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Home > > Solid Ink Technology > Solid Ink vs Inkjet vs Laser

Solid Ink vs Color Inkjet vs Color Laser

If you are considering buying a color printer, there are 3 choices in the market today: color inkjet, solid ink and color laser printers.  It is hard to say which type of printer is the best because each printing technology has its own advantages and disadvantages.  However, understanding your own need and the features of these printers can help you make a better decision.

Color inkjet printers have low initial investment: you can buy a color inkjet printer for under $100.  However, you will use up the color inks quickly and the replacement cartridges are expensive.  Color inkjet printers have slow print speed and they can only handle low volume printing.  Color inkjet printers cannot print on all media.  To produce high quality images, you need to use expensive photo papers.  Inkjet cartridges tend to leak and produce smears on some papers, causing blurred images.  Color inks are not resistance to light and water, and the color may fade over time.  Empty ink cartridges are a burden to the environment but you can choose to refill the cartridges several times before throwing them away.

Color laser printers are more expensive than inkjet printers.  Although some manufacturers have significantly reduced the price of color laser printers, the loss of profit is compensated by the price increase of the replacement toner cartridges.  For a budget color laser printer under $250, one set of replacement cartridges can cost $100 to $200.  Color laser printers can produce high quality text at a fast print speed but they are less capable of producing vivid colors and high quality images.  The toner powder can spill and it is difficult to clean up.  Empty toner cartridges take up a lot of space in the landfill and take a long time to decompose. 

Solid ink printers are new comers in the color printing market.  Solid ink produces high quality text and images on a wide range of media.  It has fast print speed and is good for high volume printing.  Solid ink is easy to use and handle, there is no spillage or leakage.  When the ink sticks are used up, there is no empty cartridge left and it is good for the environment.  Solid ink printers have a compact design and it takes up less space than color laser printers.  Solid ink printers are more expensive than color inkjet and some budget color laser printers, but the consumables are more affordable.  Solid ink printers need longer warm up time and use more power to WINTER15 up the ink.  The wax based ink is difficult to write on and may fade under sunlight over time.

The following table summarizes the general features of color inkjet, solid ink and color laser printers:

  Color Inkjet Solid Ink Color Laser
Printer Price low medium medium to high
Replacement Cartridges (cost per page) high low medium
Print speed slow fast fast
Print quality good text quality, excellent image quality on special paper excellent text and image excellent text, average image quality
Print media cannot print on some media can print on a wide range of media cannot print on some media
Leak / spill yes no yes
Warm up time no warm up time long short
Permanence not resistant to light and water resistant to water, not resistant to UV resistant to light and water
Waste (empty cartridges) yes no yes
Printing capacity low volume high volume high volume
Printer size compact compact bulky
Smearing yes no no

 

To sum up, color inkjet printers are good for home use whereas solid ink and color laser printers are designed for business printing.  It is quite difficult to compare the actual cost per page for different types of printers because you should consider the prices of the printer and the replacement cartridges together.  In addition, the low end and high end models of each printer type can vary greatly.  However, solid ink printers have a distinct advantage in terms of the amount of waste produced.  In spite of higher initial investment cost, solid ink cartridges are less expensive than the cartridges using other technologies.  Solid ink can print high quality text and image on various print media.  These are big advantages for small businesses which have regular printing jobs and need versatility for different applications and affordable color printing.

 

Advantages and disadvantages of solid ink
Solid ink vs color inkjet vs color laser

 

 

 


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