Inkjet vs. Laser for Photo Printing: Which One To Choose?


Inkjet vs. Laser Printer Photo Printing Capacity is one of the most popular topics in the printing world. And it happens because they offer different results – but both are still worth considering.

If you’re looking for a new printer for photographyThen you might want to know which one works best.

For that, we’ll have to go deep into each one and explain how they exactly differ so you can have a better idea of what to go for.

Below we’ll explain all that and more. Continue reading!

What is an Inkjet printer?

An inkjet printer is the most common and popular type you’ll find. This is actually the technical term for the house printer that you probably have at your home. These printers use cartridges, as you should know. These cartridges are connected to tiny jets that spray ink onto the paper. And that’s how they function.

This process is both efficient and high-quality. However, inkjet may not be efficient for all purposes and can take some time to work properly.

Advantages of Inkjet Printers

  • Produces high quality photos and papers prints
  • Use inks and colors to create vibrant prints
  • Printing immediately without any warm-up
  • Works with a wide array of papers types & sizes
  • It’s small and light enough to fit almost anywhere

Inkjet Printers: The disadvantages

  • Ink and cartridges can be expensive
  • You should work at a slow pace
  • Don’t hold much paper
  • Can’t handle high volumes

What is a Laser Printer?

Inkjet printers can be used to print on a typical household machine, but a Laser printer can be used to print on a typical business/office machine. This type of printer uses electricity to melt toner (powder) ink. This is a very efficient and practical way of printing stuff.

However, it can limit the quality and color of the printed material. Luckily, it is the fastest and cheapest way to print – so a laser printer It’s totally worth it.

Laser Printer Advantages

  • Prints that are fast and efficient
  • Can print large volumes with no issue
  • Provides clear and sharp text
  • Toner (powder-ink) is very affordable
  • Large trays can hold tons paper

Laser Printers: The disadvantages

  • Not the best at printing complex graphics
  • Most laser printers are huge & bulky
  • Usually work with only one or two types & sizes of paper
  • Tend to have high initial costs

Laser vs. Inkjet Photo Printing: What Differences Are There?

So now that you have a basic idea of what each one offers – it is time to go deep into how they differ. Here, we’re going to talk about their printing/photo quality, the volume & speed, ink capacity, overall size, initial price, and usage costs.

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Photo Quality

This is the most important thing to consider when comparing photo printing performance. And you’ll be happy to know that the quality of the print in each model differs a lot.

Inkjet printers offer a faster and more precise way to get an idea than laser ones. Because they use liquid ink, with small jets, they can produce more vivid and precise imagery. And when it comes to printing photos – this helps to deliver the best overall quality. We do a deep dive into color laser printers You can print beautiful photos by following this article.

But laser printers don’t stay too far behind. While they won’t provide the crispness and sharpness that an inkjet printer offers, they can still look neat. Many laser printers today have decent features and unique technologies that still produce high-quality photos.

Inkjet printers, however, will achieve the highest quality tone and depth. It is safe for us to say that inkjet printers are the best. anyone who wants quality photo printing – then an inkjet model should be their way to go. A laser printer is sufficient for photo printing of medium- to low quality.

Speed Printing

Inkjet printers perform better in photo quality than they do in speed. Well, as we explained in our small description, they’re super slow. Laser printers are the best for speed. They use more efficient components that can print more pages in less time – so they’re a lot faster.

A typical inkjet printer can print approximately 10 to 20 pages per hour. A laser printer can print anywhere between 15 to 100 pages. Although photo printing does not tend to be about speed but quality, it is worth noting that laser printers are quicker.

Printing Volume

You may already be familiar with the speed and quality that inkjet and laser printers provide. What about their volume and quantity? You can guess that laser models are more efficient at printing, which means they can handle more volume. This is not just about their speed but also about how they print.

Laser prints are more efficient and can print many pages at once without putting too much strain. Inkjet printers, on the other hand, are less efficient and cause more heat, wear, and strain.

How many prints would each one produce? Well, it depends – but a regular laser printer can offer anywhere from 500 to 3,000 (or more) prints a month. An inkjet printer may probably have a max printing volume of 500 a month (and that’s putting a lot of strain on the machine).

