A printer is a simple piece of technology to acquire. To understand printer specifications, you don’t need to be fluent in techno-jargon, and there are generally fewer specs to consider than when shopping for computers. However, there is one significant technological difference that you should be aware of.
When purchasing a new printer for your home or office, you must choose between an inkjet printer and a laser printer. This is the most important decision you will make when selecting a printer. What is the distinction between an inkjet and a laser printer? Which printer is best for you? Let’s compare the two.
What is the difference between an inkjet and a laser printer?
An inkjet printer prints documents with ink, whereas a laser printer prints documents with a laser. Isn’t it straightforward? In addition, the different printing processes impact each printer’s speed, functions, and image quality.
How an inkjet printer works
Ink cartridges are used in inkjet printers. Here’s how the ink gets onto the paper:
- The printer processes an image or document from a device (computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.).
- Hundreds of small nozzles or jets are positioned throughout the printer and spray ink droplets onto a sheet of paper as it passes by.
- The nozzle is heated by electricity to release an ink droplet. Because of the heat, the ink expands in a bubble and squirts onto the paper through the nozzle.
- When the ink bubble collapses, a vacuum is created, drawing more ink from the ink cartridge into the nozzle, ready to release the next droplet.
- A single character is made up of many droplets.
- To create new characters, the nozzles are attached to a printhead that can move left and right across the paper.
How a laser printer works
Despite the name, static electricity is the main phenomenon that occurs to get images and text on the page. Remember that opposites attract when it comes to static electricity, and only positive and negative charges stick together. A laser printer cleverly manipulates static electricity to attach toner to a sheet of paper. Laser toner is powdered ink that has a grainier texture than regular ink.
This is how a laser printer works:
- A device’s image or document is processed by the printer, which employs high-voltage circuits to charge some of its components.
- The “photoreceptor drum” is a revolving drum that has a positive electric charge applied to it.
- A laser beam collides with a mirror. The laser is reflected onto the photoreceptor drum by the mirror.
- The mirror moves so that the image on the photoreceptor drum is “drawn” out while the laser is beaming.
- The positive charge is replaced by a negative charge wherever the laser strikes the photoreceptor drum. The mirror has essentially drawn a negatively charged shape onto a positively charged canvas.
- Toner is thrown onto the drum. The toner is positively charged and adheres to the laser-outlined negatively charged areas of the drum. To put it simply, the toner “colours within the lines.”
- A sheet of paper is fed into the printer. A strong negative charge is applied to the paper.
- The paper’s negative charge pulls grains of toner from the drum onto the sheet of paper as it passes through the drum. As a result, toner grains adhere to the paper’s surface.
- The electric charge on the paper is removed. The toner grains are fused into the paper using heat and pressure as they pass through hot rollers.
What are the best inkjet printer applications?
Invest in an inkjet printer if you need to print high-quality colour images. These printers have more tonal variety and are better at colour blending. In addition, inkjet printers can print on various types of paper, including glossy paper. Laser printers can’t print on any heat-sensitive paper. However, inkjet printers are slower to print than laser printers, and their paper trays are smaller. Furthermore, inkjet cartridges are more expensive. So, inkjet printers are better if you print less frequently or only a few pages at a time.
What are the best laser printer applications?
You should invest in a laser printer if you print many black and white documents. These printers have high-capacity paper trays, allowing them to print more pages at once. In addition, they are also designed to print thousands of pages per month without succumbing to wear and tear. However, colour photos are not printed as well by laser printers as they are by inkjet printers. They can print basic images for everyday use but are not designed to print gallery-quality photos. As a result, they’re not ideal for photographers or designers. Furthermore, laser printers are bulkier and heavier than inkjet printers, making them difficult to accommodate in a home office, although some models are more compact. Still, they are ideal for office use because of their high printing capacity.