What is a laser printer

What is a laser printer? The laser printer is one of the most common types of printer on the market today. Laser printers share the top spot with inkjet printers. Laser printers range in price and performance from very cheap home or consumer grade laser printers all the way up to expensive business-grade models.

what is a laser printer

Although laser printers are capable of printing good quality images, it is the crisp and clear text they produce that makes them stand out. If you don’t need to print glossy photos and most of us don’t – then the laser printer is an ideal home choice as well as the business favorite.

What is a laser printer?

Think photocopier when you think of laser printers. It was the invention of electrophotography that inspired the creation of both the photocopier and the laser printer. They both use a complicated system to print but you don’t need to understand it to use one. So you can skip the next section unless you want to know more.

Laser printer – What happens when you click print?

First, a plan of action or in computer speak ‘printer command language’ (PCL) is sent from the computer to the laser printer. This ‘plan of action’ tells the laser printer via an electronic circuit board how to create your text or image on the page.

Inside the toner cartridge, a cylinder-shaped drum turns and rubs against a charger roller creating an electrostatically charged drum. An oppositely charged laser is then fired into a mirror which is reflected onto the drum.

The laser uses the plan of action to draw out the image or text onto the drum. The oppositely charged design created by the laser attracts the toner particles in the form of your text or image. As the drum rotates it rolls the ink particles in the design onto the paper. Which is then heat sealed by the fuser to the paper as it’s ejected (in all its warm glory) to the paper tray.

Laser printers and ink

The Ink in the cartridge is made up of millions of tiny particles of dry powdered toner. This means it does not dry out, clog up the nozzles or waste ink when cleaning like inkjet and dot matrix printers. Instead of throwing away dried up inkjet ink cartridges because you didn’t print anything for a week; you simply remove and shake the cartridge.

Laser printers – the good points

  • Less ink mess, spillage and smudging on the printed page with toner. It is dry before it leaves the printer.
  • Toner is dry, therefore it will last much longer than wet ink when unused for periods of time.
  • There are no jets or nozzles to clean
  • Cheaper to run because of the above.
  • Sharp clear and crisp text
  • Images do not fade over time.
  • Fast printing

Laser printers – the bad points

  • Cartridges are expensive to buy.
  • The toner within the cartridge is a carcinogen. Although they are completely safe in normal use.
  • Single colour cartridges.
  • Cannot print on glossy photographic paper or other media.

Should you buy a laser printer?

In conclusion, the cartridges for laser printers are expensive but they last a lot longer than inkjet printer cartridges. Laser printers are the only real occasional use printer option. You can print as little or as often as you like with a laser printer.  They are fantastic at printing crisp black text and ‘everyday’ images which do not fade or lose quality over time.

If it is fast, relatively cheap and if crisp black printing is what you need, then the laser printer is the perfect option! If you are still unsure click here to see our post on inkjet printers.

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