Difference between Inkjet and Laser Printers

 

Key Difference: Inkjet is a type of printer that prints images by propelling droplets of ink onto the paper. These printers are the most common type of printers that are available in households. Laser printer is a type of printer that produces high quality text and graphics by passing a laser beam on plain paper. This process uses a xerographic printing process, which uses a cylindrical drum coated with selenium to print an image.

 

Printers are an essential part of many people’s lives. It allows users to printing important documents, photos and other things. However, there are many different kinds of printers that are available on the market. When a person goes to buy a printer, they often question the differences between the various kinds of printers that are available. A lot of people just purchase the printer that the sales guy sells them; however, each printer works differently and can perform different functions. Inkjet and a laser printer are two different kinds of printers that are available.

 

Inkjet is a type of printer that produces images by propelling droplets of ink onto the paper. These printers are the most common type of printers that are available in households. They are usually small in size and can range in prices, depending on the company and the functions it can perform. More expensive models might also come with copy, fax and scan functions. The concept of inkjet printing was developed in the 19th century, with the printer technology being developed in the late 1950s. Printers that could render digital images generated by computers were developed in the 1970s by Epson, Hewlett-Packard and Canon.

 

The inkjet printer works in a complicated way. It has a series of microscopic nozzles that spray a stream of ink directly onto the paper. The nozzles either have a high pressure pump or tiny heating elements behind them that helps deposit ink on the paper. There are two main technologies that are used in an inkjet printer: continuous (CIJ) and Drop-on-demand (DOD). In continuous technology, a high-pressure pump direct liquid ink from the cartridge through a gunbody and a microscopic nozzle, creating a continuous stream of ink droplets that are deposited on the paper. Extra unwanted ink is dropped into a gutter, which is recycled when the printer is active again. Drop-On-Demand is divided into thermal DOD and piezoelectric DOD. The thermal DOD uses a heating element to heat the ink in a chamber, which cools when applied to the paper. The piezoelectric DOD uses a piezoelectric material behind each nozzle instead of a heating element. In DOD, the printer cartridges fires ink only at special points on the surface that is required for creating an image.

 

Laser printer is a type of printer that produces high quality text and graphics by passing a laser beam on plain paper. This process uses a xerographic printing process, which uses a cylindrical drum coated with selenium to print an image. Laser printers are quite huge and bulky and require fast paper feeders. These are most found in offices and commercial places that require high quality papers, printed fast. Laser printers are expensive units and require a dedicated place. Maintenance level is high for the device and is also expensive. Laser printers are more common in black and white, while colors printers cause extra. Laser printer was developed at Xerox in 1969 by Gary Starkweather. He modified an existing xerographic copier and fitted it with printing capabilities.

 

The printer works similar to a photocopier. The machine uses the data sent from the computer to create a raster line or scan line. The Raster Image Processing (RIS), typically built into the printer, creates a bitmap of the final image in the raster memory. After this, an electrostatic charge is applied to the photosensitive drum. The system also applies AC bias to the roller to remove any previous charges and a DC bias on the drum surface to ensure a uniform negative potential. A laser is then fired on the electro statically charged light-sensitive drum. The drum then attracts the toner in the places the charge is still present. The drum then becomes hot and fuses the toner to the paper, which then produces the image. Laser printers are quite extensive cleaning incase of jams and requires maintenance. However, one toner can produce up to 5,000 pages before replacement.

 

 

Inkjet Printers

Laser Printers

Invented

Developed in the early 1950s.

1969 by Gary Starkweather.

How it works

Inkjet printers spray liquid ink on paper through microscopic nozzles.

Laser printers use fine ink powder and heat the powder on the paper.

Types

Continuous (CIJ) and drop-on demand (DOD).

Personal and Office printers. Black and White or color printers.

Price per page

USD 0.20 color page; USD 0.4-0.5 black and white page.

USD 0.6 for black and white page. Much higher for a color page.

Cost for basic printer

Approximately USD 100-150

Approximately USD 60-1000, depending on the size and use of the printer.

Printing speed

6 pages a minute

20 pages a minute

Quality

Printing quality is good, specially for smaller fonts.

Printing quality is adequate. Best for black and white.

Color Printing

Yes provides color printing.

Basic models only offer black and white, with higher models providing color printing.

Black and White Quality

Black and white quality is excellent, specially with small fonts.

Black and white quality is adequate, best for bulk printing.

Color Quality

Color printing is sharp and excellent.

Color quality is a bit poor, with banding.

Size

Smaller and more compact.

 Smaller is available but is more common in larger sizes.

Features

Can be used for wider range of papers (photo paper, vinyl, self-adhesive papers), accurate photographic images, ink is not waterproof.

Offers scanners and faxing machines built in. Has bigger input trays, direct connecting facilities (wireless)

Usage

More commonly used for homes as the unit is smaller and ink is cheaper.

Most commonly used for commercial purposes and places that require black and white printing.

Maintenance

Cheaper

Expensive

Advantages

Quieter in operation, high print quality, no warm up time, low cost per page

Prints faster, bigger input trays.

Disadvantages

Ink is expensive, issues with ‘intelligent’ ink cartridges, lifetime of inkjet prints produced by aqueous inks is shorter, ink is not waterproof, and nozzle is prone to clogging.

More susceptible to paper jams. Toner is very expensive, print quality for color is adequate, device itself is expensive, has health hazards if not properly maintained.

 

 

Image Courtesy: gadgetspeak.com

Image Courtesy: howstuffworks.com

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