Inkjet Printers

An inkjet printer is any printer that places extremely small droplets of ink onto paper to create an image. If you ever look at a piece of paper that has come out of an inkjet printer, you know that:

  • The dots are extremely small (usually between 50 and 60 microns in diameter), so small that they are tinier than the diameter of a human hair (70 microns)!

  • The dots are positioned very precisely, with resolutions of up to 1440x720 dots per inch (dpi).

  • The dots can have different colors combined together to create photo-quality images.

The term inkjet printer is very descriptive of the process at work -- these printers put an image on paper using tiny jets of ink. The term laser printer, on the other hand, is a bit more mysterious -- how can a laser beam, a highly focused beam of light, write letters and draw pictures on paper?

�As it turns out, the laser printing process is based on some very basic scientific principles applied in an exceptionally innovative way.

Advantages of a Laser

So why get a laser printer rather than a cheaper inkjet printer? The main advantages of laser printers are speed, precision and economy. A laser can move very quickly, so it can "write" with much greater speed than an ink jet. And because the laser beam has an unvarying diameter, it can draw more precisely, without spilling any excess ink.

Laser printers tend to be more expensive than inkjet printers, but it doesn't cost as much to keep them running -- toner powder is cheap and lasts a long time, while you can use up expensive ink cartridges very quickly. This is why offices typically use a laser printer as their "work horse," their machine for printing long text documents. In most models, this mechanical efficiency is complemented by advanced processing efficiency. A typical laser-printer controller can serve everybody in a small office.

When they were first introduced, laser printers were too expensive to use as a personal printer. Since that time, however, laser printers have gotten much more affordable. Now you can pick up a basic model for just a little bit more than a nice inkjet printer.

As technology advances, laser-printer prices should continue to drop, while performance improves. We'll also see a number of innovative design variations, and possibly brand-new applications of electrostatic printing. Many inventors believe we've only scratched the surface of what we can do with simple static electricity!