Laser Printers

What is the Difference Between a Printer and a Scanner?

Printers and scanners are completely different devices. The printer is an output device, and a scanner is an input device. The significant difference between these two devices is that a printer produces hard copies.

A scanner scans and uploads the soft copy in the system. There are even more important differences between these devices. Now let us see the key dissimilarities between a printer and a scanner.

Laser Printers

The functions of a printer 

A printer is an output device that prints the texts and pictures in a paper. There are several varieties of printer available in the market. These printers can vary in terms of size, speed, output, function and cost.

Mostly, the price determines the printer quality. An expensive budget printer under 20000 comes with top-class cartridges and interior system. A printer is classified into two common categories that are impact and non-impact printers. An impact printer requires an electromagnet impression or typewriters to print texts.

The function of a scanner 

A scanner scans an image or text and displays it in the source object. The main function of a scanner is to create soft copies by scanning a hard copy. The scanner analyses and duplicates a solid image into an electronic copy. Also, a scanner is much more compact than a printer. There are various types of scanners such as flatbed, handheld and drum scanners.

The flatbed scanners are the commonly used devices in offices and businesses. The flat glass surface of the scanner helps to scan a document. This device produces light, and the image falls on the scanner lens. Later, the scanned image is printed or stored in a system. The handheld scanners are very convenient to use because of their compact size.

The key difference between printer and scanner 

  • A printer is a device that produces output in the form of paper sheets. On the contrary, the function of the scanner is completely opposite. A scanner transforms a sheet of information into digital form.
  • In the case of printing, a document can only be altered before the printing process. After when the print out is produced, you cannot change the content. At the same time, a scanned image or text can be altered only after the scanning process.
  • Software provides additional options for printing documents. The printers can support any extensions such as fax machine, scanner and copiers. But, a scanner comes with limited extensions. Especially the handheld printer only uses certain pages, dimension, thickness and length for altering the scanned document.
  • The printers have been a useful appliance for many years. The techniques and printing methods are greatly evolving with new technologies. The new age inkjet printers use an effective ink system and tiny nozzles to print the documents. The lasers use lamp, light and lens to scan and convert the document into digital form.


The function of the printer and scanner are very different and opposite. However, today some devices can function as both scanners and printers. Therefore, the above points will help you to understand the difference between a printer and a scanner.

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