Laser and Inkjet Printers
The difference in quality between lasers and most inkjets is nearly unnoticeable in your typical word processing document of 10- or 12-point type. For fonts under 8 points or over 14 points, however, the vague fuzziness of some inkjet type grows, affecting readability and aesthetics. When text quality and size range is the issue, go laser. Even if an inkjet printer claims a higher resolution, the laser printer will triumph for character and line quality. Laser printers use toner, which sits crisply on top of the paper and doesn't spread, like ink does as it is absorbed.
When color printing is the issue, however, an inkjet printer is the way to go. In general, inkjets are a less expensive purchase than lasers, and newer models are approaching laser-quality image and speed. If both text quality for word processing and color for graphics are a must, it's not a stretch to get both types of printers. The laser is the workhorse, easily network-ready and quickly churning out letters, reports, and the Great American Novel, while the inkjet nimbly handles the color work. Most users can find an adequate combination to meet their needs affordably when their job, hobbies, and lifestyle merit the purchase.
For professional photographers and graphic artists, the photo-quality printer takes up where the color inkjet leaves off, allowing you to print photos from digital camera files and art from graphics files. Some photo-quality printers read and print directly from digital storage media, bypassing the computer altogether.
The main type of photo-quality printer is photo inkjet. Photo inkjets are easy to use, media-flexible, and affordable, using a jet-spray technique to combine four to six colors of ink. Six-color ink cartridges usually include at least two tanks of ink specifically for photos to broaden the range of color combinations.
Photo printers produce flawless images that change tone gradually, without discernable patterns or jumps in color. This printer choice is for professional high-resolution printing, not for word processing or simple color work, because the cost per page is higher and the printer pace slower than traditional inkjets.