Laser Printers Come Home

By Dan Hope
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People have long thought of the inkjet printer as the domain of home computing and laser printers as strictly office equipment. But many people are discovering that laser printers may be a good alternative to inkjet printers and the exorbitant prices for inkjet printer cartridges. Whereas inkjet cartridges seem to run out faster and get more expensive, laser ink cartridges are becoming more viable for the average consumer. Home and small business laser printers have also become cheaper, making them a serious alternative to inkjet.

Laser printers are usually more efficient because they give a better cost-per-page ratio, making them cheaper in the long run. Using some specs on several different types of printers and ink cartridges, we calculated some of the average cost-per-page values for laser and inkjet printers. We found that inkjet printers averaged 9 to 11 cents per page. Whereas, laser printers came in at 4 to 5 cents per page. Exact values are hard to fix because different printer models use different types of cartridges at different prices, but many laser printers were cheaper than inkjet printers, even when printing in color.

While the laser printers have a better cost-per-page ratio, the toner cartridges themselves are more expensive. They last much longer, think thousands of pages versus hundreds with an inkjet, but you’ll have to spend more on that less frequent shopping trip to replace them.

While a laser printer may not be the best choice for everyone, we’ve compiled a list of reasons why they might work well for you.

You're a Black and White Fan
If you really only need to print in black and white, a laser printer is a good choice. Getting black toner cartridges can be fairly inexpensive and laser printers offer the best cost-per-page ratio on black and white projects.

You Have High Print Volume
If you are going to be printing a lot, definitely go with the laser printer. While the average user might not notice any benefits from the cheaper cost-per-page, laser printers will save a lot of money on large projects or constant printing. And, laser printers print significantly faster than inkjet printers.

You're a Professional or Just Want to Look Like One
Laser printers are a great option when you need a professional look. While inkjet technology has made leaps and bounds in accuracy, copies from a laser printer still look more crisp and professional and will be less likely to smudge. Laser printers also perform better on specialty papers, cardstock and paper with glossy finishes.

As the cost of laser printers and toner comes down, it is becoming feasible to use laser printers for color printing and even photo printing at home. That lower priced inkjet printer may look more attractive at the store, but laser printers are built to last much longer. The next time you buy a printer for your home, consider the things you’ll use it for. Investing in a laser printer may end up saving you money, all while giving professional results.

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