The Comparison of Inkjet and Laser PrintersHide

Should I buy a color laser printer or a color inkjet printer?

That depends on the quantity and quality of the printouts. If the printouts need to be extremely high quality, and you have a high volume of color printing, then a color laser printer may be a good investment. The inkjet printers are not designed to handle large volumes of printing. For example, the monthly duty cycle for the HP 970c Deskjet is 5,000 sheets while the monthly duty cycle for LaserJet 4500 series is 35,000.

Another factor to consider is the high maintenance cost of a color laser printer. Many color laser printers use as many as four toner cartridges. In addition to this, the photosensitive drum needs to be replaced on a regular basis.

What does "duty cycle" mean when buying a printer?


Duty cycle is the maximum number of pages that the printer manufacturer recommends going through the printer in one month. For example, the monthly duty cycle for a printer could be 7000 pages. This means that the manufacturer does not recommend printing more that 7000 page to the printer in a month.


Why are the letters on my printout from my inkjet printer not entirely there?


The ink in the cartridges is running low. Replace the ink cartridges and try again.


I installed a new ink cartridge in my inkjet printer several months ago, but have not used it very much. It is now acting like the cartridge needs to be replaced. Why?


When an ink cartridge is exposed to the air for an extended period of time without being used, the ink starts to dry in the nozzle of the cartridge. Clean the nozzle on the cartridge by taking a dry cloth and wiping it off. If this doesn't work, dampen the cloth with alcohol and clean the nozzle. If this doesn't fix it, you'll need to replace the cartridge.


When I print to my inkjet printer, there is a line that runs across my paper. What causes this?


This occurs when the printhead or something on the printhead is too close to the paper. Keep in mind that the ink is still wet whenever the paper comes out of the printer, so if anything rubs against the paper in the process of printing, the ink will smear or look like a line across the paper. To correct this, check the thickness of the paper. If it is too thick, the head will rub on the paper causing the problem. Some printers have an adjustment for the head. Try backing this adjustment back away from the paper. You may also need to use a lighter weight paper.

Ink may also build up on the bottom of the head, creating a bump on the head. This bump may rub on the paper and cause the lines. This may be fixed by cleaning the printhead. It will also need to be cleaned under the carriage. Please call the Administrative Help Desk if you feel that the printhead needs to be cleaned.

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