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. We help you choose which type is best for you.
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.
But some inkjet printers expend ink to clean their heads, meaning it isn’t actually used for printing. If you go for a printer on our Best Buy list, its low running costs will keep your wallet happy.
If you’re all about productivity, a laser printer 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.
To discover which inkjet and laser printers aced our tests, see our Best Buy printers.
If you're still unsure which type is right for you, get some more in-depth advice in our interactive choosing tool below.
Inkjet printers: great all-rounders
PROS: Usually compact and cheap to buy, better than laser printers for colour images and photos.
CONS: Ink use can increase running costs, slower to print black text pages than a lase printer.
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, 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 printers.
See the best inkjet printers to suit all budgets in our in-depth guide.
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, can 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 set of inkjet cartridges, 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.