Not all printers use the same ink. Inkjet printers and laser printers differ because one uses liquid ink and one uses toner powder. Similarly, not all inkjet printers are the same in that some inkjet printers use dye-based ink and some use pigment-based ink. Knowing the benefits and disadvantages of what your printer uses to print can help you decide which printer is best for you.
Where to start? Let’s take a look at the different types of printers and inks available:
Laser Printers (uses Toner)
Laser printers are most commonly used for office applications, because of their speed and cost effectiveness but is now becoming the preference for home users as well due to its economy. This is especially true when you are printing large numbers of black and white text documents. On average, you can expect your laser printer will print black and white text pages nearly twice as fast as a comparable inkjet for half the cost per page.
Laser printers use a fine powder called toner (rather than a liquid ink) which is fused by a drum unit to the page using heat. For your standard office paper, laser printers get cleaner results, partly because toner doesn’t get the page wet with ink during the print process. Toner prints clearer for smaller fonts and won’t run on the page. Color laser printers are good for graphs and medium quality photos but not so much for high quality colored images where the patterning of the toner head can create noticeable banding.
Paper for Toner:
Though most laser printers don’t necessarily require different paper when printing documents (standard office paper will do just fine for nearly all laser printer models and applications), you may need to mind the paper if you want to print labels or photos. Most brands manufacture paper explicitly for use with toner-based printing to help minimize the potential for damage to the unit over time. In order to prevent melting during the heat application process, laser-optimized paper will have little or no resin coating. Laser-friendly paper of all types will be designed to withstand heat. Be mindful when using coated paper as this can potentially melt and damage your printer permanently.