What Is the Difference Between an Officejet and a Laser Printer?

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An Officejet printer is one of a line of Hewlett-Packard inkjet printers designed for business use. Laser printers use dry toner instead of ink and fuse it to the paper using heat. Both types of printers provide adequate quality for text and color images.

Inkjet Printing

Inkjet printers, including Officejets, use liquid ink. They typically have one cartridge for black ink and one or more cartridges for color ink. They heat the ink to boiling and spray it onto the paper through either 64 or 128 tiny nozzles. The printed page may be wet immediately after printing.

Laser Printing

Laser printers use a photosensitive drum upon which they deposit dry toner. The drum is ionized to replicate the images to be printed. Color laser printers have one toner cartridge for black and separate cartridges for cyan, magenta and yellow. Fused toner images are dry when they come out of the printer.


Laser printers are faster than inkjets. Laser printers print an entire page at a time, and inkjet printers print a line at a time.


Print cartridges for inkjets are typically more expensive than laser printer cartridges. Conversely, initial cost of a color inkjet printer is lower. For many laser printers, most of the moving parts reside in the toner cartridge. Replacing the cartridge, therefore, replaces the parts most prone to break, keeping the machine in operation.


  • "Guide to Digital Home Technology Integration"; Quentin Wells; 2008

About the Author

Cathryn Chaney has worked as a gardening writer since 2002. Her horticultural experience working in the nursery industry informs her garden articles, especially those dealing with arid landscaping and drought-tolerant gardening. Chaney also writes poetry, which has appears in "Woman's World" magazine and elsewhere. Chaney graduated from the University of Arizona in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.

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