Laser printer or inkjet printer – which is right for you?

Buying a printer? Compare costs, benefits and ink in our inkjet vs laser head-to-head…

05 Jul 2018

Laser and inkjet printers essentially do the same thing but using very different technologies. Each has pros and cons, but which printer is best for you?

Laser printer or inkjet printer

What am I printing?

Whether you’re a student printing essays or a family wanting to print everything from photos to homework assignments, you’ll want to weigh up the benefits of each type of printer before buying.

As well as what you’re printing, think about how much you’ll be printing. The more you print, the more you’ll need to consider ink costs.


Do I need an all-in-one?

Most inkjet printers these days are all-in-one models that print, copy and scan. If you’re using your printer for creative design projects, printing essays and reports and holiday photos, an inkjet may be your best option.


Inkjet printers

In a nutshell: A great all-rounder – cheap to buy, doesn’t need a lot of desk space and great for printing photos.

Inkjet printers

The cheap and compact inkjet printer leads the home printing revolution. If you already have a printer at home, it’s probably an inkjet.

How does it work?

Inkjet printers use high pressure to spray liquid through tiny nozzles onto your page – hence the name inkjet. The liquid ink is stored in airtight foil cartridges which are easy to replace.

Key benefits:

  • Affordable – you can get one for as little as £30
  • Ink cartridges are usually cheaper than toner (which laser printers use), which can mean big cost savings if you’re only printing occasional essays and photos.
  • Compact enough to fit into tiny home office spaces or student digs.
  • Better quality photos than laser printers. They work better with photo paper to produce deeper blacks and smoother colour gradients.
  • Print, copy and scan via Wifi from your laptop, smartphone or tablet – most inkjet printers are all-in-one models.

What about costs?

Inkjet printers are cheaper to buy but can work out more expensive in the long run. Ink cartridges don’t last as long, so if you’re printing a lot, costs can stack up. You can save money by printing on both sides of the paper – look out for the “auto-duplex” feature.

Why not try…

HP Envy 5020

Never run out of ink again with the HP Envy 5020 Wireless All-in-One Printer and HP Instant Ink – the ink-to-your-door service that knows when your printer is about to run out and automatically orders more.

Copy, scan and print in full colour – perfect for reports, essays and family photos. And if you’re in a hurry, you can print from different devices remotely with HP’s smartphone and tablet app.

Get the HP Envy 5020


Laser printers

In a nutshell: Bigger and bulkier than inkjet printers but brilliant at printing high volume black and white text documents.Laser printers

Ever used an office printer or printed work in your uni library? It will probably have been a laser printer.

How does it work?

Instead of liquid ink, laser printers use toner cartridges, which contain powder. The image you want to print is scanned and then fused to the paper using specs of toner dust.

Key benefits:

  • Fast printing – laser printers can print an average of 10 pages per minute.
  • Laser precision gives crisp and clear text and graphics.
  • Cheaper to run – toner cartridges last longer than ink, so you get more prints for your money.
  • Quick printing on the move using Apple AirPrint or Google Cloud Print.

What about costs?

While laser printers are more expensive to buy, they can sometimes be cheaper to run in the long term. Toner cartridges can print a lot more pages than ink cartridges – so if you regularly print high volumes of documents from your home office, a laser printer may be the most economical option.

How much space does it take up?

Laser printers can be significantly larger than inkjets, though compact models are available – something to consider if you’ve got limited space. They’re also noisier when printing.

Why not try…


If you print reams of documents, letters and emails, check out the compact HP M15W Monochrome Wireless Laser Printer. With professional quality black and white printing and a fast print speed of up to 19 pages per minute, it’s perfect for home-based businesses or busy students.

Print important emails straight from your iPhone, iPad or Android device with Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print. And, unlike many laser printers, the HP M15W won’t take up too much space in your office.

Get the HP M15W Monochrome Wireless Laser Printer


Check out our full range of printers

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