Sure enough, it is the laser printer that offers the most volume – but that comes at the expense of quality. 

Ink Storage

As we have already mentioned, inkjet printers use liquid cartridges, while laser printers utilize toners (powder cartridges). What’s the difference here? Inkjets are limited to ink cartridges. A laser printer uses toner cartridges in addition to a drum unit.

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It is important to know that ink cartridges empty out faster and are more fragile – so they may need a lot more maintenance to keep working. A toner cartridge can last at least three times as long as a drum unit, while a normal ink cartridge can last up to five to six times as long.

What does this mean? You’ll have to change ink cartridges more commonly, and treat them with more care. However, you’ll have to change both toner cartridges and drum units on laser printers but less frequently.

Which one has the best ink storage?

A laser printer can store ink more effectively and longer. Yet, you will need to replace two things (toner & drum unit) instead of only the cartridge. It is slightly better but not very much.

Size of the printer

Even though you’re looking at one of these to print photos, you may still want to have something that fits inside an office or bedroom. In that case, you’ll want something decently large that prints easily, but also small enough, so it fits anywhere you want to place it.

Inkjet printers will be the smallest of both. These machines often have the print heads/jets directly on the cartridges. This saves a lot of space. So you may find super-small inkjet printers that don’t need more than 15 or 20 inches of total footprint in a desk.

Laser printers don’t have to be huge. You might still find small models of similar size to larger inkjet printers. However, they are bulkier and larger overall.

They are typically twice the size of an inkjet model because they must hold the toner and drum unit. An inkjet model is the best choice if space is important to you. But if you don’t, then a laser printer will do the job.

Common Issues

What are the most common problems you’ll face with these two types of printers?

Inkjet printers are known for having a lot of cartridge problems. Sometimes these issues can cause the user to buy a new printer rather than fix the one they have.

At the same time, cartridges tend to dry up if they’re not used consistently (at least once a month). This can lead to them becoming unusable later.

Lastly, you’ll find laser printers to be less problematic. Laser printers are still more troublesome than inkjet printers. They can get jammed with paper and require more cleaning. These problems are usually easy to fix, but they do happen more often than issues with inkjet printers.

Initial Price

Another super important factor you don’t want to dismiss is the cost of the printer at first. If you’re looking to print photos, you need to be aware that this could end up being a huge investment.

Your purpose should dictate how much you spend. For example, if you’re looking to set up a printing business – then you need a durable and capable machine.

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A printer that can print a decent amount of pages per month can cost between $150 and $400. You might find prices ranging from $200 to 500 for a laser-printer with this capacity. Depending on the size, it may be higher.

If you only need a basic model for occasional use, you might be able to afford a $50 small inkjet printer. You could spend up to $200 for a laser printer.

High-end models of inkjet printers and laser printers are easily within the $1,000 range. These are for high-volume or industrial businesses.

Laser printers are generally the more expensive of both. Inkjet printers may be better if you prefer low-cost printing.

Operating costs

Inkjet printers seem to be cheaper initially, right? This could change over time. Although you might spend more on a laser printer initially, you could end up saving a lot in the long-term.

This is because the page value between the two models differs by an exponential amount. An inkjet printer will print a page for 2.5 to 3 cents. This means you’ll spend at least $25 for 100 pages.

Laser printers, however, cost only 1 to 2 cents per page. You can print 100 pages for as low as $20. It is also safe to say that toner cartridges are more durable. A laser printer can print approximately 5,000 pages per toner, while an inkjet printer can only produce 200 to 1,000 pages per cartridge.

Of course, you’ll have to change the ink cartridge more consistently than a toner. Toner cartridges can be more expensive because they last longer but still cost less per page.

Inkjet vs. Laser Photo Printing: Which One Should You Choose?

This comparison should help you decide which printer is best for you. But if you aren’t – don’t worry. Inkjet is your best choice if you value quality over quantity and volume.

While they can be more expensive over time and slightly less practical, they’re also cheaper at first, which makes them ideal if you don’t want to invest much money.

If you care more about speed and quality than quantity, a laser printer is the right choice. Although they are cheaper and more useful over time, they can be costly at first.

You can then choose between an inkjet or laser printer for photo printing. But we wouldn’t hesitate to choose an inkjet printer.

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