The typical UK office worker prints around 6,000 pages a year. Yet – like driving – many of us take this routine task for granted. What goes on in our cars’ engines is a mystery to many of us – we just expect it to work. Similarly, ask most of us whether our printer is an Inkjet or Laser model and we wouldn’t know where to begin. Yet, printing and copying can account for up to 3% of a company’s turnover and these two common types of printer have different benefits – and costs.
To help you choose the most suitable device for your type of business, we explain below the differences between these two popular types of printer.
Inkjet printers are the most common choice for home or consumer use. This is because they typically fit on a desktop and the machine itself is usually cheaper to buy. As the name suggests, they work by firing tiny dots of ink onto the surface of the paper. These dots of ink, like pixels on a screen, together make up the overall text or image.
Inkjets are an excellent choice for any business which requires high quality photos, graphics or artwork as they tend to blend colours smoothly with no obvious pixilation. However, as Inkjets use water-based ink, the prints are not waterproof and can easily be smudged when they first leave the printer.
>> Typical cost of printer: £50
>> Typical cost of cartridge: As low as £15
>> Cartridge yield: Approximately 200 pages
Laser printers are traditionally fairly large, so they are more commonly found in the workplace. However, desktop versions for home use are now available. Instead of ink, they use cartridges filled with fine, coloured powder known as toner. The image is transferred electro-statically to a plate inside the device. This charge attracts tiny specks of toner. A sheet of paper is then run across this plate and heat is used to fuse the toner to the paper.
Because the toner is fused to the paper, the prints are smudge-free from the moment they leave the device. They are also water-resistant as the colour is not water-based. Though Laser printers may not have the fidelity of Inkjets, they are faster at printing large volumes of print as they are often duplex, meaning they print on both sides of the paper.
>> Typical cost of printer: Up to £300 (note: this will increase for multi-function devices)
>> Typical cost of cartridge: £60-120
>> Cartridge yield: Approximately 2,500 pages
Choosing the Right Printer for You
After a quick glance at the typical costs above, it would be easy to rush into purchasing an Inkjet as the setup cost is clearly much lower. However, this can be false economy. When choosing which printer to buy, it’s important to consider the ongoing running costs based on your usage.
An Inkjet device may cost less to buy and fill with its first set of cartridges. However, the yield of those cartridges is potentially 90% lower than Laser toners. So, if the device is regularly used to print large documents, the cartridges will frequently need replacing. In contrast, a Laser device will provide a high yield along with the ability to quickly print double-sided documents, providing a cost-effective workhorse for your office. However, if you produce low volume runs of highly visual documents, Inkjet will give you the quality you desire without the overheads.
If you are unsure which print devices will achieve best value for your business, OfficeTeam’s Managed Print Services experts can help. We specialise in auditing companies’ print usage to shape print strategies that deliver real cost savings. Contact our experts today to discuss your print usage.