When you are looking into buying a printer, whether for personal or office use, you need to understand where the costs truly lie in order to make the best decision. Looking into the differences between solid ink, toner, and inkjet may seem confusing and ultimately unhelpful, because the companies that produce them are trying to promote their product as the best solution to any problem. The truth is that no method of printing is the best fit for every problem; each method has its own strengths and weaknesses that make it fit into a particular niche.
If you want to figure out what method of printing will work best for you then you should start by examining how you use your printer: consider the volume you print in a month, whether you require photo-quality images, the length of time you will have the printer running at any given point, and how much of your work must be done in color. Once you have that written down somewhere you will be ready to look into the different types of printing.
Inkjet printers are best suited for personal use, because they are relatively inexpensive machines that can produce high quality images. The problem is that if you want to print in bulk you will burn through cartridges at an astonishing rate, which will cost you a great deal of money. Comparatively, cartridges for laser printers may cost a little more on a one-to-one ration but they are by far the better investment. This is because toner cartridges, like the HP laserjet toner cartridges, are capable of printing thousands of pages without needing to be replaced, whereas inkjet cartridges can print a few hundred.
However, both laser and inkjet printers cost more (per page) than solid ink printers, which makes them the best solution if you plan on printing in large quantities consistently. The other benefit to using solid ink sticks is that they can be loaded into the reservoir while the machine is still running, allowing you to minimize down time as you print large projects. Although they are more efficient, you must also keep in mind that the most basic solid ink printer costs several times as much as its laser or inkjet equivalent. This is because the technology is new and only manufactured by one company, Xerox. That is not to say that you should not consider a solid ink printer, simply that you have to know you are going to push it to its limits in order to get your money’s worth.