A3 Colour Laser Printers compared to A3 Colour Inkjet Printers
Two of the most frequent questions asked when considering buying an A3 colour printer are:
- Why choose an A3 colour laser printer if its more expensive than an A3 inkjet printer?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of A3 laser printers compared to A3 inkjet printers?
Laser printers come into their own when ongoing inexpensive, high print volumes are required and are commonly referred to as the office "workhorse" for the following good reasons:
Print speed: up to 3 times faster than inkjet printers in normal mode. Print speed typically relates to the cost of the machine.
Duplex print speed: Faster because laser printers produce dry printouts. They can be picked up immediately without smudging, as the toner is bonded to paper fibers.
Print cost per page: Can be up to a quarter of the cost of inkjet printers. However, always remember to include the cost of replacement of the drum when considering maintenance costs.
Toner ink capacity: 10 or more times greater so the cartridge is replaced less often. Good quality laser colour cartridges can print at least 7000+ pages and 9000+ if printing in monochrome. Certain toner cartridges can be refilled but it is very important to follow health and safetly guidelines: see Laser Printers: Health and Safety
Media capacity: 10 or more times greater. Laser printers handle cards, envelopes and non standard media more effectively than inkjets.
Media sources: Up to 3 sources compared to 1 for inkjets. Therefore, the user can print on different media types and sizes without the need to disrupt the print queue.
Print quality: Even though laser printers have a lower resolution (commonly 300-600 dpi up to 2400 dpi compared to inkjets up to 9600+ dpi), they are capable of printing with greater accuracy (possible 0.1 mm dots). Laser printers use dry powder that is bonded to the paper and not wet ink, which is absorbed by the paper resulting in inaccuracies due to a blotting/bleeding effect. Laser printer resolution is fine enough to add hidden anti-counterfeiting marks to every page, thus allowing the possibility of tracking the printer’s serial number, location of purchase and individual buyer.
Laser printer lower resolution 'v' inkjet higher resolution: What does this mean in reality?
In general, laser printers offer much crisper and more professional looking text/graphics, in particular, superior looking black text documents. However, when it comes to photos, inkjets have the advantage regarding image quality.
Accessibility: Size and design makes A3 laser printers very accessible for maintenance.
Despite laser printers costing significantly more to purchase initially, the advantages gained from lower operating costs /maintenance and superior speed/capacity, means that they come in to their own when used by people who need to print regularly and in higher print volumes. They outperform the use of multiple inkjet printers when print volumes approach 5000+ pages per month. Although laser printers are larger and heavier than inkjet counterparts, the luxury of being able to produce your own top quality posters, banners, newsletter, flyers, books and booklets is a superb asset and saves considerable time and money compared to having to visit professional printers.
Example: Comparative features of A3 colour laser and inkjet printers from lower and higher price groupings