Whether you’re an office worker, a freelancer that works from home, or an entrepreneur that runs their own business, chances are – you’re going to read led vs laser printer.
And probably quite often.
Although printers can indeed be a man’s worst enemy at times, more often than not, these paper-spewing contraptions can make our lives easier. (Especially if you need to print many documents but can’t go to a print shop to get this done all the time.)
In this article, we will pitch led vs laser printer technologies against each other to see which one takes the cake as the best one. (For the record, many other printers are using completely different technologies from these two.)
In the passages below, we will present to you the features of led vs laser printer.
Here’s the deal.
LED vs Laser Printer – Features & Side-by-Side Comparison
Owning a printer can, indeed, be a great way to have some independence when it comes to the paper documents you need. You can print your books, schedules and even checks if you have a printer that’s specialized for this purpose.
Now, this is all great and dandy, but if you’re one of the people who still doesn’t own a printer but would like to get one, you might have a question on your mind that would sound something like this:
What sort of printer do I even get?
The thing is, if you’re unsure what kind of printer to get, you’re not alone.
Ever since they were invented, printer technology changed so much that there are many printing contraptions out there on the market that all work in different ways but get the same result.
Of course, the slight varieties between these models in terms of cost-effectiveness, page output, and printing speed are the parameters that usually sway people this way or another when it comes to the question of what printer to buy.
The Working Principles of Laser Printers vs. LED Printers
Before we get into more detail explaining the differences between the features of these two types of printers, it’d be useful to explain the technology behind them briefly. After all, their principle of operation is probably the biggest difference between LED printers and laser printers, so by understanding how they work, we can have a clearer picture of some of their other features.
How do Laser Printers Work?
In terms of the complexity of the working system of a printer, so to speak, laser printers would probably be one of the simplest types of printers out there. As their name suggests, they use a light source (the laser) to make somehow the magic of transferring toner paint onto the paper happen. (We’ll explain below how this happens.)
Every laser printer uses these three components, so to speak, to create printed sheets of paper: a drum, a light source, and what else – some paper.
Here’s how the printing process happens with a laser printer:
1) Static electricity is used to charge the drum positively. The drum itself is made out of special photoconductive material, which means that this material can conduct electricity when exposed to light.
2) Above and around the drum, you can find the laser (source of light) and mirrors that are used to direct the light to different parts of the paper. The laser beams fall onto the positively charged drum, and the exact spot where the laser beam meets the drum is negatively charged.
3) After this setup is ready to go, the toner (which is attached to the drum and positively charged) will leave traces of paint in the spots where the laser beams hit the drum and the paper below it. The heat generated during this process will then make the paint stick to the paper, and that’s it!
How do LED Printers Work?
The process of printing with an LED printer is fairly similar to that of a laser printer.
Namely, both of these printing technologies use beams of light that hit a photoconductive drum to create an imprint on the piece of paper that slowly rolls underneath this whole mechanism.
The main difference lies in the way light is projected onto the positively charged drum beneath it. With laser printers, the light source is the laser itself and is then amplified and further modified by the set of mirrors it bounces off of, according to the shape of what needs to be printed.
With LED printers, instead of laser ‘n’ mirrors set up, there is a panel with thousands of small LED lights that turn on and off to make an imprint on the paper.
The rest of the process is fairly similar – positively charged toner and the drum, negatively charged spot that touches the paper, the toner paint sticks to the paper at that exact spot, and there you have it.
At this spot, we can already point out one important difference between these two types of printers.
Even though they are almost 90% similar, the way the light is cast on the drum makes a lot of difference. Since LED printers use a panel of LED lights instead of a complex mechanism of a laser plus mirrors, fewer parts can get broken in the long run.
So, it can be said that LED printers are less likely to break since they don’t have as many parts.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the most important features of both of these types of printers:
Side-by-Side Feature Comparison
When it comes to print quality, laser printers take the cake when compared to their LED counterparts.
The reason behind this is greater freedom to choose between different resolutions than you can do with LED printers. Since the same laser casts light on every pixel, the image or text printed out will be of the same quality.
While the set amount of LED lights does make these printers easier to fix if they break, this also means that they are limited in terms of what kind of images they can produce in terms of resolution.
