LED VS Laser Printer: Which one is best for you

Printers come in all shapes and sizes, there are impact and non-impact printers, inkjet, and laser printers and then there are digital or led printers.

One of the most common printers these days is the laser printer and also the led printers.

 So led vs laser printer, which one is better and among the two which should you choose. Here is a guide to help you with exactly that. We will do a general overview and will talk about the advantages and also the tradeoffs of both of these types of printers. 

If you don’t know a lot about printers then be sure to check our complete guide on the types of printers.

LED vs Laser Printer:

Laser printer:

So let’s start with the basics and discuss the inner workings of a laser printer. A Laser printer almost always consists of three parts; a drum, a light source, and the paper. 

  1. In the first step, the Drum, which is photoconductive (meaning that it becomes electrically conductive in the presence of a light source) is charged positively through the use of static electricity.
  2. After this the laser and the moving parts associated with it, like the series of mirrors get involved. The laser is then made to fall onto the photoconductive drum, the part the laser touches gets negatively charged.
  3. Once this is done then the powdered toner is charged and is attached to the drum, the toner only attaches to the parts that were negatively charged.
  4. A sheet of paper is then rolled beneath the drum and the toner is heat-fixed onto the surface of the paper.

LED (Light Emitting Diode):

A led printer works slightly differently, overall the process is quite similar but instead of a moving laser and a series of complicated mirrors. An led printer as the name suggests uses light-emitting diodes. Thousands of such lights are used and are focused onto the photoconductive mirrors by the use of microlenses. The rest of the process is quite similar.

What this basically means is that laser printers due to their numerous moving parts are larger and less reliable than their led counterparts. Since the led printers use no such mechanized devices they are thought to be more durable and to last longer. 

LED vs laser printer; features and functions

LED vs laser printer quality:

When it comes to image quality laser printers dominate this field, specific high quality led printers have been made but generally, laser printers offer better image quality.

This is because differences occur in the manufacturing process of led printers, which changes the overall image sharpness but for typical users, the changes are so small that you cannot detect them. Led printers can offer you a benefit when it comes to the resolution in some cases, this obviously depends on the printer itself.

Size of the machine:

Size is an important factor when it comes to considering the type of printer you want to buy. This is one of the key differentiating features in laser vs led. Since led printers don’t have any moving parts and instead use small scale LEDs, they are much more compact than laser printers.

These days laser printers have come a long way and are much smaller than they used to be, making it harder to spot a laser vs led printer but the differences are still present. So if you are low on office space or you would just like a smaller printer than consider buying an led printer.


When it comes to the cost of led vs laser printers, the latter is more expensive. Light-emitting diodes are relatively very easy to make and are much less costly to the manufactures.

This rolls down to the consumer as well and the led printers are offered for much cheaper. Once again laser printers have moving parts, highly sensitive mirrors, and other such pieces that are more difficult to manufacture and place hence they are more expensive.


As far as the power consumption of digital vs laser printers is concerned laser printers can use more electricity than their led based counterparts. Led’s have come a long way in terms of their power consumption, the LEDs being produced today are very efficient, and hence when used in printers they can be very efficient. 


In terms of reliability between a digital and laser printer, the led printer takes a clear win. As with any electrical device that has a moving part, a mechanical fault can easily occur which can render the total device useless so therefore in terms of led vs laser printers, led printers are much more reliable.

Led’s being more efficient can last a lot longer and hence are much more reliable and durable than using laser printers. So if you are going to be moving your printer a lot then be sure to get a led printer.


There is a lot of confusion these days surrounding the terminology of LED and Laser printers both of them use toner and hence are sometimes considered the same but there are a lot of differences as we have already discussed that differentiate both of these types of printers.

When it comes to the speed of these laser vs led printers, Led printers are far superior to their laser counterparts and hence can print more papers in a short amount of time.


Q1) Is an LED printer better than a laser printer?

We have gone over a number of differences between the two, there are numerous advantages and disadvantages to both types of printers. However just to recap, laser printers due to their mechanical parts are more prone to malfunction but they do offer superior, more consistent, and better image quality.

Led printers are much more durable but are also prone to the same manufacturing defects which negatively impacts the image quality (However, it should be noted that the changes are so small that you wouldn’t detect it otherwise).

Q2) Are laser printers cheaper to run?

Laser printers are more expensive than led based printers just because they require more precise manufacturing. They consist of an intricate system of mirrors so it’s necessary that each part of the printer is exactly right therefore they are more expensive.

However with that being said, in the long run, they can be a cheap option since they use less ink as compared to more modern printers such as the inkjet printer. 

Q3) How long does laser printer cartridges last?

The printer cartridges can last a long time, roughly a year or so. However, the ink in the cartages has to be replaced frequently. In a couple of months, the ink will surely run out, depending on your use that is, so it will have to be replaced.

Q4) What is the best home led printer?

When it comes to led printers you can’t beat HP, they are on the top of the market right now.

HP laserjet Pro M281fdwse is a great option to consider these days, since it has all the bells and whistles you’re going to need. It comes with the latest connectivity options, fast response time, and a manageable form factor.


So hopefully you now know the difference between led vs laser printers. In terms of the overall quality of digital vs laser printers, the win would definitely go to the laser printers for a more consistent image.

For a smaller form factor, the led printers are better. In terms of reliability and durability, the led printer will be better in this category as well. However, when we talk about the speed of both of these printers both can be neck and neck if we take the heating time into account.

So there are some definite advantages and tradeoffs between led vs laser printers. If this article helped you be sure to check out our other articles at PrinterHow

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Michael Low

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