Inkjet or Laser Printing?

By Online Labels

Any time you're in the market for a new printer, the unavoidable question emerges, "Laser or Inkjet?" It can be an intimidating question for people who don't know the difference. Here is what you need to know when deciding between laser and inkjet printers for your labeling projects.

How to Determine Your Printer Type

Below are five quick ways to see what type of printer you already own.

  • Inspect the cartridge. If it's large and bulky, it's most likely toner from a laser printer. Smaller cartridges generally belong to inkjet printers.
  • Is it warm? Laser Printers use a special laser that helps fuse images on paper using ink.
  • Does it smear? Inkjet printers will smudge if the ink is wet. If you rub the print and it smears or bleeds while wet, it's most likely an inkjet printer.
  • Take a look at the model name. Typically, they can identify if it's a laser or inkjet printer.
  • Search the web. A quick search of the model of your printer will often give all of the answers you need!

Deciding which new printer to get can be a pretty tough decision. It can go a little deeper than which price looks the best on the shelf. There are a few long-term factors to consider before making a purchase.

Laser vs. Inkjet: Which Printer is Best for You?

Inkjet Printers

Inkjet Printer

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.

  • Most models are very affordable.
  • Great for occasional use at home or office.
  • Capable of printing images with photo-quality results.
  • Produces vivid colors.
  • Can be costly to operate and maintain.
  • Slower printing print speed compared to most laser printers.
  • Ink cartridges tend to have a short life.

Laser Printers

Laser Printer

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

  • Usually costs less to operate on a daily basis.
  • On average, toner cartridges have a longer life.
  • Sharp text quality.
  • Fast printing speeds.
  • Can be more expensive at time of purchase.
  • Sometimes images and detailed graphics do not print as well.
  • Toner cartridges can be very costly to replace.

Next, Choose The Right Label For Your Printer

Printer Compatibility Chart

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 - Has You Covered

We want to make sure your labels come out as brilliantly as you want them to. We hope we helped you settle the conundrum, inkjet vs. laser printer, and that you're well on your way to creating great marketing pieces, craft essentials, or business organizational tools with the right printer. Whether you decide to go with the inkjet printer or the laser printer, has you covered with our large selection of materials and sizes available for both! For more printer support, label printing help, and label sheet material information, visit our forums.