Laser printer or inkjet printer – which is right for you?

Buying a printer? Compare costs, benefits and ink in our inkjet vs laser head-to-head…

Laser and inkjet printers may essentially do the same thing, but they use very different technologies. Each has its own pros and cons, so what type of printer do you need?Printers

What am I printing?

Whether you’re a student printing creative design projects or a family wanting to print everything from photos to homework assignments – it’s easier to decide on a type of printer by weighing up the benefits of each.

As well as what you’re printing, think about how much you’ll be printing. The more you print, the more you’ll need to consider ink costs.


Do I need an all-in-one?

It depends if you want to scan and copy as well as print. Most inkjet printers these days are all-in-one models – great if you need scan and copy features, and a bonus if you’re unsure.


Going wireless

Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print are two solutions to the problem of installing printer drivers on your phone or tablet. They use your Wi-Fi to detect compatible devices so you can print from anywhere in your home from your iPhone, iPad or Android device.


Inkjet printers

In a nutshell: A great all-rounder – cheap to buy, don’t need a lot of desk space and great for printing photos.

The cheap and relatively compact inkjet printer leads the home printing revolution. So if you already have a printer at home, it’s probably an inkjet.Printer

How does it work?

Inkjet printers use high pressure to spray liquid through tiny nozzles onto your page – hence the name inkjet. The liquid ink is stored in airtight foil cartridges which can be replaced fairly easily.

Key benefits:

  • Affordable – you can get one for as little as £30
  • Ink cartridges are usually cheaper than toner (which laser printers use), so this can mean big cost savings if you’re only printing occasional essays and photos
  • Compact enough to fit into tiny home office spaces or student digs
  • Better quality photos than laser printers. They work better with photo paper to produce deeper blacks and smoother colour gradients
  • Copy and scan too – most inkjet printers are all-in-one models


What about costs?

Inkjet printers are cheaper to buy outright, but can be more expensive in the long run – ink cartridges don’t last as long, so if you’re printing a lot, costs can stack up. You can save money by printing on both sides of the paper. Not all printers have this functionality, so look out for ‘auto-duplexing’.


Why not try…

Get ink delivered to your door with the HP Envy 5546. This all-in-one printer and scanner is compatible with HP Instant Ink – the ink-to-your-door service that knows when your printer is about to run out and automatically orders more ink. It’s a fantastic printer: comfortable with colourful family photos and crisp black and white documents. And printing from your iPhone or iPad is easy too.

Get the HP Envy 5546

HP Envy

Laser printers

In a nutshell: Bigger and bulkier than inkjet printers but brilliant at printing high volume black and white text documents.

Ever used an office printer or printed work in your uni library? Those will probably be laser printers.


How does it work?

Instead of liquid ink, laser printers use toner cartridges, which contain powder. The image you want to print is scanned and then fused to the paper using specs of toner dust.

Key benefits:

  • Fast printing – laser printers can print an average of 10 pages per minute
  • Laser precision gives crisp and clear text and graphics
  • Cheaper to run – toner cartridges last longer than ink, so you get more prints for your money


What about costs?

While laser printers are more expensive to buy, they can actually be cheaper to run in the long term. Toner cartridges can print a lot more pages than ink cartridges – so if you regularly print high volumes of documents from your home office there are savings to be made.


What else?

You’ll need a lot more room for a laser printer and they’re also noisier when printing – something to consider if you’ve got limited space at home.


Why not try…

If you want to print lots of Word documents, letters and emails, you’ll love the HP LaserJet Pro M12w. It only prints in black and white, but offers super-sharp professional quality, and you can print wirelessly. Perfect for home offices and family businesses.

Get the HP LaserJet Pro M12wHP laserjet

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