Posted on June 6, 2024 in Technology

Laser Vs. Inkjet: How Do They Compare?

From our last article, you now know that inkjets are pricier in the long run than laser printers due to ink cost. But why?


Inkjet printers work by spraying the page with a little bit of ink in a very precise jet. There are two kinds, although one is patented by Epson: in the first method, ink is heated to boiling, which causes it to shoot out of the ink nozzle onto the page where it quickly cools down and sticks. The second method, the piezo-electric method, sends an electrical charge to a crystal inside the cartridge, which causes it to vibrate and force ink out of the nozzle. (Watches and some alarms use piezoelectric crystals too – piezoelectricity uses a crystal to convert mechanical energy, like pressing or twisting, into electrical energy, or vice versa. Read more here: ).

Inkjets are widely renowned for their color quality and high dpi (dots per inch) resolution, something to consider if you’re printing a lot of pictures or content where exact color is important. While the color range of these printers is great, the issue with spraying liquid ink is that it can smear coming out of the printer! You have to be careful which kind of cartridge you buy to avoid this. Speaking of cartridges, inkjets are rather expensive in the long run: although the machine itself is cheap, the average cost per page printed is 10 to 30 cents depending on color and density, according to How To Geek. This is because the cartridges are generally pretty small and the ink itself is pretty pricey, no matter where you get it.


Laser printers are notably faster and cheaper per page than inkjets are, although they cost more upfront. A laser printer uses static electricity generated by lasers inside the machine to stick the ink powder (toner) to the drum, which is then rolled onto paper, and heated to melt the toner to the paper in the design required by the computer. While it’s less accurate than inkjets, it’s adequate for most things outside of photo-quality imaging or exact color matches with the benefit of speed. Your smallest possible fonts may come out more blurry on a laser printer than an inkjet, but it will be in your hands much faster. The toner cartridges are also generally cheaper and longer-lasting than their liquid ink counterparts, so the trade may be worth it, especially if you mostly print text anyway.

Dot- Matrix and Character

When printing technology was just starting to miniaturize for office use, the dot matrix printer – which physically touched the paper with the dot printer head when printing – reigned supreme. The wailing noise of a dot-matrix printer in movies, alongside their characteristic impressionist look on the page, has since been replaced by much quieter, faster, and more precise machines. Still, in the early days of printing, such a device was incredibly useful for any number of tasks requiring multiple hard copies of data. Just not pictures or anything too fine in quality. There are still a handful of places where they’re more useful than a newer design – for example, they’re still frequently used to print checks!

Their predecessor was better with numbers and letters, but as a whole not much better than a print press outside of their automation – character printers were the next logical step up from the typewriter, with an array of physical characters that would be pushed up against the ink ribbon and page to ‘type’ the print. Understandably, this printer can’t do much besides text, and font choices are limited to what is already inside the machine.