Even though modern printing technology is faster and less expensive than ever before, it is not always evident which type of printer is the most appropriate for a certain project. If you make the wrong decision, you might spend hundreds of dollars more each year on printer consumables – specifically, ink or toner.
Inkjet printers print with the help of ink, and it is a clear liquid that has been colored with pigments or dyes. On the other hand, toner is a fine powder used in laser printers to print text and graphics.
Home and commercial printing are done with inkjet and laser printers, which may be used for various tasks such as generating prints from digital photos or speeding through dozens of pages of text in a short period. However, how they apply the substance to a sheet of paper is vastly different.
Inkjet printers spew tiny droplets of ink onto paper through nozzles similarly small in size. To put it another way, consider the nozzles as small water hoses that switch on and off thousands of times each second. Ink is sent through the nozzles by sophisticated printer software in exact patterns that create your latest haiku or an image of your cat relaxing on your keyboard, among other things.
On the other hand, laser printing technology is a little more complicated. This is because toner does not attach to paper in the same manner that a liquid-based ink does.
A large portion of toner is composed of finely ground polyester, which is a kind of plastic. Polyethylene powder, similar to the static charge that keeps your trousers stuck to your thighs, may carry a mission that attracts anything with negative control.
When using one of these printers, a laser makes an electrostatic template of the pictures you want on a revolving metal disc with an electrical charge applied to it. A cartridge sprays toner onto the drum, but the toner only adheres to select areas of the drum — such as the contour of your kitty’s soft tummy — where the laser affects the drum’s electrical charge seen in the image below.
Is it better to use liquid or powder?
Inkjet printers require ink cartridges, typically comprised of one of the colors cyan, magenta, yellow, or black. Individual cartridges can be replaced when the colors in them get exhausted.
Most laser printers, particularly low-cost versions, can only print in black. When the black toner cartridge runs out, replace it with a new one. Color printing is available on more expensive laser printers, but it requires different toner cartridges for each color.
The most widespread technology at the consumer level is inkjet printers, which are quite inexpensive. This is because printers are very affordable, at less than $100. However, the cost of ink per page may come as a surprise. Whether you print large text or many pictures, the cost-per-page for an inkjet printer can range from $0.05 to $0.75, depending on how much you print.
The cheapest laser printers are more than $100 and can only print in monochrome, making them ineffective. Color laser printers are (at the very least) twice as expensive as their monochrome counterparts, and in some situations, their toner may be even more costly than inkjet ink in the long term.
The cost-effectiveness of your printer selection may be dictated by the volume of work you do. An inkjet printer will suffice if you only print a few hundred pages each year. If you print hundreds of pages, on the other hand, a laser printer will save you a significant amount of money over time.
If you want to print large text, a laser printer is better for your needs. These versions can print pages at a rate of 20 pages per minute or quicker (two to three times faster than many inkjets), and the text quality is sharper and more accurate than any inkjet on the market today.
Whether you choose an ink- or toner-based printer, make sure to read user evaluations on each model you are considering purchasing. You’ll end up obtaining the type of printer you need without going over your technological budget limit.