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Inkjet versus Color Laser

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Question: I want to be able to print in color (and let my students do so too), but how can I keep from going broke buying ink cartridges?

The IT Guy says:
We live in a color-rich world. Our kids have grown up without black and white television, or even black and white newspapers! (Remember the old riddle "What's black and white and read all over?" The kids wouldn't get it any more.) However, color printing has been so expensive that many schools have shied away from it.

The problem is low-cost inkjet printers. The printer is inexpensive to buy, and prints fabulous images, but goes through expensive ink cartridges at a ridiculous clip. If you are printing images, it can cost between fifty cents and a dollar per page, not counting using good quality paper for pictures.

One alternative is color laser printers. They look more expensive at first because the printers themselves are more costly and the toner cartridges are expensive. However, the cost of laser printers has come down dramatically, making them much more affordable. More importantly, while the toner cartridges aren't cheap, they last far longer than inkjet cartridges. The cost per page for printing is probably one-fourth or less when compared to an inkjet printer. Another positive for laser printers is that they don't require special paper – they print just fine on plain paper. (As a matter of fact, running glossy photo paper through a color laser printer not only doesn't improve the picture, it can ruin the printer!)

While color laser printers work really well for a variety of color graphics, they don't do photographs as well as inkjet printers. If you want to print photos, you have two options. One is to take them to be printed professionally, because that's actually cheaper than doing it yourself. If you want to print your own, however, then look at purchasing a higher-end inkjet printer. The more-expensive inkjet printers cost more up front, but the ink cartridges they use have a much higher capacity and last a lot longer. If you are considering purchasing one, you can check to see what the expected number of pages it can print per cartridge as you compare models to make sure you get the most pages for your buck!

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