Laser or inkjet for the home office, that’s the question

By on February 11, 2012
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Do I need color or want to save money on consumables?

Do you have a printer at home? Is it an inkjet or a laser printer? Chances are it’s an inkjet printer, probably a multifunctional one. But would you consider a laser printer instead?

We’re looking to buy a printer for our home. As we don’t actually have one – strange, I know – and it’s been increasingly common lately that we’ve had to print the odd paper here and there. Now, I can, of course, print at the office at work, but I don’t want to have to rely on that. See, I have this secret plan that I’m working on, that I’m slowly trying figuring out all the ins and outs of my job, so I can eventually go to my boss and say “now I can work remotely from home every day.” Having a printer at home plays a role in that scheme, albeit a very tiny role.

The most obvious choice is then to go for an inkjet printer, one that sprays small dots of ink onto a paper to form whatever it is you’re printing. These printers are cheap, almost free, and typically produce good results. Some can even print in color and some produce stunningly good looking photo printouts.

There are also lots of inkjet printers to choose from, with different sizes and options. A common thing is for manufacturers to throw in a bunch of functionality in one product, and call it a multifunction printer. Often you can find a printer, scanner, and fax in one, but who uses a fax anymore?

But with inkjets, it bothers me that you’ll be paying out of your nose for the actual ink, even though the printer might be almost free. The razor blade effect in essence.

Then there are some really affordable laser printers. Especially Samsung seems to be active in the low-cost laser market, at least one mode that is cheaper than some inkjets. The lasers can often be faster than the inkjets and produce stunning results, at least in black and white. And that’s what I’d need a printer for mainly, just print out typical business documents without color. In that sense, a laser would be better suited for me, but I’m sure I’d one day need to scan something too, and then I’d be stuck.

And let’s not forget being able to print in color – that would be nice wouldn’t it? To be fair, you also have to buy the consumables for a laser, including the powder that it uses to make the print on paper, but when you buy a laser cartridge you feel as though you get so much more than you do when you buy an inkjet cartridge. Most of the time that is also true, that you do get more pages for less cost per page with a laser.

There you go, my present predicament is nowhere closer to being solved. So my search for a reliable and affordable printer continues.

Photo by tom_bullock.


I write and talk too much about tech. You can find my personal blog at, my radio shows at, and me on Twitter as mnystedt.

  • gregzeng

    Having both types, I prefer the laser printer: cheaper, faster, non-fading/ smudging ‘ink’, longer lasting refills (third-party toner filler), quieter, no dried-out ink-channels, no wasting ink each turn-on booting, etc.  Color lasers – waiting for color quality to improve.

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