There are many similarities between these two types of printers. Both can print business documents relatively fast by melting toner to the paper, and both use a photosensitive drum. The drum illumination is what makes them different: LED printers use an array of LEDs that flash the entire line all at once, while laser printers use a laser beam that tracks back and forth across the drum.
LED printers are usually cheaper to make due to the simplicity of the LED array. This isn’t the case with laser printers. These need a precisely focused laser beam and specific optical assembly with many moving parts. These parts make many laser printers costlier than LED printers.
LED printers are more reliable because their main image engines have no moving parts. The LED array does not move, just blinks the pattern of the page. Most laser printers have a rotating optical piece and stationary lasers. The piece scans the laser’s beam against the drum. Laser printers are more likely to break down because of the multiple moving parts in their light engine.
Both laser and LED printers hold a paper path, drums, and toner cartridges. However, the more rudimentary light engine on an LED printer does not require as much physical space, which is why you can say that LED printers have a smaller footprint. However, an LED printer’s size benefit is not so great with a color printer because the printer still needs to be big enough to hold four different toner cartridges.
You can opt for a wide range of digital device types, including inkjet, laser, solid ink, and LED hardware regardless of whether you’re buying a printer for a new office or replacing existing equipment. You can narrow down your choice to toner-based options for durable output that resists friction, heat and moisture. LED and laser printers establish a robust heat-set bond between the surface of the paper and pigmented materials.
These two types of printers seem similar because of their shared reliance on toner, but their differences may make your buying decision simpler.
Generally, laser printers offer better image quality than LEDs, although the differences can be quite hard to pin down. Laser printers have only one source of light, so the same amount of light illuminates every pixel. On LED printers, the print array has thousands of LEDs that can have slight divergences in light output between them. Based on the quantity and size of LEDs in the array, LED printers also have a fixed resolution. On the other hand, laser printers can vary their dot size to change their resolutions.
You may need nothing more than a viable source of color documents that also can make black-and-white printouts when your output consists of presentations, word processing, and correspondence. Both laser and LED printers come in models that use the conventional four colors of toner — cyan, magenta, yellow and black — to produce photos, text, and graphics. If you need to print in white to meet specialized printing needs — such as decals, transfer paper, or DVD labels — you can choose from LED printer models that include a fifth toner cartridge for white output.
Method of Output
As the name suggests, a laser printer uses an internal source of laser light to create a motionless charge on a light-sensitive drum. The static charge attracts toner where page detail should appear, and the detail is then laid down on paper. Laser-based mechanisms use a combination of lenses and mirrors to set up the drum for output.
LED printers eliminate the mirrors and lenses. Instead, they use a variety of light-emitting devices to create the static charge, thus making the output mechanism simpler. The results offer crisp text comparable to laser output when these LEDs emit uniform light.
Both types of printers use high heat to bond paper to toner. Equipment that creates heat uses great amounts of electricity to do so. LED devices can print color output more quickly than laser hardware because they apply multiple toner colors in one pass through the machine. Laser printers have to lay down one toner color at a time. LED printers can offer lower operating costs based on lower power requirements because they feature greater mechanical simplicity than laser printers. LED devices’ simple, straightforward design also can lead to enhanced durability.
LED printers can fit in shorter, smaller casework than laser printers that produce comparable output because their machinery is less complicated. Typically, LED printers use a straight print path, in which all the paper stays flat all the way through the printer. Conversely, most laser printers need to roll each sheet around the drum separately, which is why the paper can come out slightly curled.
Normally, people pay a lot more for a laser printer up front. The exact price depends on several factors. A reliable monochrome laser printer will cost at least $150. For about 50 extra, you can get an entry-level model with some decent features. However, a color inkjet printer would cost around 100. You could get an all-in-one device that includes a fax and a scanner for about the same amount.
The good news is that color laser printers are getting cheaper. Entry-level versions are still deficient in terms of features such as duplexers that make it possible to print on both sides of a page. When the time comes to replace toner cartridges, you’ll have to shell out big bucks. Each color laser printer cartridge costs around $50.
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Our Final Say
A monochrome laser printer is your best bet if you print documents with text and graphics and you don’t have to print photos. You’ll get a lot of output before you need to change the toner. Of course, the product you get will depend on your individual circumstances, financial resources, and other factors.
What’s your opinion on LED vs. laser printers? Please share with us in the comments section below!