Inkjet printer information

Inkjet printers - advantages and disadvantages of these printers

Inkjet printers - advantages and disadvantages of these printers

An inkjet printer, also known as a printhead or drop-on-demand (DOD) printer, creates images by ejecting droplets of ink from a series of nozzles onto the surface of a medium. The image can be created on any type of paper and other media such as cardboard, plastic, metal, etc. Inkjet printers are used in many different applications

Of course, such professional inkjet printers do not have to struggle with the same problems as the cheap printers that are mostly sold to private customers.
Such professional inkjet printers are used in the advertising industry and of course do not have to struggle with the same problems as the cheap printers that are mostly sold to private customers.

Well-known manufacturers of inkjet printers

I would like to briefly mention the well-known manufacturers who have a name in the field of inkjet printers.

  • Brother
  • Canon
  • Dell
  • Epson
  • Hewlett-Packard (HP)
  • Kyocera
  • Lexmark
  • OKI
  • Ricoh
  • Samsung
  • Xerox
  • XYZprinting

Annoying: Drying ink and cleaning mechanisms

The main cause of problems with inkjet printers is drying of the ink in the nozzles of the print heads. As a result, pigment and dye particles dry up and form solid blocks of hardened mass that clog the tiny ink channels. This results in ink drops either not landing on the paper at all, or landing far away from where they are supposed to land. Inkjet printers try to prevent this problem by capping the print head nozzles when the printer is not in use. However, in many printers, the printhead nozzle openings are not properly sealed, allowing moisture to evaporate into the air, eventually causing the ink to dry out.

To combat this problem, most inkjet printers have some form of cleaning mechanism. These mechanisms typically consist of a wiper blade or squeegee that sweeps across the surface of the printhead during periods of inactivity. Some models even use a vacuum system that sucks the ink off the surface of the printhead.

However, all of these cleaning methods have one thing in common: they use a lot of ink while cleaning the printhead. If an inkjet printer is used very infrequently, it often needs to be cleaned before printing, which wastes a lot of ink.

The HP Envy is one of the last inkjet printers I owned. Although it claims to use non-drying ink, my print head dried up several times and at some point it became impossible to print streak-free photos (photo: Sir Apfelot).
The HP Envy is one of the last inkjet printers I owned. Although it claims to use non-drying ink, my print head dried up several times and at some point it became impossible to print streak-free photos (photo: Sir Apfelot).

Rather unsuitable for high print volumes

While these systems work well enough for small print jobs, they fall short for long print runs. For one thing, inkjet printers are often significantly slower than laser printers, and for another, they often use colored ink even when just printing a sheet of text. As a result, the price per page for inkjet printers is usually more expensive than for laser printers.

Affordability, flexibility and other advantages of inkjet printers

Affordability is one of the main advantages of inkjet printers over laser printers. Most inkjet printers are inexpensive and easy to use. They are available at very cheap prices.

On the other hand, inkjet printers are more versatile than laser printers because they can print on almost any type of material.

Another benefit of inkjet printers is that they vary in size and performance. Home printers tend to be smaller and lighter than office printers. Industrial models tend to be larger than commercial models. That means the home printer can be more portable, but the industrial model can have a higher print speed or resolution.

Another advantage of inkjet printers is their superiority in photo printing. Especially when it comes to color gradients and glossy photos, photo printers with inkjet technology and special photo paper score better than color laser printers.

Finally, inkjet printers do not use hazardous chemicals like the other printing processes, making them free from health and safety hazards. Laser printers, for example, often cause high levels of ozone and fine dust from the toner.

The manufacturers of inkjet printers usually make money with the expensive ink cartridges and sell the printers themselves very cheaply.
The manufacturers of inkjet printers usually make money with the expensive ink cartridges and sell the printers themselves very cheaply.

Laser printers vs. inkjet printers

Inkjet printers use liquid ink cartridges, while laser printers use powder-based ink or toner. Laser printers tend to be faster and produce higher quality images. Inkjet printers are cheaper than laser printers, but they require frequent replacement of the ink cartridge, which in turn drives up the running costs of the printer.

Disadvantages of inkjet printers

Inkjet printers are inexpensive, but the cost of replacement ink cartridges can be high. Manufacturers derive most of their revenue from the sale of ink cartridges. If you are looking for a cheap printer that does not cause high running costs, you should buy a laser printer. Laser printers are cheaper to run than inkjet printers, but they require toner cartridges. Toner cartridges are usually more expensive than ink cartridges, but they last longer.

Printing costs: inkjet vs. laser printing

A typical inkjet printer costs around $60. However, if you buy a replacement cartridge, you pay about 40 to 50 euros per cartridge. On the other hand, if you buy a toner cartridge for a laser printer, you pay about 100 euros per cartridge.

If you now compare the print performance of the two cartridges, you get about 2000 pages with the inkjet printer, while the laser printer manages 8000 pages. The bottom line is that a laser printer is significantly cheaper per page.

Inkjet printers print slowly

Another disadvantage of inkjet printers is the time it takes to print an image. Inkjet printers are not designed to handle large volumes of printouts. Also, they require non-porous papers or surfaces since the ink is liquid. The paper for these printers is usually thicker or heavier than for laser printers.

If you are interested in an inkjet printer, you should see that the color cartridges can be replaced individually.
If you are interested in an inkjet printer, you should see that the color cartridges can be replaced individually.

Low durability and manufacturing quality in inkjets

Lifespan is definitely an issue for inkjets. The low purchase price, which is actually an advantage for this type of printer, is also a disadvantage at the same time, because the manufacturers make noticeable savings in quality.

While most laser printers are built very solidly, you quickly notice that the construction of cheap inkjet printers is very rickety. Metal parts are rarely found and spare parts are usually not available.

Always prefer laser printers for black and white printing

If you are looking for a printer for the office that only prints in black and white, you should always use a laser printer. Apart from the significantly lower printing costs per page, the print quality is often better.

My experiences with inkjet printers so far have been very modest. Whenever I had to print, the printer often wanted to clean itself first. Another problem was that the HP inkjet printer stopped printing if only one color was empty - this happened even if I only wanted to print black and white text.

In my view, laser printers are also much more reliable and more suitable for large print volumes. But they don't clog up just as well if they haven't printed anything for a few weeks. This is often a problem with an inkjet printer.

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