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Do I Need an Inkjet or Laser Printer?

How to pick your next printer: inkjet or laser

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.

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.

Advantages

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

Disadvantages

  • 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

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.

Advantages

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

Disadvantages

  • 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

Since each printer type is mechanically different, some label materials need to be specialized for each type. While our standard paper-based materials will work with both laser and inkjet printers, our glossy options, metallics, and more require a laser and inkjet variation.

Use the chart below to compare material options with their compatible printer types. Identifying which material you want may help you determine your desired printer type.

Tip: You can scroll the chart left and right.

Material Material Code Inkjet-Compatible Laser-Compatible
Standard White Matte WX
Removable White Matte WR
Aggressive White Matte AT
100% Recycled White RX
White Gloss Inkjet WG -
White Gloss Laser WS -
Weatherproof Matte Inkjet WJ -
Weatherproof Polyester Laser LP -
Weatherproof Gloss Inkjet WI -
Blockout for Laser BT -
Clear Matte Inkjet CJ -
Clear Matte Laser CX -
Clear Gloss Inkjet CK -
Clear Gloss Laser CL -
Silver Foil Laser SF -
Gold Foil Laser GF -
Silver Foil Inkjet SI -
Gold Foil Inkjet GI -
Weatherproof Silver Polyester Laser SP -
Fluorescents FG, FY, FP, FO, FR
Pastel Colors PX, YX, BX, GX
True Colors TE, TY, TG, TR, TB, TP, TC
Brown Kraft BK
Iron-On Transfers HD, HL -
Integrated Form Labels IF
Cardstock Paper KW
Magnetic White Gloss MG -
Void Silver Polyester Laser VS -
Chalkboard Labels CB - -
Patterned White Matte Cigar SW
Patterned Silver Cigar SS -
Weatherproof Vinyl Laser LV -



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.

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