Laser, Inkjet, Dot matrix printers and their Problems

After purchasing a laser printer, I realized that all printers have their faults.

A dot matrix printer is dirt cheap on ink, but it is also cheap on quality of prints.

An inkjet printer is great for making photos, but it is expensive on ink.  Furthermore, the ink cartridge may jam up.  The article can be read at http://aprivatebeach.com/blog/2009/11/hp-officejet-6500-problem/

A laser printer is cheap on toner, but can begin to fail after printing too many pages from overheating.  Although, the paper thickness maybe an issue also.  The solution to frequent laser printer paper jams can be seen at http://aprivatebeach.com/blog/2009/12/prevent-laser-inkjet-printer-paper-jams.  Tested and works so far on a Samsung CLP-315 laser printer.

Therefore, depending on your usage requirements, one printer may be a better fit over another.

Comparison of laser vs inkjet ownership costs
http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/testdrive/article.php/3521141

Comparison of dot matrix vs laser vs inkjet cost per page.  This article is quite old and does not reflect the prices now.  Nevertheless, it is a comparison.  http://mimech.com/printers/choose-printer.asp

If one wants to minimize the toner or inkjet expense when purchasing a laser or inkjet printer http://aprivatebeach.com/blog/2009/11/thing-to-know-before-purchasing-a-laser-or-inkjet-printer will provide some help.

The laser printer seems to be the printer of choice, but I now realize that it does get really hot.  Therefore, ensure that you DO NOT use any paper that is glossy, waxy, or designed for inkjet printers.  Furthermore, read the manual and find out how many pages it can print maximum.  My Samsung CLP-315 has a maximum of 20,000 pages monthly.

After printing about 50 pages at one time, my Samsung CLP-315 fuser got really hot.  Therefore, it maybe be better to print your documents in smaller batches every hour.  This will ensure that your printer does not suffer a serious meltdown.

Interestingly enough, the Samsung CLP-315 instruction manual has a list of replaceable parts.  The parts are located on page 41.  It seems that if you are using this printer quite a bit, you should look into replacing the various parts.  The toner is not the only part that needs to be changed regularly.  This maybe the case for other laser printers too.

printer replacement parts
Samsung CLP-315 replacement parts

Samsung CLP-315 instruction manual at http://org.downloadcenter.samsung.com/downloadfile/ContentsFile.aspx?CDSite=ca&CttFileID=1893989&CDCttType=UM&ModelType=C&ModelName=CLP-315&VPath=UM/200911/20091106143806375/Guide_EN.pdf

If the manual has been moved you can do a search on samsung.com or try http://www.samsung.com/ca/consumer/detail/support.do?group=printermultifunction&type=printermultifunction&subtype=colourlaser&model_cd=CLP-315/XAA&mode=C

From what I have read, the laser printer drops powder from the toner onto a round magnetic drum.  That drum rolls the powder onto the paper.  From there, the powder is burned onto the paper shortly before leaving the printer.  Therefore, if you put any kind of special paper that can melt from the hot fuser, there is a good chance that your printer will no longer work.

Their uses

In the end, the question is still what is each good for.  I will give my opinion based on my experiences.

Dot Matrix Printer – Very inexpensive overall.  Compared to the laser and the inkjet printers, it is probably the most inexpensive printer to own and run.  Dot matrix printers do have their problems though.  The advantages and disadvantages can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot_matrix_printer#Advantages_and_disadvantages

The quality of the printing is quite poor.  Printing a resume on these printers is not encouraged.  The poor quality of the printing will make your resume stand out.  Laser and inkjet printers are better for resume printing.

These are commonly used to print drafts and/or documents that are going to be filed for record-keeping purposes.  I believe that banks still use a dot matrix printer.

Businesses also use it to print documents that make more than one copy.  For example, a Bill of lading.  This can be four sheets thick.  A copy goes to the shipper, receiver, driver, and the office.  In this case, a dot matrix makes sense because it can produce enough pressure to make multiple copies.  Furthermore, when signing the document, a person only has to sign once.  He/she has to make sure that he/she presses hard on the paper.  For a more detailed look at the dot matrix printer, one can read about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot_matrix_printer

Inkjet printer – Sometimes given free with every computer purchase, it is rumored that manufacturers make their money on the expensive name-brand ink cartridges and not the printer.  Inkjets are reserved for printing of high quality photos or high quality glossy documents.  They are also used to print various documents such as resumes, homework, and other stuff, but cost more than a laser printer in overall costs.

Laser printer – These are seen and used in pretty much every office environment.  The quality is decent and the cost per page is much lower than the inkjet printer.  In some cases, the total yearly ownership cost of a laser printer can be 1/5 of the inkjet yearly ownership cost in high volume areas.  Therefore, if you spend $1000 yearly on ink for your inkjet, a laser may cost you about $200 yearly on toner.  Being much cheaper than an inkjet printer in overall costs, printing resumes, homework, and other stuff in color will be much cheaper on a laser than a inkjet printer.

For high volume printing, two or more laser printers and/or business class laser printers are recommended.  Since laser printers do heat up, one will have to see if a laser printer can handle the workload.  Cheaper models are designed for light duty (home use) while more expensive models are heavy duty (business use) models.  To determine which one to choose, look at the maximum recommended number of pages printed monthly (monthly duty cycle) for each laser printer and compare that to what the company prints monthly.  This will be a good indicator if a laser printer can handle the workload.  The monthly duty cycle can be found either on the box, or in one of the manuals either in the box or online.

My experiences

I have used all three printers, and I must say that I like the color laser printer.  In college, I had to buy three ink cartridges daily to keep up with my printing.  After about a week I bought a monochrome laser printer.  The $120 laser printer toner printed pages for a little over a year before running out.  Much cheaper than the inkjet that cost me $25 per ink cartridge.

Buying refill kits can reduce the cost further.  Unfortunately, it requires one to get his/her hands dirty.  Buying refill kits can be read at http://aprivatebeach.com/blog/2011/08/purchasing-a-brother-hl-3040cn-color-laser-printer/

Comparing the quality of the laser vs the inkjet’s printing, the inkjet wins hands down.  When it comes to printing various documents such as resumes, homework and posters, a laser printer is good enough.

Unfortunately, as of Nov 30, 2011, the complete set of color laser printer’s toner seem to cost more than the laser printer itself.  Although, I do buy the budget laser printers that are usually under $300.  Therefore, it seems that laser printers may have joined the ink jet family.

My next purchase may have to be a photocopier.  Although, it is currently too large and expensive as of yet.

Back in the 90’s, I had a dot matrix printer.  The ribbon cost $25 and it was much cheaper than a laser printer in overall cost.  Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find a dot matrix printer for regular home use.  Furthermore, the quality may not be that good.  Nevertheless, a dot matrix priner rarely has any problems with overheating and/or jamming.  Something a laser printer often does.  The only problems I have found with dot matrix printers is the poor print quality and the paper type which may require some work to find a store that sells it.

dot matrix
Dot matrix printer paper

It is possible to use the continuous form feed paper from a dot matrix printer on a laser or an inkjet printer.  Unfortunately, the pages and the edges will have to be separated.  Continuous feed will jam up both printers.  Furthermore, laser and inkjet printers cannot make carbon copies.

3 thoughts on “Laser, Inkjet, Dot matrix printers and their Problems”

  1. You have provided great information about printers and their problems. Dot matrix printer can print on multi-part stationary or make carbon copies. Thanks for sharing this awesome post.

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