• Color Printer Showdown – Inkjet vs. Laser

    Read time (bolded): 2 minutes
    Read time (comprehensive): 8-10 minutes


    Of all aspects of the tech world, few are as incomprehensible as printers. If you’re in the market for a printer, how do you know what type to buy? If you know you want color, you’re in luck – nowadays there’s really only two types of color printers to consider. Let’s take a look at both and compare/contrast.

    Inkjet Printers: These printers spray tiny ionized drops of ink onto a page to create an image. Almost all inkjet printers are color printers and print at a resolution of 300 dots per inch – newer and fancier models may print at a DPI above that. Inkjet printers excel at producing wide color ranges by mixing basic, primary colors together. For reproducible color saturation and vibrancy, inkjet cannot be beat.

    • Wide color range
    • True-to-life color reproducibility
    • Great for photographs and pictures
    • Cheaper up-front; more expensive long term
    • Less efficient

    Laser Printers: Color laser printers are very versatile, as they use the same toner-based process as a b/w laser printer. These models work just like a copy machine: by shining a laser beam to make an image on a drum inside the printer; the drum is then coated in ‘toner’ so that only the electrically charged portions of the drum pick up ink. Via heat and pressure, the ink is then transferred from the drum to the paper. The advantages of laser printers are primarily their speed, although they also excel at producing crisp text in large page-volumes, which makes them perfect for business applications.

    • Fast and quiet
    • Crisp, readable text output
    • Dependable for high-volume printing
    • Not appropriate for photo printing
    • More expensive up-front; cheaper long term

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