Today most of us have access to a printer, whether you have a printer at home that allows you to print photos or maybe a printer at work to print all those spreadsheets. Either way a lot of us use printers daily, but how much do you actually know about what that device that prints out your word documents actually is… do you know whether the printer in front of you is a inkjet printer or a laserjet?
Well we’ve put together this little guide so you can gain a bit more basic knowledge on what’s what in the printing world.
There are many types of printers out there at the moment and new ones are invented daily, but there are two main types of printers that are used most commonly: the laserjet printer and the inkjet printer.
The laserjet printer was the first of the two devices to become publicly available and widely used in both offices and home. Invented originally by Lexmark, this type of printer was developed in 1969 and uses a very complicated technology that uses lasers and photo-sensitive drums to create images on the paper, but basically the printer ‘fuses’ a fine toner dust to the paper to create the documents that you print.
The dust that is used in this printing process is held within a toner cartridge, this cartridge is the consumable part of the printer and will eventually need replacing once empty. Compared to the cartridges of other printers, the toner cartridge can be very robust and usually very large allowing a lot of prints. This also means that toner cartridges are usually more expensive than an average ink cartridges.
The inkjet printer arrived shortly after the laserjet and they hit the markets in the 1980s. The technology used in this type of printer is just as complicated, but basically the printer pipes ink held in an ink cartridge through a print-head that deposits miniscule droplets of the ink onto the paper to form the images and documents that you print.
This type of printer is generally used a lot more in households and for personal use due to the relatively cheaper costs of the consumables compared to that of the laserjet printers. It is usually thought that inkjet printers are able to print higher resolution and better quality print outs, this is true in most cases but there are also a lot of laserjet printers that print very high quality colour images.
Other types of printers
Although the above mention printers are the most widely used nowadays, there are still a lot of other types of printer.
Over the years there have been a lot of machines that were used just as much as the inkjet or laserjet, but that have now become obsolete. Older models of printer that are not really in use any more include dot matrix and line printers.
There are many other types of printers that either aren’t in use as much as the popular printers or that haven’t been fully developed or released to the public yet. These include ribbon printers, LED printers (similar to a laser printer), thermal printers.
What sort of printer do I need?
So now you know what different printer machines exist out there, but you may still be asking which type of printer is better for you.
It all depends really on what sort of printing you plan to do.
If you plan on doing a lot of printing, perhaps for work you need to print invoices daily, then you may want to buy a laser printer that will allow you to do a load of printing and will do so rapidly.
If you plan on doing casual or very little printing, or if you want to print high quality photos, then an inkjet printer is probably what you need, ideally you should research before hand and find a printer that will take compatible or third party cartridges as this will save you a lot of money.