Can Inkjet Photo Paper Be Used In a Laser Printer?

Laser and inkjet printing technologies are totally different, yet use the same principles in generating colourful images on paper.  Both technologies mix four base colours (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) to create the wide gamut of possible colour, but this is where the similarity ends.

While Laser printers use a micro polymer powder (toner) as the colour medium, inkjet printers use liquid inks.  The colours are the same (CMYK) but require different paper technology in order to absorb them and make them permanent at the end of the printing process.

Laser printers lay consecutive layers of different colours on the paper and then fuse them using heated rollers at the end of the printing cycle (as the paper exits the printer).

Inkjet printers spray the ink highly accurately, and directly onto the paper.  The paper, in order to achieve sharp and colourful results, has an inkjet receiving layer that controls the wet ink and prevents it from spreading and smudging.

Due to these differing technologies, photo paper made for each is required to perform in a different way and contain a different chemical composition in order to handle the medium used to place the colours on the paper.  Laser photo paper needs to withstand heat and inkjet photo paper needs to absorb relatively large quantities of liquid ink.

As an exception to the rule, so called “normal” printing paper,  such as 80, 90 or 100gsm bond papers (or similar), can be printed on both laser and inkjet printers.  While on laser the result will be similar to the higher laser grade papers that are available, on an inkjet printer, this type of paper is suitable for simple text documents, letters etc.  A heavily saturated image printed using an inkjet printer on a normal printing paper will achieve poor results.

Generally, inkjet papers are not suitable for use on laser and could in some instances damage a laser printer.  Inkjet photo papers are not designed to take a high heat and the coating used on this paper could contaminate a laser printer.  Because of the simpler paper path in inkjet printers, paper for these are often much heavier than those available for laser printers and would not feed well in them.

It is well accepted that for high resolution, photographic images, inkjet technology is superior and will achieve a much better result than laser.

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13 Responses to Can Inkjet Photo Paper Be Used In a Laser Printer?

  1. Ian Alexander says:

    On the internet, In error, I have purchased some laser matt photo paper instead of inkjet paper. Can I use this paper on my inkjet printer and what are the results of photos likely to be.

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi Ian, Absolutely not. You will damage the fuser rolls of the printer. Any paper with coating should be used in its intended environment only. Thank you for the checking.

      • Gravitate says:

        Hi, Joseph. I think you have miss understood Ian. He is saying he has laser photo paper and wants to use it in his ink jet, not vice versa. I may be wrong but I am pretty sure that the “fuser rollers” that you are referring to are only found in laser printers, which Ian does not have. Although the results may not be optimum, I do not think there would be any harm caused by using laser photo paper in an ink jet printer. Please can you confirm.

        • Joseph Eitan says:

          Hi, the coating and image receiving layer is different. Only non coated e.g. copy paper can be universally shared between Inkjet or Laser printers, otherwise I don’t recommend taking the chance. Thanks for weighing in.

      • K. Stahls says:

        Joseph, he has an inkjet so there are no fusers to damage, I think you may have read his question the wrong way round.. Ian, your paper will work, but likely with poor results – colours may be off and you may find ink is not absorbed. I have an epson that uses pigment ink and handles heavier laser/copier papers like xerox colotech and mondi colour copy well, although I have to calibrate my colours to get decent results. Good luck.

        • Joseph Eitan says:

          Thank you for sharing your knowledge. As we cater for all levels of users, whether first time or more knowledgeable users we rather recommend that Inkjet photo paper be used in Inkjet printers and the other way around of course. This is to help ensure that users don’t damage their printer and that the photo paper qualities (e.g. instant dry) are achieved. Thanks again!

  2. Danny says:

    Hi, do I need to use sublimation ink in my inkjet printer for t-shirt transfer or what recommended ink do I need to do this

    Thanks

  3. Danny says:

    Sorry to sound stupid but is dye ink and sublimation ink the same?

  4. Ryan says:

    Hi, I stupidly bought Black Diamond A3 Canvas paper for a Uni project and the printers there are only laser printers. It is 220 gsm. I wouldn’t usually do it, but because its canvas paper I am not sure because it has a different material :/ Thanks

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi, Don’t mix both. Using Inkjet paper which is coated (i.e. not plain copypaper, but any Inkjet paper that is coated to accept image printing) should not be used in Laser printers. It will damage the printer AND bottom line, results will be poor. I suggest you send the paper back to exchange it, any reputable seller will accept the paper back if you inform them within days of your order and you haven’t used the paper. I hope this helps.

  5. Ryan says:

    Ps it says Inkjet paper on the front

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