PC Doctor February 27, 2015

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Dear PC Doctor:
I’m working on a project and the instructions say I have to use a laser printer, not an inkjet.  What’s the difference?  How can I tell?
       Thanks, Pete
Dear Pete:
There are some significant differences between inkjet printers and laser printers.  There are benefits with each kind of printer.  Which one you use will be determined by which features suit the needs of your project.
An inkjet printer uses liquid ink sprayed through little nozzles onto the paper.  A laser printer uses a toner cartridge which is filled with colored powder.  Heat fuses the powder onto the paper.
Laser toner cartridges tend to cost more up front, but usually they last longer than inkjet cartridges.
Typically, laser printers print much faster than inkjet printers do.  So, if you typically print large multi-page jobs and need them done quickly, you might consider a laser printer.
Laser printers also typically produce a crisper end document, making them a good choice for professional text projects.  Interestingly, the general wisdom is that inkjets are better for printing pictures – Inkjet printers that are made especially for printing photos give you very high resolution and can sometimes plug directly into the camera, eliminating the need for a computer in between.
The second part of your question is about how to tell whether the printer you have is a laser printer or an inkjet.  If you still have the paperwork that came with your printer, the answer should be there.  If you don’t, take a look at your printer.  Often, the word ‘laser’ will be part of the name of the printer, and it will be written on the outside of the printer housing.  If not, see if the model # is there.  For example, I am looking at a Dell 2330.  It doesn’t say ‘laser’ or ‘inkjet’ on the outside, but I did an internet search for ‘Dell 2330’ and every page discussing this printer identified it as a laser printer.  Do a search for your printer model and you will likely find your answer.
Until next time … Happy Computing!
       PC Doctor