Unlike inkjet printers, which deposit tiny drops of liquid ink onto the paper, laser printers use a laser to create the document. They generate a highly focused beam of light that is then directed across the photoreceptors, which are lenses and mirrors that collect and focus the light. The beam is then sent on to the paper. This process has been refined over the years, and is now commonplace.
Although the initial cost of a laser printer may be higher, the price per page is considerably lower. In addition, the printing process is faster and more precise. The resulting image is sharp and crisp. As a result, monthly print volumes are far greater for a laser printer. Most models can reach thousands of pages per month. A cheaper black and white laser printer may only cost around 6 cents per page, but a more expensive model can drop that figure to as low as 2 cents.
In addition to the costs involved in purchasing a laser printer, you will also have to consider the running costs of your printer. You will have to buy the appropriate consumables, such as paper, ink, and toner. These costs are billed in cents per A4 page. You can calculate your own running costs by multiplying the number of pages your printer will print with the price of your ink or toner cartridge.
The “big” number that you should look for when comparing a laser printer to an inkjet printer is the resolution. The higher the dpi, the sharper the picture will be. A printer with 600 dpi can handle a full-color letter-size page with no problem. For colored documents, however, it’s usually best to go for a printer with a resolution of at least 1200 dpi.
The other big item you should take into account when comparing laser and inkjet printers is the paper they use. While the ink in a laser printer can change the color of the paper, an inkjet printer simply deposits the ink onto the surface of the paper.
The most expensive part of any printer is the ink. Toner powder is the main ingredient in a laser printer, and is more costly than the liquid ink found in an inkjet. Toner powder is composed of silica, various organic compounds, and plastic. The toner is bonded to the paper, so it does not wash off. It can be replaced, but you have to move the toner cartridge side to side to distribute the toner. This is an annoying process and can cause problems with prints.
Fortunately, many printer manufacturers are making a point to recycle their toner. In fact, all major printer manufacturers offer free cartridge recycling programs. In some cases, these programs can save you a ton of money. This is especially helpful if you are printing in bulk, as the savings add up quickly.
One last important item to note is that the cost per page for both types of printers will vary. For example, a cheap black and white laser printer will only be a few cents more than a comparable inkjet printer. But if you want to print in color, you’ll have to spend more.