Inkjet Vs Laser Paper

When comparing inkjet versus laser paper, the differences narrow down to absorbability and underlying technology. When you can use standard office paper for both printers, each technology calls for a paper that corresponds with its use. Paper selection is most important when clarity and quality are not exceptions. Why? 

Because laser printers use thermal technology and thus require papers that will withstand heat while maintaining quality prints, on the other hand, inkjet printers use ink. They, therefore, require papers that absorb the liquid ink without damaging quality. Thus, for the most precise results, laser paper and inkjet paper are used for inkjet printers. Moreover, laser printers can be damaged over time due to using the wrong media.

Understanding the Difference Between Laser and Inkjet Paper

Knowing how each printing technology operates is necessary to understand better why each printing technology requires a companion paper. Let’s figure this out;

  1. Inkjets and Liquid

While moisture and paper don’t come together nicely, Inkjets work by spraying liquid ink onto paper. With ordinary paper, the ink spreads fast to give blurry images that can’t be desired. To hinder smudges and blurry images, inkjet papers feature unique coatings that enhance rapid drying, preventing ink from blurring.

  1. Laser Printers and Heat

Laser printers use a toner with solid powder. They have rollers that fuse the paper’s powder and apply heat to produce images. The levels of heat produced by the rollers require one to go for papers that can withstand high temperatures. Special laser papers are highly heat resistant and contain few to no coatings as they could melt in the printer and pose damage to the print quality and potentially the printer.

Features of Inkjet Paper

Inkjet papers have tiny dots that consist of dyes similar to those found in photocopiers. These dyes work by creating a colored dot on the paper’s surface once they absorb light. As a result, o being exposed to ink. The dots can then be transferred onto another surface by heat or pressing them against another medium.

The most noticeable feature of inkjet papers is producing high-quality prints while keeping bleeding and smears at bay. These papers are also durable and cost-saving as they do not require the application of any special coatings to maintain the image quality. This makes them a go-to solution for everyday business printing needs.

Features of Laser Paper

Laser printer paper features a toner that contains special pigments that form a chemical reaction with surrounding moisture in the atmosphere to produce permanent printouts. The printouts may be slightly different, but this is not highly noticeable and has no effect on general quality and appearance. The text and images are uniform on all media.

The features of laser paper are highly seen in its high resolution, glossy/matte finish, and protective coatings.  

  • High resolution means that each pixel is small enough to occupy its own space without overlapping. High resolution also ensures no visible artifacts on the paper’s surface and thus enhances quality results.
  • A gloss/matte finish produces slightly different results. Matte finishes add more depth to images, while glossy finishes enhance a brighter color appearance.
  • A coating layer on laser paper offers protective capabilities that prevent smudging and facilitate smooth handling during shipping. There are uncoated laser papers, too, plus most companies are increasingly using post=consumer waste (recycled content0 instead of virgin pulp. PCW is preferred as it’s safer and more environmentally friendly than typical wood fiber.

Differences Between Laser and Inkjet Papers

The key difference between the two types of papers lies in how they operate. While inkjet uses only water-soluble dyes to produce images, laser paper requires more complex chemicals that comprise binders, resins, and plasticizers. This makes inkjets more prone for recycling purposes than heat transfer papers since their concentrated and more components are hard to separate for recycling purposes. Moreover, lasers consume more energy than inkjets.

All in all, below are more slightly noticeable differences between inkjet versus laser papers.


Both papers are durable if stored right. But while inkjet paper tends to fade with time, laser paper maintains its vibrancy even after years of storage. With this in mind, laser papers are ideal when you need your prints to remain intact over a long time, while inkjet paper is best for prints that are not necessarily to be stored.

Quality of the Prints

Though inkjet photo paper generates high-resolution images, laser paper on the flip side generates images with more clarity and sharpness. It also features higher resolutions and more rapid speeds.


The cost of printing per page is usually cheaper for laser paper than inkjet paper. Nevertheless, laser papers incur a higher upfront, which is nothing compared to its cost-saving feature.

Finish Type (Glossy/Matte)

Generally, most inkjet papers are available in glossy finishes, while lasers are available in mattes. Thus, inkjets are ideal for more casual printouts, while laser papers go well when looking for more professional prints.

Coated or Uncoated

Laser papers are more prone to curling than inkjet papers. For this reason, laser paper is coated with high durability features and smudge resistance. On the flip side, inkjet papers maintain their quality despite their environment with no need for coatings.

Recycled Content

Recycling is increasingly becoming a habit nowadays, especially with spreading awareness about the environment’s care. If preserving the environment is in your interest, go for laser paper.

Color Output

Considering the printing technologies in the two printer types, color output differs from the type of paper you use. For instance, inkjet paper produces simple grayscale shades, while laser paper produces clearer and more vivid shades.

Black and White Prints

Both laser and inkjets are great for black and white prints. All the same, lasers are better while adding more vivid colors to the prints is your interest. 

Compatibility With Another Printer you Own

If you have an incompatible printer at home, it could be necessary to get one that can allow you to print on regular copy paper. While inkjet paper requires cartridges designed only for their technologies, laser papers are not complicated. In such cases, we recommend laser papers as you can conveniently print onto regular copy paper without purchasing expensive cartridges.


Though laser papers are high in recycled products, they still require frequent cleaning to enhance durability. On the other hand, inkjet papers have no solvents, thus ensuring a fast drying rate and fade resistance.

Paper Size Alternatives

While inkjet paper is available in varying sizes, laser paper is available only in a limited standard size. For this reason, you have to use standard letter sizes with laser printers unless you are fortunate to find a size that corresponds to your machine. 

Operating Speed

Although speed largely depends on your computer processor, laser paper is twice as fast as inkjet paper. The speed of both is reliable, but the choice depends on your load of work and the urgency of your print needs.


The weight of the paper does not have much effect, but it’s a feature that should be considered when dealing with heavy-duty equipment like scanners and copiers. Generally, inkjet paper is slightly lighter than laser paper

Inkjet Vs. Laser Printer Comparison Table

Inkjet PaperLaser Paper
Available in diverse sizesLimited only to standard sizes
They are lighter hence prone to damageLaser paper is relatively heavier, thus ideal for commercial purposes
Requires longer time to printThey are easy and fast to print
Compatibility is limited only to some printersEfficiently compatible with almost all printers
Do not require frequent cleaningRequires frequent cleaning


Bottom line, it’s now easy to identify the ideal paper for your needs. Your choice should be determined by your workload, how often you plan to use it and whether you prefer a matte or glossy finish. You may need to use both types with time, but every kind on a different occasion. The best you can do is try them out and gauge which type suits your specific needs.


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