Difference Between Laser Printers and Inkjet Printers

By Arindam Roy

For most of us,  laser and inkjet printers are devices that we use to print our work. There are many differences between the two devices. Read on to find out!

Comparison: Laser Printer vs Inkjet Printers

A laser printer produces quality high-speed printing without the use of ribbons and ink cartridges. While an inkjet printer can create fine lines and sharp text, it needs a constant supply of different ribbons and inks to produce quality prints on paper. Laser printers typically have a high-quality finish while most printer inks used by inkjet printers appear rough and grainy at bigger sizes.


Laser printers are not only widely available but also affordable. The quality of the printing process of a laser printer is also commendable.  It is usually perfect for printing a black and white copy on plain paper. Laser printers use the principle of heating on demand, through an electronic process to produce fast results in high quality.

Laser printing is also considered safe, eco-friendly and reliable because it does not require any liquids for the image to be produced on paper. You can use various laser printers for personal office work in places like banks, corporations or even at home for your professional or personal needs.

Laser printers are used in a variety of fields including medical, scientific and even decorative fields like architecture.  They can be found anywhere for home use as well as in offices, shops or schools. Because a laser printer does not need ribbons or ink cartridges, they are usually more affordable than an inkjet printer. Inkjet Printers: Make your way through the comparison of Laser Print vs Inkjet Printers and find out their pros and cons the differences between these two popular technologies.

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Comparison: Paper Size

Both laser and inkjet printers have different paper sizes for you printing needs. You can print at any size according to your preference with either a laser printer or an inkjet printer. Laser printers have letter paper, legal paper and A4 paper tray size options. You can print on a variety of sizes with an inkjet printer.  However, it is best suited for printing on A4 or US letter sized paper.

Comparison: Speed and Resolution Laser printers are faster than inkjet printers in comparison. You can expect to receive results with a laser printer in less time than an inkjet printer. Laser printers have the ability to print at very high speeds due to their utilization of electro-photographic technology. This gives them the advantage over other printing technologies, including thermal inkjet and impact dot-matrix printer technologies which are not as fast as laser devices in comparison.

Comparison: Fax and Copier Capability

You can use an inkjet printer as a fax machine or to make copies with the right equipment. Though you can use a laser printer to fax, it is not a common use. You can use both an inkjet printer or a laser printer to make copies. However, for making copies, using a laser printer is preferred because the machine itself does not heat up as much when running the copying process. Laser printers are therefore safe to be used in offices with people around them without any health hazards being caused by the production of heat.

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Comparison: Paper Type

Both inkjet and laser printers can use different types of paper. Laser printers can work on plain paper, bond paper, recycled paper, cardstock and photo paper. Though both laser and inkjet printers can be used to print on a variety of papers, you will find that many laser printers are limited to printing only on plain or bond paper like the HP Color LaserJet CP1025n Printer (pictured).

Inkjet printers can also use almost all different types of papers including photo-quality papers like the Canon PIXMA MX892 Wireless AirPrint Compatible All in One Multifunction Personal Inkjet Printer. Photos can be printed directly from a digital camera or memory card with this printer.

Comparison: Resolution

Laser printers have the advantage of providing high-quality imagery with a higher resolution than that of an inkjet printer. This means that the printed letters and images look highly precise in comparison to an inkjet printer. Laser printers have a resolution of 1200 dpi or more as compared to an inkjet printer with a resolution of 720 dpi or less. You will be able to print text and pictures clearly with your laser printer while they are not high-resolution enough to do so on an inkjet printer.

Comparison: Color Printing Ability Color printing is possible in both laser and inkjet printers. The color process in a laser printer is different from that of an inkjet printer. Laser printers utilize four heads, red, green, blue and yellow to produce colors. This process is known as four-color CMYK printing and involves the combination of cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks.

Inkjet printers use three heads for producing separate inks with borderless printing capabilities. In contrast to laser printers, inkjet printers make use of just three technologies: the dye-sublimation technology developed by HP (HP Z3200 Series), the electrophotographic technology developed by Canon (Canon MX922), and the electrostatic technology made famous by Epson (Epson R2000).

Each inkjet printer has different inks that are used to produce colors: Canon printers use the Canon ChromaLife100+ ink, HP uses the Vivera inks, and Epson uses a combination of Claria and DURABRITE K3 inks.

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Comparison: Print Quality

Both laser and inkjet printers can produce quality prints. Laser printers can provide extremely high-resolution images. Inkjet printers tend to have a more vivid print as compared to that produced by a laser printer. This is because they have larger ink droplets than laser printers which give them an advantage over them when printing photographs and other images requiring smooth color blends.

Comparison: Printer Head Life

While the type of printer is not a factor to consider when considering printer head life, it is still a factor to be considered when comparing different printers. The main reason for the replacement of heads in inkjet printers is due to clogging while laser printer heads tend to wear out with time. Laser printers use a fuser assembly which melts the toner and fix it onto the paper, while the fuser in an inkjet printer tends to wear out.

Comparison: Storage Capacity

With storage capacity being an important consideration for most people when making the decision on which type of quality printer to buy, both laser and inkjet printers have their own storage capacities. Inkjet printers have a maximum storage capacity of 35 sheets, while the laser printers can store 120 sheets. Some laser printers have a storage capacity of 156 pages, which is 12 times that of an inkjet printer.

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Comparison: Compatibility

Although laser and inkjet printers are considered to be mutually incompatible in some instances, it is not always the case. The printer cartridge used by an inkjet printer can be used with a laser printer when the cartridge has been altered. It can also be possible to adapt a page layout for both types of printers when they are being used together. In the end, incompatibilities may not affect the purchase of either type of printer if compatibility is not required in any way shape or form.

Comparison: Picture Quality

When it comes to picture quality, inkjet and laser printers have their own way of outputting the results. It is considered that laser printers produce sharper and better quality images, but at the expense of speed, while inkjet printers have a limited ability to reproduce true colors, but are faster in comparison to laser printers.

Comparison: Speed of Printing

Laser printers can print up to 15 pages in just one minute when they are printing speed test documents. Most inkjet printers take as long as 4 minutes to print the same amount of pages. The reason for this is due to the way they use their print heads. Laser printers use a single print head, while inkjet printers use multiple print heads. Inkjet printers are generally slower when it comes to printing several pages in a row.

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Comparison: Speed of Printing

The fastest printer today is the laser printer as it can print 15 pages per minute. Meanwhile, the fastest inkjet printer is only able to achieve 12 pages per minute. Comparing both types of printers, it’s clear that lasers are faster than inks in printing documents. However, this advantage will only be experienced when printing plain black and white documents using laser printers and not in color laser printers due to their slow speed while printing colored graphics on paper such as photographs.

The high-level structure of the document was extracted by a sequential algorithm named SplitEdge which is very simple and have the highest performance while the low-level details were captured by a sequential algorithm named SplitNode which considered an original node as a special subgraph. The performance in terms of printed documents was measured via experiments. The result showed that the proposed algorithms can improve the printing time of laser printers, especially when printing colored graphics on paper such as photographs.


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