If you’re not sure whether a laser printer is right for you this article can help. When it comes to laser printers some may wonder what are the benefits?
As someone who has repaired laser printer for over 25 years I’ve seen them at their best and worst. I’ve worked on them at schools, offices, factories, and homes.
Most were good fits, some were not. Based on my experience as a service tech here are the advantages and disadvantages of a laser printer.
1. If you need to print large volumes of paper, a laser printer is up to the task. One of the best advantages of a laser printer is they can handle well over 1,000 pages per month.
Not just in terms of print volume but also paper tray capacity. Laser printers tend to have a larger paper capacity. Most HP and Lexmark printers have the option to add paper trays. Very few inkjet printers have optional trays.
The larger capacity paper is good for large volumes of printing. Even small laser printers can handle 10,000 pages per month without breaking a sweat.
A print shop in my service territory replaced six inkjet printers with one laser printer. Their print volume had grown to the point they needed to make some changes. Inkjet printers can’t handle more than 1,500 pages per month.
2. This goes hand in hand with volume. Laser printers hold up well even after tens of thousands of pages.
I’ve worked on many HP printers with over 1 million clicks on the counter. It did have consumable parts replaced at regular intervals. Still, other components like the laser unit, printed circuit boards (PCB), and the main drive were original.
The most I’ve seen on an inkjet printer was a Canon bubblejet with around 100,000 pages. The inside looked like it fell in a tar pit. Many parts were failing and it wasn’t worth fixing.
Small inkjet printers rarely have serviceable parts. True, many small retail laser printers aren’t made to be repaired either. However, they hold up remarkably well.
Larger or more expensive printers are usually serviceable. Meaning they are meant to be repaired. Consumable items such as drums, feed rollers, or fusers are sold in maintenance kits.
Replacing parts extends the life of laser printers considerably.
3. If you want a fast printer, consider a laser printer. Laser printers speed ranges from 10 – 60 pages per minute. Production printers top out at 150 pages per minute.
Compared with inkjet printers which range from 8-25 pages per minute. While 25 ppm is pushing an inkjet printer to it’s maximum, 25 ppm is average for a laser printer.
B&W vs color printing doesn’t impact the print speed very much for laser printers either. Duplex slows down the print speed more than anything for both inkjet and laser printers.
Laser printers are some of the fastest printers available.
Color Print Quality
1. While color laser printers do have good color print quality as far as it goes. I’ve yet to see a laser printer capable of the photo quality of an inkjet printer. An exception are professional production color laser printers.
I serviced a small business at a vacation spot using a laser printer to print photos of guests. While the Kyocera Mita laser printer has excellent color quality for a laser printer. It wasn’t the right printer for the task.
A dye sublimation inkjet printer is necessary to print high quality, durable photos on demand. If you only need photos for a newsletter a laser printer isn’t a bad choice. Color laser printers are mostly for charts, graphs, and vector art.
2. Any printer, no matter what type, is bound to make some noise. Inkjet and laser printers have similar emissions while printing (between 60-70 decibels).
In my experience inkjet printers don’t make any more noise as they get older as they do when they’re new. It’s been my experience laser printers tend to get louder over time than inkjet printers.
Many of the service calls I get on laser printers are for noise. After tens of thousands of pages the gears and drive motors aren’t as quiet as they were when brand new.
While laser printers are prone to develop squeaks or rumbling noises over time. Most squeaks don’t affect how a laser printer works. However, in my experience it sure is annoying to listen to all day.
The same is true for rumbling noises. It’s usually a sign of a worn fuser or drive gears but rarely causes any issues. On the other hand, grinding noises are bad news for any printer.
3. I know everyone says laser printers are more cost effective, and they are. However, it takes on average 5,000 pages before a break even point is reached and thousands more before significant savings are realized.
It’s true laser printers cost less per page than inkjet printers. But inkjet printers are priced less than laser printers. An average inkjet printer costs between $150-$300 while a descent laser printer can cost $500 or more.
If you plan on printing 50,000 pages over the lifetime of a printer, you’ll be better off getting a laser printer. Yet, most people don’t really know how much printing they plan on doing the next 5 years.
If you’re only doing 1,000 pages a year, it may take 5 years just to break even by choosing a laser printer over an inkjet printer. It could take 5 more before you would see significant savings from a laser printer.
As you can see there are clear advantages and disadvantages to getting a laser printer. You’ll get acceptable print quality for business purposes and won’t realize savings until you’ve printed several thousand pages with a laser printer. By then you may notice it gets slightly noisier too.
However, if you get a laser printer you can expect speed, durability, and a capacity for printing a lot of paper.
If you plan on making a few thousand prints a year and don’t need to print photos, a laser printer is worth getting.
The main advantage of a laser printer over an inkjet printer is print volume. If you print more than 2,000 pages per month you really should use a laser printer instead of an inkjet printer.
Figuring out which printer is better is like figuring out which vehicle is better, a Corvette or F150 truck? For hauling a Corvette sucks. Yet a truck is terrible at handling or speed. Inkjet printers are good at color photos while laser printers are for printing 2,000 or more pages per month.
The Copier Guy, aka Dave. I’ve worked on scanners, printers, copiers, and faxes over 26 years. When I’m not fixing them I’m writing about them. Although, I’m probably better at fixing them. I have certificates from Canon, Xerox. Ricoh, Kyocera, Lexmark, HP, and Konica Minolta. My experience includes other brands as well as several types of processes. If it uses paper I’ve probably worked on one.