There are a number of different manufacturers of laser printers, but in many aspects, all laser printers are very similar. They all use heat to melt a solid toner colorant onto a page that is fed one sheet at a time, and most produce very crisp output at relatively fast speeds. However, underlying these basic similarities are some significant differences between the manufacturers’ approaches to building laser printers.
1) Laser or LED
Not all printers claim to be laser printers. They all employ light to form a page image on a drum that draws and deposits toner, but some produce that light using a laser and a set of mirrors, while others do so with a collection of tiny light emitting diodes. LED printers, such as those produced by Okidata, Dell, and Brother, are frequently more affordable, quieter, and more compact. Although the differences are typically small, printers that use a moving laser beam, such as those made by Hewlett-Packard and Canon, can theoretically create output that is sharper and has a greater resolution.
2) Cartridge Types
The kind of cartridge a printer uses has a significant impact on how much it costs to run. The majority of HP black-and-white laser printers utilize a cartridge that combines the image drum and toner supply. Drums and toner cartridges for some printers, such those made by Brother, are distinct. The toner cartridges for printers with separate cartridges are typically less expensive, but they also need to periodically have the imaging drum replaced separately. Costs can be reduced overall by reusing the drum via several toner cartridge changes.
3) Toner Levels
Whether or not the printer ships with fully filled toner cartridges is one of the main brand differences. The “starter” cartridges that come with some printers might only be partially full. While the cost of a cartridge may not be substantial in comparison to a fast black-and-white printer, it can be expensive to refill some personal color laser printers. While certain manufacturers, like Brother, are more likely to frequently offer starting cartridges in the box, others only do so with specific cartridges. Make careful to include the cost of an early cartridge change for the printer with starter cartridges when comparing the prices of devices from different manufacturers.