Laser printers are devices that create precise beams of light to form a print. They were first invented at the Xerox PARC laboratory in the 1970s. Over the years, they’ve become widely adopted. Today, they are considered workhorses of the office. These types of printers are usually more expensive than inkjet printers, but they can produce large amounts of documents at faster speeds.

Unlike inkjet printers, laser printers do not require the alignment of print heads. In addition, they are more environmentally friendly and are able to print on a wide range of paper types. Toner, which is dry powder, is used in these printers. It contains a variety of organic compounds, including silica, linseed oil, and plastics.

Printer toner is a powdered print medium, often stored in a single cartridge. Depending on the manufacturer, the cartridge may be made of a different material than the toner. Some manufacturers offer an alternative to ink cartridges, including CISS and Instant Ink. Whether you choose to purchase these options or not, the printer will require a minimum of four toner cartridges.

For color printing, a laser printer requires four toner cartridges. Each of these cartridges has four CMYK toner layers. Those layers are preprocessed before the printer prints them. The process can be used for both black and white and color prints. This means that you can save money on paper by choosing different printing modes.

The resolution of a color laser printer is measured in dots per inch (dpi). There are three standard dpi levels, including 600, 1200, and 300. Higher dpi can be useful in some circumstances, such as sharp photos. However, in most cases, 600 dpi is sufficient for high-quality color documents. If you need a higher resolution, consider a two- or four-cartridge model.

Compared to inkjet printers, these machines are also much smaller. They have a smaller print volume, and therefore, the cost of each page is less. Also, they are designed for home use.

Color ink is usually dye-based, but some printers utilize compounds to create colored inks. Dye-based inks can fade and smudge. You can avoid this by using grayscale or “draft” options. Alternatively, you can choose to print on paper with a lower dpi.

When buying a laser printer, make sure you have enough memory for your printing needs. You need at least four megabytes of memory for monochrome printing, and 16 megabytes for full-color printing.

In addition, check to see if your printer supports cloud printing services. For example, Google Cloud Print will allow you to print from your Google apps. Many printer manufacturers, including Lexmark, support this feature. Other popular cloud services include Dropbox, Evernote, and Microsoft OneDrive.

Aside from the standard features, some models have USB ports and mobile printing apps. You can also look for cost-efficient printers with WiFi connectivity and auto-duplexing. Purchasing a machine with these features can help you save a significant amount of money over time.

A lot of people are frustrated with their printer ink cartridges. Fortunately, all major printer manufacturers provide free cartridge recycling programs.