We must first understand what LaserJet is and what is ink-jet to answer the question Laser-Jet versus ink-jet what's the difference?
A laser printer is an electrostatic printer that uses a laser beam to transfer toner on to paper which creates the text and images. The toner cartridge contains a powdery dye in a special cylindrical device called a cartridge which holds either black or colored toner. The laser then projects its beam on to a fuser which is a pair of rollers that are heated to melt the toner and fuse it onto the paper as it passes through.
An inkjet printer is a printer that propels a digital image into droplets of liquid via heat (which makes the liquid bubble and splatter) onto a page. The ink passes through the print head which is the part of an ink jet that is used to deliver the ink onto the paper that you are printing, the print-head is vitally important to your print quality. At the tip of the print head there are nozzles which heat and cool the ink inside the cartridge so that ink can be moved and transferred properly onto the paper. The ink is stored in a cartridge called an ink or inkjet cartridge which contains the liquid substance. The ink comes mainly in four colors, black, cyan (our common light blue), magenta (our common light red) and yellow.
These are the print technologies that are used by inkjet and LaserJet printers. In terms of which is better or more cost effective, well that depends on how many documents you print or whether you are using it as a home printer for minimal use or as an office printer for maximum use. The truth is we really need to understand the market to know the answer to that question; to buy a printer today is very cheap in fact you can get an all in one brand name printer from HP for under $100 for example the HP Desk-jet 3050 All-in-One Color Ink-jet printer or the HP Office-jet 4500 All-in-One Color Ink-jet printer both of which I used and was very happy with, both of these are multi function and will cost you between $60 and $80 shipped and delivered.
However these are Inkjet printers, the LaserJet printers will cost you a little more for example the HP LaserJet PRO P1102W B/W Laser printer which is only a monochrome (prints only in black) printer not a multi function will cost you between $85 and $110 as for the colored for example the HP Color LaserJet CP2025n Color Laser printer will cost you between $370 and $450 and the all in ones will cost you even more. It is cheaper to go with the lesser brands like Lexmark, Panasonic, Konica-Minolta etc which will run you a bit less but comparing them to the HP ink-jet printers it's just not worth it.
What many don't understand is that it's really not the printers that cost it's the ink and toner or better yet it's the constant need to replace the cartridges. A printer that cost you $75 to buy may cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars annually in replacement ink. And the same goes for the LaserJet printers where a toner cartridge can cost you $500-$600 and over and if you print many documents the costs just pile up. If we do the math for example buying an ink cartridge for $25 with a page yield of 450 if you print ten pages a day on average that come out to 3,650 pages annually that means you would need 8-9 cartridges for a total cost of $200-$225. As for a business printer chances are that you will be printing more than 10 pages a day so let's say you are printing 65 pages daily that bring your total to 23,725 pages a year and based on the example ink cartridge we used that means you would need 53 cartridges and your total cost would be $1,325. In this case you could very well buy a toner cartridge for $200-$300 that will yield between 5,000 and 15,000 for example the HP-CB380A or the HP-Q7560A and lower your cost significantly.
Which brings me to the final conclusion of inkjet vs LaserJet, which is more cost effective? Based on how many documents you print, that is your answer. Simply put if you print a minimal amount of documents for instance a home printer that is used for printing some pictures, school papers or essays then my advice is go with the inkjet printer and make sure to buy the High-Yield ink cartridges since they will give you more pages per cartridge and are more cost effective. If you need a printer for the office or need to print many documents then go with the LaserJet printer and make sure to get the High-Yield toner cartridge as well. The reason why I'm so in favor of the Laser-Jet printers for businesses is the fact that they last longer, print faster and overall you get more papers per cartridges then the ink cartridges which in turn bring your operating cost down.