Best Printer Speed Measured – Learn the Different Methods

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Updated November 22, 2022

Printing speed is one of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a new high-performing printer.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Printers typically measure speed in pages per minute, otherwise known as PPM.
  • Some image-focused printers will measure speed via images per minute, otherwise known as IPM.
  • In general, laser printers are much faster than inkjet printers, though they are more expensive.

How Printers Measure Printer Speed

Generally speaking, printers measure speed by counting the number of standard pages that can successfully be printed in a single minute. This is known as pages per minute, or PPM. This will be the metric used to measure speed on nearly every inkjet printer, multi-function printer, laser printer, and other types of printer. 3D printers, however, do not use this metric, due to the nature of their design. A printer with ADF, also called the automatic document feeder, will help increase the printer’s speed.

Insider Tip

Printers measure speed by counting the number of standard pages that can successfully be printed in a single minute. This is known as pages per minute, or PPM.

Maximize Printing Speed

There are several ways to maximize your printing speed. Here are some tips and general guidelines.

Laser Printers VS Inkjet Printers

If you need speed, you should consider choosing a laser printer over a traditional inkjet printer. Laser printers average around 20 to 30 pages per minute, whereas inkjet printers average five to 10 pages per minute. That’s a pretty significant difference. However, there are some downloads when it comes to laser printers, as they tend to be more expensive to purchase than inkjet printers. Though it must be noted, there are differences between a toner and ink cartridges. A laser printer’s toner cartridge will last much longer than an ink cartridge. In other words, the price will even out in the long run.

Although, some inkjet printers can hold a candle to laser printers, as you’ll read in our HP PageWide Pro 477dw review.

Insider Tip

Laser printers average around 20 to 30 pages per minute, whereas inkjet printers average five to 10 pages per minute.

Resolution Can Impact Speed

A printer’s overall resolution, typically measured in dots per inch (DPI), can impact a printer’s speed and output efficiency. There is no universally accepted resolution to speed efficacy rating, but in most cases, printers with an extremely high resolution will be slower than low-resolution models. However, there is some good news on this front: high-resolution printers can typically be adjusted via a settings menu to prioritize speed over resolution. Be sure to read the fine print before purchasing a laser or inkjet printer to maximize speed and resolution. For example, if you read our Epson Artisan 1430 review, you’ll find it’s not very fast, but the quality is phenomenal.

Consider IPM

Though pages per minute, PPM, is the standard operating protocol when it comes to measuring printer speed, there is another option. Some printers conduct measurements via images per minute, otherwise known as IPM. This is exclusively used by printers that traffick heavily in color images and related visual reproductions. If you are shopping for a color printer and plan on doing a lot of image-based print jobs, you should consider the printer’s IPM rating.

Alternatively, you’ll want to go with a dot matrix printer for a printer suitable for commercial and industrial settings.

Warning

Be sure to read the fine print before purchasing a laser printer or an inkjet printer in order to maximize both speed and resolution.

F.A.Q.

What printer should I use for high-quality color photos?

If you want to print a number of high-quality color photos, we recommend going with a color inkjet printer that boasts a DPI of 1,200 or higher.


What is the speed of a laser printer measured in?

Laser printers are typically measured via pages per minute, commonly referred to as PPM.


Which printer is better, laser jet or inkjet?

This depends on your individual needs. Laserjet printers, known simply as laser printers, tend to be faster than inkjet printers but can be initially expensive to purchase. On the other hand, Inkjet printers are slower but can excel at creating color prints.



STAT: Speeds in ppm usually apply to A4 paper in most countries in the world, and letter paper size, about 6% shorter, in North America. (source)

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