How do I know if my printer is inkjet or laser? This can affect printer maintenance, operation costs, and even what type of documents can be printed.
To determine if your printer is an inkjet or a laser printer, check these 5 details: print feel, print quality, printer badging, and the smell when printing and on the document. A foolproof way to determine if you have an inkjet printer is to open the lid and see if it uses ink cartridges or toner.
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5 Ways to Identify Inkjet Printer
Here are the five fast ways to determine if you own an inkjet or a laser printer.
- Print Feel on Paper: Inkjet documents are smooth, compared to the slightly raised surface of laser-printed documents.
- Print Quality: Consumer-grade inkjet printers produce lower-quality print. Look for smudging and ink bleeding on the paper, especially right after printing.
- Badging and Labels on Printer: Look for the model name on the printer. Some brands will print the printer type right on the outside. HP makes OfficeJet, DeskJet, and BubbleJet. Canon’s inkjet is called Pixma.
- Smell: Inkjet documents have a chemical smell, compared to a slightly burned smell on laser-printed documents. Laser-printed documents come out of the printer quite warm to the touch.
- Open Lid: If you pop open the lid, you’ll notice either color ink cartridges or a single laser toner.
Is my printer an inkjet or a laser printer? Here are the details to help you determine the type of printer you own.
1. Print Feel on Paper
Print Feel on Paper: Inkjet documents will smooth, compared to the slightly raised surface on laser-printed documents.
Laser printed documents are raised, because the toner (powder) has actually been heat-fused to the paper. It doesn’t get absorbed like inkjet printing.
2. Print Quality
Print Quality: Consumer-grade inkjet printers are less crisp than laser printers.
If you press your thumb against the inkjet-printed document, you’ll likely be able to smudge the text. And if you’ve printed an image, the thumb test will probably leave an ink stain on your thumb.
If this doesn’t give results, just lick your thumb and rub it across the text. If it is an inkjet printer, it most certainly will smudge.
Inkjet type will soak through thin or porous paper stock.
In contrast, laser-printed documents won’t be affected by these tests. It is possible for the toner to come off, but it will likely flake off, not smudge or streak.
3. Printer Badging and Model Names
Badging and Labels on Printer: Look for the model name on the printer. Some brands will print the printer type right on the outside.
- HP has branded its inkjet printers with OfficeJet, DeskJet, and BubbleJet. Their laser printers are badged with LaserJet.
- Canon has branded their inkjet printers as PIXMA. Their laser printers are called imageCLASS.
- Brother: Some of Brother’s inkjet printers accept Inkvestment tanks. These are oversized ink cartridges. Brother’s laser printers don’t have a descriptive name.
- Epson’s EcoTank line is one of the best-known inkjet printers available.
4. Smell When Printing and on Document
- Inkjet documents can have a chemical smell – mostly noticeable on the paper, just after printing.
- Laser documents: This is compared to a slightly burned smell on laser-printed documents. You can really notice the smell from a laser printer when doing a larger print run. The smell is very distinctive.
5. Open The Lid
One of the best ways to know if you have an inkjet printer is to open it up. If you pop open the lid, you’ll notice either color ink cartridges or a single laser toner.
- Inkjet printers often have long ink tubes visible. And you’ll almost certainly see the color blocks of the four primary colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Because of the moving printhead, there is a noticeable open-air space to allow for it to move across the document.
- Laser printers have no tubes. You’ll see just a large toner. There is almost no open-air space inside a laser printer because it doesn’t have a moving printhead.
The exception to this is a color laser printer. While they don’t have the tubes of an inkjet, they do have 4 toners, each of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.
Knowing what type of printer you have is important. While laser toner doesn’t dry out, printer ink can.
How did it go for you? Were you able to determine what type of printer you have?