Which? uses cookies to improve our sites and by continuing you agree to our cookies policy.

Inkjet vs laser printers

Inkjet vs laser printers: which is best?

By Andrew Laughlin

Article 1 of 4

Buying a new printer means picking either inkjet or laser, and both have pros and cons. In the battle of inkjet vs laser, we help you choose the best printer for you.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Already made your mind up? Find hundreds of tested inket and laser printers in our independent Which? printer reviews

Is a laser printer better than an inkjet?

If you’re looking for a printer that can handle a wide range of tasks, go for an inkjet. Best Buy inkjets turn out text-heavy documents, images and photos with ease.

Some inkjet printers expend ink to clean their heads, meaning it isn’t actually used for printing. However, go for a printer on the Best Buy list and low running costs will keep your wallet happy.

If you’re all about productivity, a laser model may be a better choice. Best Buy laser printers shine when printing black text documents and professional-looking office graphics.

Although laser printers are typically a bit more expensive than inkjets, they print a lot more pages from each toner cartridge, and so the cost per black-and-white or colour page is usually much less. As an office workhorse, a laser printer takes some beating.

You don't need to spend a fortune to get a good printer. Below is a selection of five superb inkjet and laser printers, all available for under £100.

Best value printers under £100

Samsung Xpress M2825ND
Today's best price £76.14
Which? score 80%
Reviewed Sep 2013
Best Buy
Black text quality:
5 out of 5
Office graphics quality:
4 out of 5
Print costs:
5 out of 5
Type of printer:
Member exclusive
Auto duplexing:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive

Made by a well-rated brand, this mono laser printer doesn't offer much in terms of features, but does deliver top quality prints at a low cost. As an office workhorse it takes some beating.

Canon i-Sensys LBP6230DW
Today's best price £107.95
Which? score 76%
Reviewed Feb 2015
Best Buy
Black text quality:
5 out of 5
Office graphics quality:
3 out of 5
Print costs:
5 out of 5
Type of printer:
Member exclusive
Auto duplexing:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive

This big -brand mono laser printer costs under £100 and with cheap toner running costs, won't hit you with high running costs as you use it. It automatic prints double-sided - handy for saving time and paper when printing long reports.

Samsung Xpress M2070W
Today's best price £108.02
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Apr 2014
Best Buy
Black text quality:
5 out of 5
Office graphics quality:
3 out of 5
Print costs:
5 out of 5
Type of printer:
Member exclusive
Auto duplexing:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive

This big brand, all-in-one mono laser printer has wi-fi connectivity and additional wireless printing features to make it easier to print from a range of devices. The black text quality it produces is among the best we've seen.

Epson Expression Premium XP-630
Today's best price £91.31
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Aug 2016
Best Buy
Black text quality:
4 out of 5
Office graphics quality:
4 out of 5
Print costs:
4 out of 5
Type of printer:
Member exclusive
Auto duplexing:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive

It's a fantastic all-rounder - able to print letters, spreadsheets and also photos in top quality. You get built-in wi-fi and whole host of wireless printing features, such as Apple AirPrint.

HP Officejet 5740
Today's best price £98.69
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Dec 2014
Best Buy
Black text quality:
5 out of 5
Office graphics quality:
4 out of 5
Print costs:
4 out of 5
Type of printer:
Member exclusive
Auto duplexing:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive

Worried that an inkjet printer will leave you counting the cost of constant trips to buy new cartridges? Think again with this big brand model. It gives you top print quality without the fear of high running costs.

* Three-year estimated print cost based on 20 pages of black text and 10 pages of colour per month. 

Inkjet printers: great all-rounders

PROS: Usually compact and cheap to buy, better than lasers with colour images and photos

CONS: Ink use can increase running costs, slower to print black text pages than a laser

Inkjet printers are great all-rounders, able to handle documents, letters or recipe print-outs, as well as print photos – and on the whole, do a much better job with the latter than a laser printer.

Consumer inkjets are usually quite small in size, so they don't take up much space in your study or spare room, and they're usually quiet, too.

Inkjets are cheaper to buy than laser printers, but running costs can be higher. This is because of the ink they use during cleaning cycles, meaning it isn't actually used to print. With inefficient inkjets, costs per printed page can be much higher than with laser toner.

Laser printers: office workhorses

PROS: Fast black text prints, low toner running costs, great for productivity

CONS: Expensive to buy, can be bulky and noisy, struggle with images

When it comes to printing black text documents quickly and efficiently, you can't go far wrong with a laser printer. You can get mono laser models, or go for a colour laser if you want to produce professional-looking business graphics, too.

Laser printers are normally faster than inkjets when printing, and can handle a heavier workload if you’re planning to print a lot of pages every month.

Plus, while the toner cartridges are expensive to buy, each one prints a lot more pages than an ink cartridge, so the actual cost per black-and-white or colour page is usually much less.

However, as well as being generally more expensive to buy, laser printers are usually bulkier and noisier than the equivalent inkjet printer and will take up more space on your desk.

SHARE THIS PAGE