Inkjet printers vs. laser printers: which one’s right for you?

Here at BestTechie, we do a lot of analysis when it comes to tech. What kind of phone should you buy? What’s the best travel laptop? A lot of what we look at involves the tech you interact with every day — the kinds of gadgets you’d have a hard time avoiding.

But we’re fairly certain you haven’t put iPhone-or-Android-level thought into the type of printer you purchase. And if you’re a heavy printer, you should definitely know the pros and cons of the different types of printers out there. So today, we talk about what makes inkjet printers and laser printers different, why one may be better for you than the other, and where you can find all in one printer reviews.

The basic difference

Inkjets use liquid ink. If you’ve ever fumbled around with an inkjet cartridge you thought was empty, you’ve probably noticed the smudged black or colored ink on your fingertips (that you hopefully didn’t transfer to your clothes). Inkjets, according to Windows Central, use “hundreds of tiny guns” to shoot ink at a page, assembling tons of small ink dots into the image you see on paper.

Laser printers, on the other hand, use toner, which is powdered ink. The printers in this case use a special laser-powered heating process to transfer that powdered ink onto a page with incredible clarity. If you’ve ever pulled a freshly printed page out of a laser printer, you’ve probably noticed it’s a bit warm. That is the result of the aforementioned process.

Getting your money’s worth

Between the two choices — inkjet printers and laser printers — which one is going to save you money?

In the short term, inkjet printers are definitely where it’s at. The cartridges are cheaper, and you probably have a better shot at walking into a Walmart and finding the cartridge you need. The problem with cheap when it comes to printers, though, is that you’re sacrificing longevity for savings. And to be honest, what you’re printing out just doesn’t look as good.

The folks at Forbes believe that “you get what you pay for” when it comes to printers, which is why they recommend you select a laser printer if given the choice. Laser toner, while more expensive, simply lasts longer. And if you’re a stickler for print quality, laser printers win in that category, too.

Finding the printer that’s right for you

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Either type of printer can work out in your setup depending on your needs. Knowing how to choose the best printer in each category, though, can be a challenge. We recommend you check out sites like PC Magazine, The Wirecutter and Best Advisers to get a handle on what best meets your needs and what fits your budget.

Have some all-in-one inkjet or laser printer recommendations you’d like to share? By all means, feel free to post them below!

About the author

— Shawn Farner

Shawn Farner is a Harrisburg-based tech blogger who has been involved in online media for over eight years. He covers consumer electronics, Web companies, and gaming.

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