Laser Printer

We have all heard the term laser printer, and probably even have one at home or at work, but what are laser printers? How do they work? And how do they hold up when compared to other printing technology? And what on earth is that “toner” stuff you constantly seem to have to change in your laser printer?

Laser printers are capable of rapidly producing high quality print outs based on digital documents and images. When you hit “print” and send your information to a laser printer, a laser beam then projects an image of the information to be printed onto an electrically charged, rotating drum coated with a chemical element called selenium. (Interestingly, selenium is a cousin of sulfur and has enjoyed some success in studies as a possible cancer deterrent. ) Next, the process of photoconductivity removes any charge from areas exposed to light, a process also integral to photocopying. The next step in the laser printing process is where the toner comes in. Dry ink, or toner, particles are attracted to the drum’s charged areas, allowing the drum to print the image onto paper by direct contact. Heat applied at the same time fuses the ink to the paper, which is why laser printer users do not have to worry about smudging their fingers with ink after reaching for a newly printed page.

No matter what type of printing you are doing or what type of price you are willing to pay, chances are there is a laser printer that will meet your specific needs. Their speeds can vary widely, depending on factors such as color and resolution of the pages being printed, with some high-end laser printers able to print up to 200 black and white pages per minute, the equivalent of 12,000 pages per hour. When it comes to color pages, the process is a little slower, but some laser printers can still print up to 100 pages per minute.

When compared to its competitors, the inkjet and dot-matrix printers, laser printers usually come out on top when it comes to image quality and ease of use. They are also more aurally pleasing when compared to their competitors, which, because they take incoming streams of data and imprint them directly on the page, often work in fits and starts. But, as a side note, be wary if you want to print out banners. Because laser printers rely on stored information rather than simply transferring information straight to the page as their competitors do, they generally do not have enough memory to print output in such a rapid, continuous process.

At first glance, someone in the market for a laser printer might be tempted to go for the lowest price or the printer with the highest mark down. But, deciding which printer to buy can be a trickier decision that one might imagine. Aside from initial purchase price, elements like the price of replaceable elements such as toner, drums, and, of course, paper, should factor into the laser printer’s overall lifetime cost. Drums, though infrequently replaced, can be especially costly. Investigate lifetime maintenance costs before taking a laser printer home from the electronics store.

Is security an issue for you or your company? Laser printers also offer a little known feature that can help. Many modern color laser printers mark printouts with a miniscule yellow dot. The result of a deal between the U.S. Government and printer manufacturers, the dots encode data such as printing date and time and the laser printer’s serial number in order to fight counterfeiting. Be sure to check into this before purchasing your printer – some privacy rights advocates are demanding the encoded dots be removed.

This Laser Printer Review is Written/Updated on Apr 3rd, 2009 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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