Do I Need an Inkjet or Laser Printer?

By Online Labels
It's the debate plaguing homes and business owners alike, should you buy an inkjet or laser printer? Depending on your needs, here's how you can decide when it comes time to go through the buying process.
Inkjet or laser printing graphic

Deciding which new printer to get can be intimidating for those of us who don't quite know the difference between the main types: laser and inkjet. There are a few long-term factors to consider before making a purchase. While price is a driving factor, it's important to understand additional factors before making your decision. Here's a little background on each printer type as well as pros and cons you should be aware of.

Not sure which printer type you have currently? Find out.

How They Work

Laser Printers

Laser printers use a special laser to produce an electrically charged image on a drum, which is then rolled through powdered toner. The toner fuses onto the paper using heat. Laser printers have traditionally been used for business applications because of their high printing speeds and ability to handle large volume printing. In general, laser printers tend to be more expensive than inkjet printers.

Inkjet Printers

An inkjet printer propels tiny droplets of ink onto the paper during printing, which then must dry. They are the most common type of printer due to their low cost, high quality of output, capability of printing in vivid color, and ease of use. Unfortunately, frequent ink cartridge replacement may drive up the daily operating cost.


Laser Printers

  • Usually costs less to operate on a daily basis
  • On average, toner cartridges have a longer life
  • Sharp text quality
  • Fast printing speeds

Inkjet Printers

  • Most models are very affordable
  • Great for occasional home or office use
  • Capable of printing photo-quality images
  • Produces vivid colors


Laser Printers

  • Can be more expensive at time of purchase
  • Images and detailed graphics may not print as well
  • Toner cartridges can be very costly to replace

Inkjet Printers

  • Can be costly to operate and maintain
  • Has a slower printing print speed compared to most laser printers
  • Ink cartridges tend to have a short life

Compatible Label Materials

Material Material Code Inkjet Compatible Laser Compatible
Standard White Matte WX
Removable White Matte WR
White Gloss Inkjet WG -
White Gloss Laser WS -
Weatherproof Matte Inkjet WJ -
Weatherproof Polyester Laser LP -
Weatherproof Gloss Inkjet WI -
Clear Gloss Laser CL -
Clear Gloss Inkjet CK -
Clear Matte Inkjet CJ -
Clear Matte Laser CX -
Brown Kraft BK
Blockout for Laser BT -
Weatherproof Silver Polyester Laser SP -
Pastel Colors GX, BX, YX, PX
Fluorescents FG, FY, FP, FO, FR
True Colors TB, TC, TE, TG, TY
Foil for Laser SF, GF -
Foil for Inkjet SI, GI -

Whichever printer type you decide on, we want to make sure your labels come out as brilliantly as possible. Browse our Label Learning Center for tips on creating great marketing pieces, crafts, or business essentials. You can also reach out to our customer service team or browse creations by other customers.