Inkjet vs laser – Which is right for me?
For domestic purposes, or cases where fewer than 1,000 pages will be printed annually, an inkjet printer is the less expensive option (model and manufacturer dependent, of course).
However, if your printing quantities are set to exceed 2,000 copies per year, then the laser option is more cost effective.
An inkjet printer is less expensive to buy in the first place, but has greater upkeep costs. A laser printer is a more costly piece of kit, but tends to be easier to maintain. Toner is also less expensive than ink in terms of cost per page, especially in a business context, where print quantity exceeds 20,000 copies per year.
Hewlett Packard are responsible for manufacturing over 50% of the printers sold in the UK, making HP printers the most popular choice.
HP’s best-selling model, the HP Deskjet 3050A inkjet printer, retails for around £90. Cartridges for the 3050A cost in the region of £10-£15, and will last for 165 colour pages/190 monochrome pages.
Comparatively, the best-selling laser printer manufactured by HP is the HP CP2025 colour LaserJet. With a retail price of £300 and toner cartridges coming in at £110, the initial costs of investing in a laser printer are very high. However, with a print yield of 2,800 colour pages/3,500 monochrome pages, once you’ve invested in a laser printer, the production costs are relatively minimal.
Inkjet vs laser in a nutshell
Inkjet printers are initially less expensive than laser printers, but have higher long-term running costs.
This is because the ink is costly, while the complexity of an inkjet mechanism makes it susceptible to breakages.
- If you’re looking for the most economical, long-term printing solution, then a laser printer is the best option. Despite the hefty initial investment, their higher toner yield and a lower risk of malfunction make them the best option in terms of value for money.
- In terms of image quality, inkjet printers produce crisper and more refined lines at a higher resolution than a laser printer can achieve. So, if your business does a lot of photographic printing, design printouts, blueprint or graphic production, then an inkjet printer will best serve this purpose.
- Industrial printers are more specialised, and will suit businesses in need of label and packaging printing. Meanwhile, a wide-format printer is necessary for those looking to print the likes of banners, wallpaper and large-scale graphics.
If you need more information on different printer types to help you make the best decision for your office space, take a look at our best small business printers page.
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