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Breaking it down: InkJet vs. Laser Printers

HP Photosmart 5510 B111A Multifunction Printer

If you’re in the market for a new printer checkout some of the pros and cons between laserjet and inkjet printers before you purchase! We have all the details here….

Ongoing costs

As you continue to use your new printer over a period of time, you’ll need to keep it supplied with appropriate consumables like paper and ink or toner. The ongoing running costs of printers are generally quoted in cents per A4 page. You can calculate this by dividing the number of pages an ink or toner cartridge can produce (this figure is provided by the manufacturer) by the price of the cartridge. This doesn’t include the cost of paper though (but this won’t change depending on the type of printers). Generally inkjet printers have a price per page of around 20 cents, although this includes both black and colour cartridges – if you intend to print only black, ongoing print costs are generally 7-8 cents per page. Cheap black-and-white laser printers have a price of around 6c per page on average. If you spend more on a laser printer, the cost per page generally drops quickly. Larger laser printers have additional ongoing costs when compared to inkjets: they often require an additional fuser cartridge or the replacement of parts with a maintenance kit.

Print speed and text print quality

When it comes to printing black and white text pages, laser printing is unbeatable. Even in low-end cheaper monochrome laser models you can expect print speeds of up to 20 pages per minute. Inkjets are significantly slower, with budget printers rarely printing more than 6 pages per minute of black text. For normal print sizes (of around 12pt and larger)text printing quality is similar between both laser and inkjet printing platforms. However, if your printing needs include printing small fonts then lasers are normally superior to inkjets, as the fusing technology better lends itself to the minute curves and dots of small text.

Colour printing and colour print quality

If you want to print colour – whether it’s a full-page colour photograph or simply a pie chart – you’ll almost certainly be better off with an inkjet printer. Colour laser printers are often bulky and quite expensive and generally aren’t suited to home or small office use. Even when comparing a colour laser printer to a colour inkjet, the inkjet is likely produce better colour images. Inkjet printers are able to reproduce subtle colour gradation in images where laser printers will display banding (distinct changes in colour saturation).


Size is an important consideration for some users. If you’re looking for something to fit into a small space on or underneath your desk, it’s hard to go past an inkjet printer. However, if you don’t need scanning or copying a single-function laser printer may be small enough to suit your needs.


If you’re buying based on price – and most consumers are – the choice between a laser printer and an inkjet is simple. If you can afford to pay a little more upfront and if you’ll only be printing black text documents, a laser printer is a convenient solution. Inkjet printers are far more versatile, which is important for home use, but you’ll pay more in ongoing running costs and will have slower print times. Choose carefully!


Tips to cut printing costs!

Who wants to pay more  than needed for printing? NOT US! Follow these tips for more efficient and costly printing solutions!

1. Print More than One Page Per Sheet

What simpler way is there to save paper than to print more than one page on each sheet? This works out especially well for PowerPoint presentations, where the bullet points can usually be easily read even with the smaller view. In the print dialog, just choose Handouts from the “Print what” drop-down, and then choose the number of slides per page you want. You can also save some ink by printing only in Grayscale.

You’ll find a similar setting in Microsoft Word’s print dialog as well, where you can choose the number of pages per sheet. I find that printing 2 pages per sheet keeps the document fairly readable.

Many laser printers also provide a simple duplex option that will print on both sides of the paper.

2. Use Print Preview and Shrink to Fit

How many times have you printed off what you thought was a single page document and ended up with an almost empty page at the end? If you always blindly click the print button without previewing first, you’re going to end up wasting a ton of ink and paper when your document ends on a single line, or ends up being unreadable. By using Print Preview you can avoid this from happening and print exactly what you want, at the expense of a couple of seconds of your time.

Firefox and Internet Explorer have an option called “Shrink to Fit” in their Print Preview dialogs which will often shrink the content down enough to fit on less pages, or you can choose a custom zoom level to fit even more on a single page.

3. Only Print the Selection You Need

Instead of printing information by the page, almost every application has a feature you might not have even noticed: the ability to print just a selection of text. This is especially helpful for printing a paragraph from a web page, or just a small section of a very long document or spreadsheet instead of throwing away the pages you don’t need. This technique works in most major applications like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Microsoft Excel & Word… simply select the portion of the document you want to print, and then choose the “Selection” option in the print dialog.

I’ve found this works especially well when printing off a blog article, since unfortunately very few blogs hide the comments from the print view, so you end up with half a dozen pages of comments. Note that you can also choose to print just certain pages, very useful when you can’t easily make a selection but know you just need a particular page. 

4. Print Multiple Selections on a Single Page

Instead of printing a single selection at a time, you can select multiple areas on the page and “clip” them for later printing on a single page with the HP Smart Web Printing application for Internet Explorer and Firefox 2.0. (Note that even though it’s made by HP, it will still work on any printer). This application can save a serious amount of paper if you often need to print addresses or contact information from a number of places at once.

5. Use Draft Mode as the Default Setting

If you are using an inkjet printer, there’s really no need to print in high or even medium quality for simple things like driving directions or articles you want to read offline. You’ll save a ton of ink (and time) by setting Fast Draft as the default option in the printer properties, so you won’t ever forget and send a long document to the printer in regular mode. Simply open up the Printers folder (in Windows, at least), and right-click on your printer, choosing Printing Preferences. You can save your color ink by also choosing to only print in grayscale by default.

Many printers like my HP will let you save different sets of settings as defaults you can quickly choose when printing, as you can see I named mine Cheap/Fast and set that as the default print mode.

Did you know Hewlitt Packard is one of the Top 50 Best Global Green Brands of 2011? When you shop for HP printers, toners, ink cartridges, and paper you’ll not only get quality products, but be helping the environment too!


Protect your business

2011 should be a year of change and success- and it all starts with you. Take initiative in your office by suggesting ways to become more effective and efficient, by suggesting the PrintSmart Solution. This program helps manage your printers that are constantly running out of toner or ink. Instead of dealing with service issues and paying for costly printer or copier repairs- we will find ways to make it more cost-effective and less troublesome. Because an effcient office is crucial to the success and amount of business your compay produces, we want to help. Click here to read more about the PrintSmart Solution and get started today!

Also don’t forget to read this article from the Omaha World-Herald about protecting your business from scams and false claims.

Have a great and successful week!