Inkjet vs. Laser

Updated: February 22, 2010

Laser Printer Maintenance

Most laser printers use a toner cartridge that combines the photoreceptor or drum, the toner supply bin, the waste toner hopper, and various wiper blades. When the toner is empty, the replacement toner cartridge will automatically replace the other necessary elements. Some laser printers keep count of the number of pages printed from the last service date. On models without a page count, the user must keep track of pages printed or watch for warning signs like paper feed problems and print defects. Life expectancy of laser printers is determined by number of pages, not units of time. Color laser printers may require more maintenance and parts since they contain more imaging components. Maintenance typically includes vacuuming toner and dust from the printer, and replacing, cleaning, or restoring the rubber paper-handling rollers. Fusers may also need replacing, as it melts and bonds the toner to the paper. With the extra mechanics, a laser printer is often noisier than an inkjet printer.

Inkjet Printer Maintenance

The majority of maintenance on inkjet printers revolves around the ink and the probability of the ink drying up. Toners for color inkjet printers hold less ink, therefore need to be replaced often. If the inkjet printer has a disposable head it is supplied as a part of a replaceable ink cartridge. Many ink cartridges contain a microchip used to communicate the estimated amount of ink in the cartridge to the printer; however, these devices have been known to inaccurately inform the user on proper timing for replacement. The microchip is also included in replacement ink cartridges.

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