How do laser&inkjet printers work?

You probably know that two most common types of printers for office and home use inkjet and laser. Though still might come across old matrix printers that are mostly used in banks.Both laser and inkjet printers have their advantages and disadvantages.

Laser Printer

Laser printers include not only laser but also contain rotating cylinder coated with photosensitive electrically charged material and series of mirrors. When you are sending a document to a laser printer, laser light is reflected by the mirrors on to the cylinder which neutralizes electric charges in specific areas.

Thanks to the rotation of both cylinder and the mirrors, as well as the lasers are turning on and off at precisely correct moments the areas hit by the laser correspond to the actual print. So when the toner particles hit the cylinder they only stick to the areas exposed to the laser light, because the toner itself has an electrical charge too.

Then a sheet of paper is pressed against the cylinder and the toner is transferred through the paper using heat which fuses a toner to it. That is why pages right from the laser printer are always warm.

Due to the precision of the laser these kinds of printers are great for producing crisp and clear text.

Inkjet printer

The other printer type – the inkjet printer, which uses a very different technology. This type of the printer uses liquid ink instead of solid toner particles.

In consumer models, inside of the very expensive cartridges. ink is heated with the electrical charge to vaporize an extremely small amount of ink and form a bubble on the nozzle. The bubble then collapses and the pressure difference pulls a droplet of ink out of the cartridge and on the paper.

Because the internal procedures of the inkjet printer are more simple than the ones of laser printers, they intend to be much cheaper. It is fact that inkjet cannot print as quickly as laser printers, however they can give much better print quality of the photos. So this technology will be the right choice for those who are looking to print their images from DSLR or phone at home.

On the other hand, lots of wide-format inkjet printer owners were disappointed by their printer’s reliability. This is partially caused by extra small moving parts can break. The small nozzles that were mentioned before can clog easily.

Another confusing thing about the inkjet printers is the business model of their manufacturers. The printers themselves are frequently sold for the price that is lower than their cost. That is why the ink usually refills cost a lot. Some manufactures program microchips inside of the cartridges to request ink refill even when the cartridge is not empty.

But the things are getting changed slowly. You can find alternative systems that can be integrated to your printer instead of the cartridges.

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