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Difference between Inkjet and Laser digital printing

Traditional photocopiers use either a moving or a static scanning device to capture images for copying. Moving scanning devices pass over a document multiple times, once for each copy being produced. Static devices use repeated flashes — one flash per copy, like clicking a camera. A digital copier, on the other hand, uses optical technology to scan the image once. It then stores that image and prints copies using either inkjet or laser printing methods. At Burleigh Print we use digital copiers because they provide a superior finished product with higher quality image rendering and a broader reduce/enlarge scale.

Digital copiers use either laser or inkjet technology to produce copies. There are many differences between a laser and an inkjet printer including cost, speed, quality, space and networking facilities. At Burleigh print we aim for the highest quality print for you that is provided quickly and cost efficiently; and so our digital printers use laser technology.

The technology used for inkjet cartridges is simpler and the parts are less expensive than the laser toners. The black inkjet cartridge has only black ink. The colour inkjet printer contains two main ink cartridges, for black and other primary colours respectively. The primary colours are then divided into three compartments for cyan, magenta and yellow ink. The primary colours are consequently mixed to produce all other colours. The cartridge contains a reservoir which has compartments with metal plates and a number of tiny nozzles on the print head of the cartridge. The number of holes or nozzles depends on the resolution of the printer. The ink gets heated, when the current starts flowing through the metal plates, after the print command is given. The heat causes vapour bubbles to form inside the cartridge and make the ink swell up. The ink then flows out in droplets from the nozzles onto the paper in a few milliseconds. A vacuum is created (once the ink droplet flows out) which draws more ink into the nozzles ensuring a steady supply of droplets as required. This common technique is called Thermal Inkjet and the coinage of the name ‘BubbleJets’ by Canon has been due to the bubbling vapours.

The Laser toners use a more elaborate and complex technology. A powder called Toner is used by laser printers, fax machines and photocopiers to print text and images on laser and photo paper. Initially carbon powder was used but now manufacturers use disposable cartridges which can sometimes be refilled. For the laser toners, individual carbon particles are mixed in a polymer, which melt in heat. This binds to the fibres in the paper. The laser printers consist of the printer toner and the drum. The positively charged toner gets attracted to the negatively charged drum. The toner is transferred to the paper by the drum. The toner contains special wax that melts and dries in milliseconds. When the toner is transferred, the fuser applies heat and pressure to make a durable image. The fuser system is made up of the hot-roll and the back-up roller.

Since Inkjet Printers spill out tiny droplets of ink to print, the resolution is lower than the laser printers. Laser Printers print better quality text, as their resolution is higher. High resolution also helps the laser printers create precise fonts without fuzzy edges. Laser printers are capable of producing good quality prints on all kinds of printing paper but the inkjet printers will require inkjet paper to produce good quality prints without any fuzzy edge brought about by bleeding.


While all this is quite technical, it means that you can leave it to us to ensure you get a high quality printed product, on time and within budget.


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