It appears you are blocking scripts.

User's browsing experience may vary drastically without enabling Javascript!

Please enable javascript in your browsers settings to have a proper viewing experience!

The Differences Between Laser vs Inkjet Printers Skip to main content


The Differences Between Laser vs Inkjet Printers

Wed May 31, 2023


Inkjet and laser printers each have their benefits for teams. Sometimes the hardest part about equipping your office with one of these devices is figuring out the difference between the two. But just like with any technology, printers aren’t one-size-fits-all. Some teams require heavier paper output, while others will only be printing on occasion. Each of these instances requires a completely different device.

Before getting too far ahead of yourself, start at step one: learning what the difference is between inkjet and laser printers. This will serve as a building block for the rest of your buying journey. It’s important to first know the benefits and downsides of both, giving you a better sense about which is right for your team.

The Basic Differences Between Inkjet and Laser Printers:

They can’t be that different, right? In truth, laser and inkjet printers were designed with very specific print needs in mind. The devices are equipped with completely different supplies as a result.

Inkjet printers are probably the ones you’ve heard of most. They are usually the ones that people will buy for not only their home offices, but also for recreational use. These devices are more compact and less expensive than their laser counterparts. This makes them favourable for offices that are limited on space and on a tighter budget. Inkjets are equipped with liquid ink supplies, and they recreate images by casting drops of this ink onto paper as it prints.

In contrast, laser printers are fast and reliable machines that are usually favoured by larger organizations of teams who require quick paper output. Interestingly enough, they’re also better for teams who have less frequent paper output needs, as the ink powder supplies that they use (toner) won’t dry out over time. Laser printers electrostatically create a pattern of dots. Using a light-sensitive drum, the toner is attracted to and stuck to the page as it prints.   

To sum up, inkjet printers:

  • Use liquid ink supplies
  • Are favoured by small offices and teams on a tight budget
  • Are very common (meaning there’s lots of available options!)

Laser printers are different because they:

  • Use dry ink powder
  • Work better for larger organizations
  • Have supplies that won’t dry out if not used for an extended period of time

Now that you know the difference, it’s time to figure out which is best for you. There are three factors you should look at: the cost, the quality of your prints, and the maximum print speed that each device can reach.

The Cost of Owning a Laser Printer vs an Inkjet Printer 

The three most important things to consider when buying any printer is the initial cost, the print speed, and the quality of your documents. While both inkjet and laser printers can be used for teams of various sizes, there are some unique differences between the two that cannot be overlooked. Specifically, the initial cost will no doubt be one of the primary things you consider as you make your decision. 

The Cost of an Inkjet Printer

Inkjet and laser printers differ vastly in price. Inkjets tend to be more cost-effective at the start. The price of the initial machine is often lower, making them the affordable option. But the cost-scale begins to tip in a laser printer’s favour when you look at the supply costs. Inkjets use liquid ink, which has the unfortunate possibility of drying out before your team gets a chance to print. You’re also likely to replace the cartridge more often, as inkjets only print typically 2,000 to 2,500 pages before needing a refill (Digital Trends).

Cost Pros for Inkjets:

  • Initial price of machine is less
  • Initial cost of ink is lower than toner

Cost Cons for Inkjets:

  • Ink can dry out from lack of use, meaning more supplies is needed
  • Keeping extra ink on hand can drive up costs

Ink and Toner Supplies for Printers and Copiers

The Cost of a Laser Printer

Laser printers are more expensive devices at first. The cost of the machine is pricier than an inkjet, and the cost of their supplies is also often higher. That being said, when looking at the long-term investment, laser printers are superior. These printers use dry ink powder, meaning there’s no chance of wasting supplies if your team is printing less often. And even if they’re printing a lot, laser printers can still be the better choice. They can handle much larger paper outputs than an inkjet can, with some devices able to print up to 20,000 pages before needing new toner (Digital Trends).

Cost Pros for Laser Printers: 

  • You get more prints out of toner as compared to ink
  • Toner won’t be wasted if you’re printing less frequently 

Cost Cons for Laser Printers:

  • Initial price of the device is higher
  • Initial price of the supplies is higher

Figuring out your cost and budget is just one step in the decision-making process. After calculating the price of the supplies and the machine itself, it’s important to take a step back and reflect on why you’re buying the printer in the first place. Is it quick paper output you need, or is it quality images that you’re most looking for? Inkjets and laser printers were built with different output needs in mind, and this could make or break your office’s print productivity.  

Paint a Pretty Picture or Print in a Flash

Knowing the specs you most require in a printer is essential for deciding between an inkjet or laser printer. A common spec you’ll hear referenced a lot in printer buying guides is DPI, this refers to the dots per inch and how fast your printer can produce them. Whether the supplies used is liquid ink or toner, the page will be covered in tiny dots all the same. These are what create the image or text that you’re printing. 


If your printer has a high DPI, that means it will give you a more quality image. This can matter for people looking to print marketing materials, such as brochures, or handouts for presentations. While for text documents, a high DPI matters a lot less.

If you’re looking for beautiful images, then inkjets will be better for you. Inkjets tend to have a higher DPI, with max resolutions hitting up to 5,000 DPI. The machines also can print on various paper types, such as glossy paper, whereas laser printers can’t because of how hot their drums get. Because of how simple and compact they can be, inkjets also have several portable printer options, making them perfect for marketers, engineers, and architects on the go. A great choice for portable inkjet printers is the HP OfficeJet 250. This device is hassle-free and comes with a long battery life. It also prints beautiful images, making it the ideal print travel companion.

Canon imageCLASS X MF1127C

In contrast, laser printers have lower DPIs and are more often suited for quicker paper output. While you might have to sacrifice image quality, there will be a significant boost to your paper output. For offices who focus more on text documents, such as those in the legal, healthcare, and education fields, faster Canon ImageClasspaper output is much more important. Laser printers have maximum outputs of up to 100 pages per minute and produce reliable text documents quicker than an inkjet could. Some of the most reliable laser devices are the Canon imageCLASS printers. In our top picks for 2023 blog, we featured a particularly reliable desk-sized device. The imageCLASS X MF1127c is compact and speedy, making it the perfect device for teams looking to make the most out of their office space or for home office workers who still want to print many text documents reliably.

The More You Know, the Better Your Productivity!

And there you have it! The differences between inkjets and laser printers are numerous, and it’s important to take some time to closely examine the functions and features of your desired device before purchase. The same applies to leasing or renting a printer, as you won’t want to be stuck in a contract with a device that’s not optimal for your workflows.

Still have questions about inkjets and laser printers? The UniTech team is happy to help in any way we can.

Feel free to reach out to one of our representatives today!

Contact Us