Laser Printer Buying Guide

Laser printers have fast become the common printer of choice in offices these days despite the presence of the still-ubiquitous inkjet printers. In the not so distant past, many companies were hesitant to buy laser printers because the unit is significantly more expensive compared to the inkjet counterpart.

But many people have become enlightened to the fact that using a laser printer actually saves money in the long run due to use of resources particularly the ink alternative. Toner used in a laser printer is cheap and can last a long time. Inkjets also tend to be wasteful with ink because of spillage.

Laser printers also work a lot faster so it becomes efficient to use especially when printing hundreds of pages of text documents. Using laser printers for tiny fonts can give more precision compared to inkjets and dot matrix printers because of the laser beam's unvarying diameter that gives better precision in printing. Also, the printing output with laser printer is more durable because the toner fuses with the paper instead of being absorbed as in the inkjet's case.

A laser printer works by using static electricity to attract and hold the toner to a page. The photoreceptor, the core component of the laser printer system, is typically a revolving drum or cylinder which is made of materials with high photo conductivity. Before buying a laser printer, here are some points to consider.

Monochrome or Colored Laser Printer

If you want to use the laser printer to print mainly text documents for home or office use, then choose a monochrome laser printer.

For quite some time, color printing was limited to the real of the inkjet. But newer laser printers are already capable or printing in color.


This is where employing laser printer becomes cheaper compared to using inkjets. Consumables mainly include the toner; others include ozone filter, fuser, developer unit and organic photoconductor drum inside the toner cartridge which need to be periodically changed. You can try to calculate the cost per page of printing by dividing the total number of pages consumed with the consumables and try comparing the result with the cost per page when printing with inkjets.

Toner Cartridge

This is a major component of a laser printer and can be simple to replace in monochrome laser printers. But take note that while most laser printers have the OPC drums housed separately from the toner cartridge, there are some laser printers that have drums housed inside the toner cartridge which can mean additional running cost because the drum will have to be replaced each time the cartridge is replace also.

Dealing with toner cartridge for color laser printers is even more difficult because these printers can have up to nine separate consumable items which include four colored toners, fuser unit, fuser oil, developer unit, OPC belt and a waste toner bottle.


Resolution determines the sharpness, quality and detail of the image or text printed on paper. This is usually measures in dots per inch (dpi). Obviously, the higher the resolution set, the better quality the image has. If you are mostly printing text documents, then a 300 x 300 dpi is a practical choice. But if you want to print high quality images like photo for magazines, try to settle for 1440 x 720 dpi.


The speed of laser printers is measured in pages per minute (ppm). The print speed varies with the kind of page being printed. For instance, printing a whole page of pure text is a lot faster than printing a small photograph. To be sure you get the standard print speed, try the quote for page per minute with blank paper as this refers to the actual speed the engine can turn out.


Most new laser printers connecting using the now ubiquitous Universal Serial Bus (USB) but you must be keen because there are still that use the older type which the Parallel port connection.


When many documents are being simultaneously sent to the printer for to be queued, a printer memory can help prevent the computer system from being slowed down and maintain efficiency. If you are mostly printing graphics that have bigger file sizes, then it is extremely important to add more memory.

Paper Handling

Different printers handle the kind of papers differently. For instance, some kinds of paper get jammed into a laser printer. Another is that color laser print need specialized kind of photo paper. Still another thing to consider is the size of paper that laser printers can handle. So before buying a laser printer, you should consider what common types of paper you generally use because if you frequently use papers larger the common sizes, you might need bigger and heavier duty laser printer.


Try to read the specifications of the laser printer and see what operating systems it is supported with. Take particular notice on the printer language which tells the printer how to properly format the document to print.


Check on their warranty provisions as laser printer units don't come cheap. Make sure that they have a service center near you or you will have to pay for shipment and wait a long time for repairs and replacements.

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