Also, since pixels are printed by individual lights rather than a single laser, the quality can vary somewhat. (Although this is mostly barely noticeable.)
As we already mentioned above, laser printers contain a great many moving parts. The laser needs to be ‘supported by several mirrors and other parts to make the printing possible.
Unfortunately, when the production process of this unit is in question, this also means that the cost of these printer goes up when they hit the market, which makes them typically more expensive than LED printers.
Thanks to the fact that they use technology that’s quite a bit simpler than the one laser printers use LED printers are less expensive to produce.
There are fewer moving parts that can go wrong, and LEDs are not that expensive but quite reliable. (This is why more and more people opt for LED lightbulbs over the standard ones, by the way.) So, in terms of price, LED printers take a clear win over the laser printer models.
Durability & Reliability
When it comes to the question of durability, laser printers take another beating from their LED cousins. The reasons behind this are quite obvious – more moving parts and more complex working mechanisms mean a higher likelihood of something going wrong.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that laser printers are downright unreliable, but compared to the LED ones, they certainly can’t compete with the simplicity of an LED panel of lights casting rays onto a drum.
Again, fewer moving parts than their laser printer counterparts means a lower price and a lower probability of failure.
Generally speaking, the great thing about LED lights is that they are fairly inexpensive and well-known to be quite reliable relative to their price, so if you buy one of these LED printers, you can rest assured that it won’t break that easily.
When it comes to how much electricity laser printers use to print, this question comes down to two essential parameters:
- The drum, and
- The mechanical parts work together with the laser.
Since the drum uses heat to make the toner, paint stick to the paper underneath it. We know that electrical appliances that have any heating element typically use a lot of energy; we can see that the drum in laser printers will be the biggest energy hog, so to speak, when it comes to the printer’s overall consumption. (That said, LED printers also have a drum, so the consumption here is roughly equal.)
As the second energy consumer in a laser printer (the mechanical parts related to the laser itself) doesn’t use as much energy as the drum, but this value is still higher than the energy LED panel uses to do the same thing.
As we already pointed out in the paragraph above, LED printers also have a heating element in the shape of the drum, so they also tend to use a lot of energy while printing.
The amount of energy LEDs use is quite low compared to the laser in laser printers. So, overall, LED printers use less energy than their laser-using counterparts.
Dimensions & Size
Size-wise, laser printers used to be quite chunky when they were first produced. The reason behind this is fairly simple – more moving parts and a more complex structure means more space is needed to pack it all up ‘underneath the hood.’
That said, as technology progresses, laser printers are becoming smaller and smaller. Nowadays, it can even be not easy to spot the difference between the size of a modern-day laser printer and its LED counterpart. Still, laser printers tend to be a bit larger than the LED’s, but the difference is not that great and, as we said – not so easy to spot.
Even though LED printers share about 90% of the build with laser printers, their light-casting element (the LED panel) is a single, compact board of lights. This means that this lighting component is considerably smaller than in laser printers wither and many moving parts, requiring more space.
Again, as technology progresses, laser printers are becoming smaller and smaller, but overall, we can conclude that LED printers are, on average, a bit smaller than their laser-using cousins.
Speed of Printing
When it comes to the speed of printing, it’s safe to say that most modern-day models, regardless of their working principles, can offer you a pretty fast speed of dishing out printed sheets of paper, so to speak.
Since laser printers have more moving parts and a more complex mechanism than the LED ones, their printing speed is somewhat slower.
Since LED printers work on a principle of one panel of many LEDs that work simultaneously to create prints, we can see how making the toner ink stick to the paper underneath it somewhat faster than the case is with laser technology.
While the difference in speed is not that dramatic, the fact that LED printers have an overall simpler construction does mean that printing speed will be slightly faster than that of a laser printer.
All in all, in the world of printers, where new models and new technologies are developed in a lightning-fast fashion, finding the perfect printer for your needs may seem like a daunting task. When it comes to LED vs. laser printers, it seems that LED models offer a slightly higher printing speed; they typically take up less space on your work desk and are less likely to break.
On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that laser printers are downright bad, so it’s a good idea to take a good hard look at your needs when buying a printer before you commit to purchasing a model that works using a certain technology. We hope you found led vs laser printer in this article helpful and wish you find the best model for your professional and personal needs.