Colour laser printer vs colour inkjet

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by patent10021, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. patent10021 macrumors 68030


    Apr 23, 2004
    Looking for a colour laser printer for SOHO. Will be used for light CAD and interior design work too. Colour laser printers are so cheap now is there any advantage to buying inkjet? How much are the toner replacements for colour laser printers vs inkjet? What's the quality like of colour laser printers these days?
  2. rei101 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 24, 2011
    As far as I know... laser can print 20 times more but inkjet has 300 times better quality but is expensive and way less copies.

    I used to have both and laser used to do the work just well and lasted for ever. You can have an inkjet printer too for photo realistic printings. It will last you for a year or more for sure.

    But for day to day used laser.
  3. mreg376 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Well, I wouldn't say that inkjet quality is "300 times better" than laser. For text lasers are sharper and more consistent, and business/school graphics from a decent color laser are as good or better than all but the most expensive inkjets. Inkjets do shine on photos, although you now can have excellent color prints made cheaply and quickly at places like Costco. At this point in laser technology and pricing I find it hard to recommend an inkjet printer for anything other than photo printing, unless you must have a printer under $100. Also, as lasers use powder toner instead of ink, occasional users have no issues of dried out ink or nozzle clogging with a laser.
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    The cheap color laser printers aren't much of a deal since they hold so little toner. If you are doing a lot of printing you'd want a higher end model which uses much larger toner. I'd assume a model with a 500 sheet tray would use the larger toner.

    The two key advantages I see for inkjets are the availability of reliable third party or refilled ink cartridges and photo print quality. Even now laser printers cannot match the quality of photo grade prints from an inkjet. Although for most prints they are more than acceptable. If you are finicky and insist on high quality photo grade prints the laser just won't compete.

    As for the refilled cartridges it is true that you can get refilled toner. However, I have found the reliability of these refills to be poor. Most seem to have problems with streaking or light areas of print. Which cannot be corrected no matter how much you clean or roll the toner.

    So while you can get the used toner buy it ahead of time and test it out. As you will likely have to return them a few times before you get a good one or find someone that refills them correctly.
  5. patent10021 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Apr 23, 2004
    Exactly what I was thinking. Before people roulette but inkjet because colour laser was either subpar or ultra ultra expensive. But I saw a great Samsun SL-C4...? Wifi colour laser printer today for $250. All-in-one with fax scanner too.

    Ok I have decided to get a colour laser printer. Next question. What brand and model? We don't need fax (does anyone fax?) and we wont need a scanner. Just a nice simple wifi colour laser printer. We'll if it comes with those functions that's fine but they usually have a smaller footprint without all those functions.

    Any suggestions?
  6. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I prefer Brother printers. I like their software for OSX. I have a somewhat older model, a HL-4040CDN. It prints very well and I've only run out of toner once in several years. But when I did run out of toner, it cost about as much as the printer! I've replaced Cyan, Magenta and Yellow but Black is still holding on. I'll replace it when it goes but for now it seems like black is lasting twice as long. One reason is that I use my Brother B&W printers most of the time and whenever I use the 4040, I have something color to print so having a double capacity black cartridge (as is Brother's default design), means my black doesn't run out as quickly as the other colors.

    Hope this helps.
  7. abbottcostello macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2013
    Bflo, NY
    I've got a Samsung CLX-3175FW, bought in late '09 or early '10, was on sale for $199, at Staples IIRC.
    It's a multifunction (FAX, copy, scan, print) & it is wireless, which I like a lot. I use all but FAX feature.

    My son is in an Architecture program & does a lot of printing, mostly black & white (with a little urging from me, haha). It's on the 2nd black toner cartridge I just bought a Rosewill brand black refill for $25 on sale at newegg since the current one is less than 50%, but color cartridges are holding up ok. It has been trouble free so far.

    I'm surprised to read that the inkjets are better quality, I always had problems with the HP ones I had in the past. Printing was uneven and the colors faded. Sounds like they've come a ways with the inkjet quality?
  8. OLDCODGER macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2011
    Lucky Country
    Limited experience here, but I strongly recommend one where the manufacturer updates its drivers in line with new OSs. I have a Samsung colour laser, and 10.6.4 broke its software, which has never been fixed!
  9. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    Another vote for color laser here. I had quite a few inkjets that died on me due to clogged heads and ink cartridges that would not be recognized. Finally, I gave up and moved to a color laser. It has turned out to be one of the best purchases I ever made.

    I got the same printer abbottcostello got at the same price from the same retailer. I'm still using my original toner (but I will need to replace them very soon).

    I don't know which current models are good but I can advise you to beware of HP laser printers. They use toner cartridges that are date sensitive and can "expire". This means that if you don't use your printer for a long enough stretch of time, the cartridge can expire and you will be forced to replace it even though the toner in it may be full. It is a blatant attempt by them to rape consumers.
  10. kingtj macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD
    Color laser, by a hair ....

    I've owned and used a LOT of both types of printers, both in our office (where we do marketing so lots of color printing is done) and at home.

    The thing about inkjet printers is, they perform really well when you have correct PAPER to print on. For example, photo paper matched to the type of ink the printer uses is the key to getting amazing photo prints. Buying generic photo paper vs. the type sold by your printer manufacturer can mean sub-standard results (sometimes even resulting in horrible prints that are all smeared or smudgy).

    When your goal is getting a good quality color print on plain paper, you can't beat a color laser. Toner adheres equally well to just about any paper the printer can feed correctly.

    As someone else said, I'd keep around a good color inkjet printer only if you need to print photos on matte or glossy photo paper, and stick with the manufacturer's own ink AND paper supplies for it. It won't be cheap to print with it and if you don't use it fairly regularly, ink will clog or dry out. But it's the best tool for this one specific task.

    For anything else, a color laser is the better product. It will generally print faster, give great results even on cheap copier paper, won't dry out or clog, and often costs less per page to print with it - even though the supplies cost a lot more to replace when they do run out.

    BTW: Be careful of Brother printers. They always seem to get great product reviews when new models are released (and rightfully so, IMO, because they do have good drivers even for OS X most of the time and they do a lot for the money). But support after the sale is TERRIBLE. If you're unlucky enough to get one that develops a problem, you almost may as well just throw it away rather than try to make a warranty claim. The process is so painful and tedious, it's not worth the time and effort.
  11. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    Xerox seems to do a nice job keeping up with drivers.
  12. Phildo macrumors member


    Nov 14, 2011
    Perth, Western Australia
    I bought a secondhand HP Color LaserJet CM1312nfi MFP earlier this year.

    Love it. Very impressed with the printing output quality. Much better than my previous Epson C1100N.

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