Laser vs LaserJet, What’s the Difference?

Does a laser printer use a actual laser? Do LaserJet printers use laser technology?

What’s the difference between a Laser printer and a LaserJet printer? To put it simply, there really is no difference. A LaserJet printer is a laser printer. It’s just a brand name much like a Kleenex is a tissue or a Q-Tip is a cotton swab. Since HP has been producing printers for such a long time, the name “LaserJet” has become a premium brand name that many people use instead of a Laser printer. Brother, Toshiba, Xerox, and other manufactures have names for their printers, but it’s not as pronounced as HP’s LaserJet line.

So what kind of “laser” is in a laser printer like HP’s LaserJet line? Does a laser burn the paper black? Well the short answer is that there really isn’t a red or blue laser in the printer and it doesn’t burn anything to paper, directly. The way a laser printer work is that a small device called a scanner uses an invisible laser to “etch” an image onto a rolling pin called a drum. It charges the drum with the image so it picks up toner in the cartridge and lays it on the paper. Then the toner (or plastic particles) are sealed or fused on to the paper. That’s it, no burning, no fancy red lasers.

13 Replies to “Laser vs LaserJet, What’s the Difference?”

  1. Perfect! I needed to be sure before I fed laser printer transparency film into the HP Laserjet. Thanks for the concise answer.

  2. We have a black and white laser in our office and a color laser jet. If I highlight the text on the black and white, the ink does not smear. It appears to be baked on. If I highlight the text that was printed on the color printer, the ink smears. Are you sure there isn’t a difference between a laser and laser jet? Jet – meaning squirted on.

  3. yes there is a differance between a laser jet(a small amount of ink is squerted out of a jet) and a laser printer (a laser is employed to a drum and toner is fused as you say). Don’t forget the bubble jet is like the laser jet(it squerts).

    1. To be fair, the person who wrote this article said, “to put it simple, there really is no difference. ” this type of statement is typically perceived as there may be some minor, insignificant differences but none that can really be spoken of or that will effect the quality of the end product. And in this scenario, I take that to mean neither printer actually prints with lasers that burn marks onto paper with the inks/toners, since a laser usually burns into something.

  4. Thank you for the good explanation. I have searched many sites and it is hard to find out what “laser jet” actually means. My suspicion was that it really meant ‘ink jet that somehow uses a laser’. Atrociously bad marketing on HP’s behalf if you ask me.

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