Inkjet or laser printer?

Buying a printer is one of the more tricky purchases you’ll come across. You can buy a printer for less than $100 that seems to be capable of anything you’ll ever need for home or for a home office. But it’s not necessarily the best choice for you…and a wrong choice can become very expensive. Let’s look at different types of printers and what they are good at.

 

Inkjet

Inkjet printers are very versatile. They’ll print anything from letters to photos in a high quality. For the best print quality you'll need to invest in an assortment of papers and learn your printer's driver settings. Low-end models can be painfully slow…and painfully expensive to run if you print a lot.

The real cost of an inkjet printer is its replacement inks. Many of the cheaper models have low-capacity ink cartridges that run out with alarming frequency. Often the ink cartridges cost nearly as much as the printer itself. Cartridges that combine more than one colour can be a bad deal. As soon as the cartridge runs out of one colour, you have to replace them all. If you print a lot, look for a model with individual high-capacity cartridges for each colour. They cost more to buy but are much cheaper in the long run.

 

Laser

Colour laser printers are fast and produce good-looking documents cheaper than an inkjet printer. Their photo print quality is adequate for many uses but they lack the colour accuracy and print resolution to rival inkjet printers. Most models let you use glossy paper that make images look like real photos.

A low-end colour laser printer is significantly more expensive than the equivalent inkjet printer. But depending on how much you print, it may be far less expensive in the long run. And much faster…

Monochrome laser printers can cost as little as a low-end inkjet printer and is a much better choice if you mainly print text and have no need for colour prints. They are fast, reliable…and print cartridges cost a fraction of inkjet or colour laser cartridges.

 

Bottom-line

If you need to print at a very high quality – e.g. photos – and on a variety of print media an inkjet printer is by far your best choice. But the cheapest models are often the most expensive to run. If you print a lot, look for a model with individual high-capacity cartridges for each colour.

Colour laser printers are generally faster than inkjet printers and the cost per print is much lower. Compare the cost and capacities of print cartridges for different models before you buy. The cheapest model is not necessarily the cheapest in the long run.

Nothing beats the monochrome laser printer for cost, speed or reliability if you don’t need colour prints.

Visit your local Betta if you would like more advice and a good look at all the options. Or shop online now.

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