Laser Printing Process – How Do Laser Printers Work?

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Updated January 11, 2023

If you wondering what is a laser printer, you’ll find they’re great workhorses when it comes to mass printing. Laser printers are commonly found in highly trafficked professional settings, though they can recently be found in average bedrooms and home offices. They tend to be the best printers for office work. Yet, modern consumers may be wondering exactly how a high-performing laser printer works.

Alternatively, for specific laser printers, you can learn what is a monochrome laser printer with our helpful guides.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Laser printers are commonly found in highly trafficked professional environments.
  • These printers by shaping toner via highly focused laser beams.
  • The benefits of using a laser printer include speedier print jobs, improved accuracy when it comes to print jobs, and low toner cartridge replacement costs.

Insider Tip

Laser printers use highly focused beams of light to shape toner released from an integrated toner cartridge.

How Do Laser Printers Work?

Laser printers use highly focused beams of light to shape toner released from an integrated toner cartridge. This toner is shaped into text, images, photos, and whatever else the printer needs to make reproductions of. A computer begins by sending digital information to the laser printer.

The printer then cleans the toner drum and develops the toner necessary to complete the printing task. Finally, the highly focused light beam is used to fuse toner fragments together into the required shapes. From there, it produces the printing tasks onto a sheet of paper.

Moreover, most laser printers also have automatic document feeders (ADF) or a paper tray to handle multiple sheets and types of paper. 

If you use a laser printer with an ink cartridge, for it to last long, ensure you regularly run the printer’s auto-clean function.

Advantages of Buying a Laser Printer

There are numerous advantages and unique benefits of buying and using a high-grade laser printer. Here are just a few.

Insider Tip

A good laser printer can crank out anywhere from 12 to 20 pages per minute (PPI), which is twice as fast as an inkjet printer.

Blazing Print Speeds

The primary reason you tend to see laser printers in busy office settings is that they are incredibly fast when it comes to completing printing tasks. The best laser printers can crank out anywhere from 12 to 20 pages per minute (PPI), which is twice as fast as an inkjet printer. Lasers and beams of light move very quickly, so the associated printing speed also moves quickly. Laser printers tend to be more expensive than inkjet printers, but that cost has decreased significantly in recent years.

Keep in mind, you’ll also want to get the best paper for a laser printer, and not just any paper. Why? Well, if you’re using a color laser printer at home and using the wrong paper, it’ll either jam the printer or not print in true colors.

Precise Prints

Another fantastic advantage to choosing a laser printer is the precision on offer when it comes to making high-grade reproductions. Lasers are extremely precise, and the finished document will illustrate that precision. Laser beams and highly focused light beams do not vary in diameter, unlike ink, which leads to improved accuracy. The only downside here is that laser printers excel at making precise and accurate monochrome prints, but do not do as well when it comes to making color images. If photo reproductions are your primary concern, choose an inkjet printer.

Reduced Cartridge Replacement Costs

Compared to how inkjet printers work, you will save a lot of money when it comes to replacing necessary cartridges. Toner cartridges tend to last much longer than ink cartridges, due to the aforementioned precision offered by the laser printing process. An ink cartridge could begin to lose steam after just a couple of hundred prints, whereas a toner cartridge will not need to be replaced until it has completed thousands of prints.

This is why you’ll want to know how long laser toner cartridges last and just how expensive are laser toner cartridges.

Warning

If photo reproductions are your primary concern, choose an inkjet printer.

F.A.Q.

Are laser printers bad for you?

No. Laser printers do interact with static electricity, though there have not been any studies linking static electricity to poor health.


Are laser printers better than inkjet?

That depends on what you are using a printer for. Laser printers are faster than inkjet printers, but inkjet printers are better at making color images.


Who invented the laser printer?

Gary Starkweather (seen here in 2009) invented the laser printer in the 1970s while working for Xerox.



STAT: Toner is 85-95% finely ground plastic. (source)

Lawrence Bonk Profile image