before flipping the document over so that the other side can be scanned. This is known as a reversing ADF. There are also duplex scanners that have scanning sensors on top of and below a page. This makes it possible to scan both sides of a document in one go. If you’re looking for the fastest option, a duplex scanner is your best choice. While this can raise the price of a printer, it’s less complex mechanically. In some cases, you may also be able to add reversing ADF functionality to your printer by purchasing an additional mechanism. This can be a way to upgrade a printer to meet your changing needs. If you don’t need ADF technology right now, but think you may want to use it in the future, you may want to look for a model that offers these kinds of add-ons.
You should also be aware that some printers are equipped with security features. These features are designed with offices in mind, and they may be too much in some environments. If you print sensitive documents in an open office, these kinds of features can be very valuable. If your printer has the right capabilities, you can have a printer hold a document until the appropriate PIN is entered. That way, only the person printing the document will be able to see it.
Some models, like the Brother HL-L9310CDW, can require you to tap your ID card to access a printer.
There are also features such as access controls and print-volume tracking. If you’re looking to reduce toner usage, you may be able to limit who is able to print in colour. These kinds of features can be an excellent option for businesses. While some features can increase the cost of a printer, it can also save money over time.
What’s the Difference Between LED and Laser Printers?
There are many similarities between LED and laser printers. These printers use diodes that emit light instead of lasers, but they’re still laser-class printers. In most cases, they’re not as large as laser printers with similar features and capabilities. That makes them a solid option for small offices with limited space.
LED printers are very similar to laser printers in most areas, particularly when it comes to features, the quality of output, and their overall appearance. If you’re interested in looking at LED printers, Xerox, Brother, and OKI are among the brands you should consider.
How Can You Find the Right Laser Printer for You?
Laser printing technology can be an excellent fit for many businesses, large and small. In some situations, they can also be a solid option for use in the home. If you’re considering investing in a laser printer, you’ll have an impressive range of options at many different price points. You should look at your needs, your budget, and consider the overall quality of the printer. Compare different models so that you can find the right printer for you. Reading reviews and looking at buying guides can also point you in the right direction.