Inkjet or laser – this is one of the questions that people need to answer when buying a printer. In order to pick the right one, you need to know what these two types of printers are – how they function and what their key features are.

Knowing these details can help you choose the type that is going to meet your needs. So, if you want to learn about these two kinds of printer, read our guide below.

Inkjet vs. Laser Printers – What Are They?

Inkjets use droplets of ink to form images, graphics or texts. Some have one cartridge for black and another cartridge for the cyan, magenta and yellow inks. Others have a separate cartridge for each of the three colours. The newer inkjet models even have cartridges for other hues, apart from the usual CMYK colours, for better quality photo printing.

Separate cartridges can be more economical in the long run as you would only need to replace the ones which run out.


Beware of some inkjet printers as some consume ink during maintenance. You should check reviews online to know which models are dubbed as “ink guzzlers”.

Meanwhile, laser printers use toner cartridges instead of ink cartridges. Toner is ultra-fine powdered ink which is more efficient than inkjet cartridges. This is because toner is not wasted during printer maintenance.

Laser printers work like copy machines. They form images by transferring toner to the paper passing over an electrically charged drum.

Important Facts About Inkjet and Laser Printers

Upfront Cost

Inkjets generally have a lower price tag as compared to laser printers. However, owning this type of printing device tends to be more expensive over time due to the cost of ink.

On the other hand, laser printers have a higher upfront cost. The upside of owning this kind of printer is that you don’t have to worry about spending a lot on ink.

Print Speed

Most inkjet printers can print up to 20 black text documents per minute. However, they process coloured prints slower, taking up to 10 minutes to print a high quality 8” x 10” coloured photo.

Laser printers are manufactured to meet the printing requirements of workplaces. They print way faster than inkjet devices – an average of 15-100 black full-text documents per minute.

Print Volume

How much can an inkjet or laser printer print at a given time? Laser printers can handle a lot more volume than inkjets.

How is this measured? This is determined using the recommended monthly print volume – the print volume that can be handled by the printer at optimum performance without causing damage to its parts.

The recommended monthly print volume for laser printers is up to 3,000 pages per month while the recommended monthly print volume for inkjet printers are up to 500 pages per month.

Print Quality

For print quality, inkjets are recommended for printing coloured images and graphics. The best inkjets can print photos with the same quality as professional photo print shops.

Laser printers can quickly print documents with high-quality black text. Coloured laser printers can also be used for high volume colour printing of text-heavy documents.

Basically, inkjet printers are the go-to devices for printing high-quality photos while laser printers are for printing text documents.

However, this is not to say that laser printers are incapable of producing beautiful coloured photos. Nowadays, there are laser printers which can print impressive coloured photos.

Inkjet vs. Laser – What’s Right for You?

So, what should you choose – an inkjet or a laser printer? Inkjets are highly recommended for home use while laser printers are ideal for workplaces. This is primarily because laser printing devices are workhorses that can print more and print fast.

But using inkjets for home printing and laser devices for office printing is not a hard rule. You have to take into consideration other factors such as what you’ll be using it for as well as what your needs are.

For example, if you need a device for printing marketing materials in your office, then inkjet is the best choice. Similarly, if you are looking to buy a home printer that is going to primarily print text documents, a laser printer is a good option.

Your budget for the printer is also a factor you need to consider. As mentioned earlier, inkjets are more affordable upfront but are more expensive in the long run. However, if your print volume is low, this is the more practical option.

To sum it up, the decision to get an inkjet or a laser printer boils down to types of materials you print, print volume and budget. Aside from these things, it is also prudent to consider your future needs to save more money.

Can’t decide whether to get a Ricoh inkjet or laser printer? Let our friendly printer sales specialists help you! Call us on +353 1 4800506 to learn more about our products!