When it comes to printing at home, the print jobs vary widely and the print volume is low. In my experience people print photos, documents, crafts, and projects at home. While businesses mostly print documents.
An ink tank inkjet printer is ideal for home use. They are cheap, compact, versatile, and have good photo quality. All factors important to home use.
Laser Printer Pros and Cons
It seems to me there’s a grass is always greener view when it comes to laser printers. They’re durable, faster, and lower cost per page. Which is all true but there’s a catch. The catch is you have to do lots of printing before you’ll reap any of those benefits.
If you’re only printing 100 pages a month it’s going to take a long time before your printer reaches the end of its life from wear. You’d hardly notice any difference between a laser printer and inkjet printer at that low of a print volume.
In my experience print speed is most noticeable when you’re printing 50 or more pages. Differences in print speed aren’t very noticeable with small runs of 5 or 10 pages. Larger print jobs are going to be painfully slow with an inkjet printer.
On the other hand, using a laser printer will save time on larger print jobs. The issue is the initial price and the cost of supplies. A good color laser printer costs over $500. HP, Canon, Brother, Lexmark and the rest include starter toner cartridges which only last between 100-500 pages.
In my experience a full set of toner cartridges costs nearly as much as a new laser printer. Supplies for laser printers are expensive but they last between 1,200-1,700 pages. High capacity toner cartridges are more cost effective and last between 3,000-5,000 pages.
A laser printer represents a significant up front investment. It’s like buying in bulk. Which takes considerable time to see the benefit. While laser printers do cost less per page, it takes printing at least 5,000 pages to break even with an inkjet printer. If that only takes you a year, great! If it takes you 10 years, not so much.
While manufacturers are required to support a product for 10 years. In my experience supplies for retail printers become scarce after only 4 years. I can still find ink and toner cartridges through off brand suppliers for popular printers nearly 20 years old.
While laser printers do last longer than inkjet printers, they can’t match the print quality of an inkjet printer. l do not recommend using a laser printer for printing photos. They’re fine for color charts, graphs, certain vector or raster graphics. But not for artwork or photos.
Inkjet Pros and Cons
The biggest advantage of an inkjet printer is print quality. They’re great for photos and color images. Inkjet printers make passable text documents but home use doesn’t require high standards for documents.
An inkjet printer is versatile enough to handle crafts, photos, and documents. Home use involves a variety of printing but at low print volumes. In my experience the cost per page isn’t relevant at the low print volumes.
The up front costs play an important role for home use. Besides, ink tank printers are cheaper to run than laser printers. Until they came along laser printers beat inkjet printers for price per page. Not anymore, tank printers are much cheaper to print than any laser printer.
Ink tank printers cost more than cartridge based inkjet printers. Unlike laser printers it doesn’t take thousands of pages to reap the benefits. After only a couple hundred pages the money saved on a few ink cartridges makes up the difference.
In my experience ink tank printers eliminate many problems people have with inkjet printers. Chiefly constantly replacing ink cartridges. You fill the ink tanks after unboxing them then it is a long time before you have to mess with ink again.
Ink tank printers don’t use chips either. So you won’t be prompted to replace an ink cartridge that still has ink. Or forced to buy OEM cartridges. Or not be able to print a B&W document if cyan is out.
If you have a small business at home printing photos or art Canon and Epson make ink tank photo printers too. Test pages I’ve seen from the Canon G620 and Epson ET-8550 are better than any home photo printer I’ve used.
Now that I have a tank printer for home use I’ll never go back to cartridge based inkjet printers. The only cons are slow print speeds and having to use better paper for printing text.
Home use involves a variety of printing. As opposed to business which primarily print documents. Laser printers are a good fit for business since they have higher print volumes and don’t require glossy photo quality prints.
Laser printers sound appealing due to their print speeds, durability, and low cost per page. However, operating costs require bulk printing before any benefits are seen. Speedy printers for short run print jobs isn’t crucial.
Overall, ink tank printers provide a cheaper alternative to laser printers. They have better quality but print slower. I’ve found for home use ink tank printers have the best results.
If you print more than 5,000 per year a laser printer is worth it. Otherwise a tank inkjet printer is best for home use.
Ink tank printers are best for home use.
They can’t print photos as well as an inkjet printer. It takes printing over 5,000 pages to see any savings from laser printers.
For home use a super tank printer is best. For business use a laser printer is ideal.
The Copier Guy, aka Dave. I’ve worked on scanners, printers, copiers, and faxes since 1994. When I’m not fixing them I’m writing about them. Although, I’m probably better at fixing them. I’ve worked with every major brand. As well as several types of processes. If it uses paper I’ve probably worked on one.