When you are buying a new printer the main question you will start with is, “Do I buy Inkjet or a Laser printer?”
Printers using the inkjet system have microscopic nozzles, behind each nozzle is a filament, this filament heats and cools very fast and causes a bubble of ink to spit on the page.
Laser printers use a very fine carbon based powder. They have a photoconductor drum that a laser draws an image onto, and by a series of positive and negative charges it transfers the toner to the paper and then it is melted by going through a fuser unit.
Each system is very clever and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. The two systems are suitable for different environments and printing needs. For example, laser printers do not print photos, inkjet printing is not waterproof.
You can buy a multifunction laser printer for around R 3 500.00 — which will include functions to photocopy and scan images as well as print, it will have wifi, ADF and mobile print — Inkjet printers start as low as R 1 105.00 for a multifunction machine with similar specs.
The entry level laser printers cost around R 2 500.00. You can pick up basic inkjet printers for as little as R 700.00. The manufacturers have become a little mean when it comes to new printers, they only give starter cartridges, this means that only a few pages in and you will have to replace the cartridges.
So, what do they cost to run? This is the key question. After the initial outlay the cost of running is very important. The running costs of printers are generally quoted in Rands and cents per A4 page. This is calculated by dividing the number of pages a cartridge can produce (this figure is the base test figure that the OEM gives) by the price of the cartridge. It does not include the paper cost. inkjet page yields are very over stated. In our experience if a cartridge says 1000 pages, it will actually give more like 600 every day kind of office and home prints. Laser toners are much more accurate as most of them work on drum cycles and tend to be closer to the manufacturers claimed yield. Larger laser printers have additional on-going costs when compared to inkjets: they often require an additional drum unit for every 4 toners. Some also have waste units that ned replacing.
Print speed and text print quality
If you are wanting to print black and white text pages, laser printing is the best option. Even with the entry level laser printers you can expect good print speeds of up to 20+ pages per minute. Inkjets are noticeably slower, with cheaper printers rarely printing more than 6 pages per minute in black.
Almost all cartridges have a chip on them these days