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Print Speed - Everything you need to know about print speed

Print speed is a critical factor when choosing between inkjet and laser printers, particularly for those in environments where printing efficiency and volume are crucial. Understanding print speed, the different types of printers that fall into various speed ranges, and how to optimize print speeds can enhance your printing experience.

What is Print Speed?

Print speed refers to the number of pages a printer can produce in a minute (ppm). It's an essential metric for evaluating the efficiency of a printer. Generally, print speeds vary depending on the type of printer, the complexity of the documents, and the print quality settings.

Types of Printers and Print Speed Ranges

1. Inkjet Printers: Inkjet printers are known for their ability to produce high-quality, color-rich prints. They are typically used in homes and small offices where the print volume is moderate. Standard inkjet printers have print speeds ranging from 5 to 20 ppm for black and white prints and slightly lower for color. High-end models, often used in professional settings for graphic prints or photographs, can have higher speeds.

2. Laser Printers: Laser printers excel in environments where high-volume printing is common, like large offices or educational institutions. They are faster than inkjet printers, with entry-level models starting at around 20 ppm, going up to 40 ppm or more for higher-end models. Color laser printers tend to be slower than their monochrome counterparts.

3. Specialty Printers: Some specialized printers, like photo printers or label printers, may have different metrics for measuring print speed, often prioritizing quality over speed.

Common Questions About Print Speed

How to Increase the Print Speed of a Printer?
1. Optimize Print Settings: Lowering the print quality can significantly boost speed. For documents where high quality is not critical, using draft mode can be faster.
2. Upgrade Your Printer: If speed is a priority, consider a printer with a higher ppm rating. Laser printers generally offer faster speeds than inkjets.
3. Improve Connectivity: A wired connection can be faster than Wi-Fi. Additionally, ensure your printer's drivers are up to date for optimal performance.
4. Optimize Your Document: Simpler documents with less imagery and lower resolution print faster. Reducing the complexity of your document can improve print speeds.

Factors Influencing Print Speed
- Printer Technology: Laser printers are usually faster than inkjets.
- Document Complexity: Detailed images and graphics take longer to print.
- Printer Age and Condition: Older or poorly maintained printers may print slower.
- Network Speed: For networked printers, the speed and traffic on the network can impact print times.


Print speed is a vital consideration in both personal and professional contexts. While laser printers generally offer higher speeds, inkjet printers can be sufficient for home or small office use, where high-quality color prints are more important than speed. By understanding your printing needs and the capabilities of different printers, you can choose a device that balances speed, quality, and efficiency, enhancing your overall productivity.

In summary, whether you're printing business reports, academic papers, or colorful brochures, understanding print speed and how to optimize it can significantly improve your printing experience.

About William Elward

Founder of Castle Ink, William Elward has 20 years experience in the printer industry. He's been featured on CNN Money, Yahoo, PC World, Computer World, and other top publications and frequently blogs about printers and ink cartridges. He's an expert at diagnosing printer issues and has published guides to fixing common printer issues across the internet. A graduate of Bryant University and Columbia's Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program, he's held various leadership positions at The College Board, Bankrate, Zocdoc, and Everyday Health. Follow him on Twitter at William Elward's Twitter Profile