New School Year, New Printer: A Cost/Benefit Comparison


Thursday August 10, 2017

Unlike other school supplies, finding the right printer requires more thought and research. People oftentimes do not know whether they should get an inkjet or laser printer and get overwhelmed by all the models available. Here are some of the pros and cons of inkjet and laser printers, so you can make an informed decision this school year:

Inkjet Printer


  • Expensive to operate: Many of the printer brands sell inkjet ink cartridges at a high cost to the consumer, and cartridges need to be replaced often.
  • Not as good for text: Although quality varies among the various inkjet printer brands, some of them produce gray, fuzzy text on regular office paper. They can print on many different surfaces but are not the preferred printer if you just print text documents on standard paper.
  • Inefficient: Inkjet printers are less efficient than laser printers. Ink cartridges need to be cleaned or replaced more frequently than toner cartridges. Inkjet printers can also only print 50 to 100 pages before you need to add more paper to the output tray. If you or your kids print higher volumes of text documents, you may prefer laser printers because they generally require less maintenance than inkjets.


  • Initial price: Inkjet printers are significantly less expensive than laser printers, usually costing from $50 to $100.
  • Good for photos: Unlike laser printers, inkjet printers can print high-quality images. They are good at blending smooth colors and can also print on harder card stock or glossy photo paper.
  • Quick and sized to fit: Inkjet printers are small, making it easy to find a spot to place it in a home office or study area. They also take almost no time to warm up.

Laser Printer


  • Initial Price: Many people are deterred from laser printers because their sticker price is usually significantly higher than inkjet printers. Black and white laser printers typically cost anywhere from $100 to $300. Color laser printers are usually around $400 to $600.
  • Low-quality photos: Laser printers are not recommended for snapshots or full color photos. The print quality is noticeably lower than inkjet printers, so documents with many images should not be printed with a laser printer.
  • Bulky and slow to warm up: Laser printers print very quickly, but they are slow to warm up. They are also heavier and bulkier than inkjets, which may pose a problem when trying to find a location for it when organizing your space.


  • Speed: Laser printers can print up to 20 to 40 pages of text a minute, which is much faster than any other type of printer.
  • Sharpness: Text documents from a laser printer come out noticeably sharper than other printers, with no smears or runs.
  • Cost-effective supplies: Although laser printers are initially more expensive, their operating costs are lower than inkjet printers. You will need to replace laser cartridges less frequently than inkjet cartridges, making them more cost-effective in the long term. 

Both inkjet and laser printers have different advantages. The type of printer you should get will largely depend on your printing habits and needs during the school year.

Local Experts

If you’re shopping for a new printer for the back-to-school season, come to any of our more 1,000 locations globally for independent advice from a local printing expert. We take the time to listen to your needs and will help you find the right printer for you. Find a Cartridge World store near you.