Most people have heard of a laser printer, even if they are not exactly sure what the laser does. LED printers have been around since the mid-1990s, however because of timing and lighting issues that affect image quality, the laser reigned supreme.

Taking a step back, understanding how a copier or printer works might, “shed some light” on the difference between these two technologies. In a laser-based system, static electricity positively charges a rolling drum. Laser light discharges the drum, drawing an image in a pattern of electrical charges, which allows positively charged toner to stick to the drum on the negatively charged electrostatic image. Toner is transferred and melted to the page through a fuser and the printed page emerges.

An LED printer uses the same process, only instead of an intricate system of mirrors; Hi-Q LED technology from Xerox controls each of the 10,240 LEDs. Individual control resolves the timing and lighting inconsistences of the past to produce resolution that often exceeds comparable laser systems. The result is a printed page with smoother edges, finer lines and improved characters while reducing energy use and cost.

LED printers are not only more energy efficient, they can be space efficient, saving desk space. In a color laser system, internal real estate is devoted to making room for four print heads while an LED printer needs room for just the LED array, translating to a smaller, compact external footprint. LED printers tend to be more mechanically reliable and quieter than laser systems as well, with less moving parts.

Check out the new LED printers from Xerox: