Laser printers use toner cartridges, not ink cartridges. Toner cartridges are full of toner powder, not liquid ink. Because toner is a powder and not a liquid - the cartridges don't
"dry out" and laser printers don't have printheads so there's no printhead cleanings to worry about either! And although our cartridges don't leak or explode like some of our competitors'
products do - hypothetically, if that did occur for some reason - toner powder wipes right up (as opposed to ink, which permanently stains everything it comes into contact with).
Laser printers are far superior to inkjet printers in every way. The cost-per-page-printed for toner cartridges is just a tiny fraction of inkjet costs. You don't have to worry about your printheads becoming clogged, your cartridges drying out, running maintenance cycles constantly, and so on!
There are a wide variety of laser printers available - some that are strictly B&W and only print; some that are color; some that can copy/scan/fax too; some with WiFi and some without; and so on. Pretty much, if there's an inkjet option available - these days there are the same options available for lasers too.
Toner cartridges last a really long time, so by purchasing a laser printer and toners from us - we'd see you a lot less often, which is a bummer for us. But we know you'll be so much happier with what you're buying when you go laser that we always recommend lasers over inkjets to everyone. Lasers are definitely the best route to go!
As far as the best brands to go with - Brother is always top of the list! Their laser machines are far better than all other brands. Dells and Samsungs are great too. Canons are great. Really all lasers are phenomenal. Even HP (makers of the worst inkjet printers on Earth) makes pretty good laser machines. Lexmarks are going to cost you a fortune for the toners, so beware with those. Brothers are always the best of the best with laser printers though - so stick with them whenever possible!
Inkjet Printers use inkjet cartridges. Inkjet cartridges are full of liquid ink.
They come in 2 main types: "tanks" and "printhead cartridges" (which we sometimes refer to as "L" shaped cartridges). Which is better and what is the difference?
The L shaped cartridges have built-in printheads on them (as opposed to tank systems, which have the printheads built into the printer instead). There are pros and cons to both types but the main pro for these types is that if you neglect your maintenance and the required weekly printhead cleaning cycles and your heads become permanently clogged and damaged - instead of replacing the entire printer, you can just replace the cartridges and you're good to go.
The cons for these is that they're a 2-cartridge system: 1 is a black cartridge and the other is a tri-color cartridge. Since all 3 primary colors (cyan, yellow, magenta) are built-in to 1 cartridge - and that cartridge's physical size is the same - that means each color only has 1/3 as much in it as the black one does, for example. And if you happen to use up all the magenta, for example, then you will still have a cartridge 2/3 full of cyan & yellow but with no magenta but since it's a tri-color cartridge - you will have to replace the entire cartridge to get all the colors to come out. So you'll be wasting the cyan and yellow you still have in there. Not a very good situation.
The tank cartridges are basically little rectangular shaped boxes of ink that feed the ink into a printhead inside your printer, so if you neglect the weekly maintenance on your machine and your heads become damaged - you will have ruined your whole printer. Replacing the cartridges won't help you at that point. The pros are that these cartridges come in individual colors - so there is 1 cyan, 1 yellow and 1 magenta. Since the colors are separate, you can replace only the ones you need to replace, as you need to replace them. Some systems have an additional photo black, grey, light magenta, light cyan, photo grey, dark grey, light grey, red, green, and so on too.
Ink cartridges are a little cheaper initially but the cost-per-page-printed is far higher for ink than it is for toner. It's always recommended that you go with a laser machine over an inkjet machine.
You'll really want to avoid Epson and HP inkjet printers, especially. Epson machines are very cheaply made products and are notorious for the heads clogging like crazy. WHATEVER YOU DO, NEVER PURCHASE THE TYPE OF PRINTER THAT HAS THE BOTTLES OF LIQUID INK DUMPED IN THERE. OMG, THOSE ARE NIGHTMARES. STAY AWAY FROM THEM!!!! HP inkjets are unusually susceptible to firmware update corruption bugs that can occur when you don't disable automatic updates. It's always recommended that you turn those auto updates off on all inkjet printers, but especially with HP's. If you're going to get an inkjet printer, probably go with a Canon tank system printer - those will be your best bet.