There are a number of factors in each user’s usage profile that are going to determine the best option between the inkjet v. laser debate. One is what you are going to print, and another is how much you print.
By “what”, I mean, for instance, photos or non-photos. I have yet to meet a laser that matches a good photo inkjet. And then, of course, what size prints? For A4, there are plenty of options but in addition to that, I have A3, Super-A3, A2 and one wide-carriage machine. Every tried buying an A1 laser? :D
For reference, I also have dye-sub printers. And lasers.
On the subject of lasers, before buying based on the price of cheap consumables, check which (if any) other parts need periodic replacement, because while many lasers (like most HP models) build all the consumable bits into the cartridge, and therefore they get replaced every time you replace the cartridge (assuming it’s new and genuine), not all lasers work that way! Some, there are several other bits with varying duty cycles that may need to be replaced, and often, those are the very ones with very chear cartridges, because all those cartridge are is a toner repository.
That means you also need to have an idea of how much you print, to know when, how often and indeed, if you might need to replace the other consumables, over the entire life cycle of the machine.
Another factor, and it’s close to universally true, is that the more you pay for the hardware, the less you’ll pay per page for consumables. A very cheap printer will nearly always have small capacilty consumables, meaning frequent replacements, meaning higher cost per page. That, however, might well be the best value deal, especially for low-volume users.
My current ‘general purpose’ colour printer (in addition to mono lasers) is an Epson AIO, with “Unlimited” ink …. for two years. You pay a bit more up-front, but if cartridges run out, order more and Epson supply, without charge. Oh, and pretty big capacity cartridges, which are fillable. i.e. what Epson send is a set of ink bottles, not cartridges. Each bottle has a unique shape of nozzle (so you cannot put the wrong colour ink into a given tank), and the ‘cartridges’ in the machine, which are actually just ink tanks, are permanent, and you just glug in more ink. It is, in effect, an Epson-supplied CIS (Continuous Inking System). Oh, and I’ve yet to spill a single drop of ink refilling them, either.
This scheme suits me perfectly. Why? Well, ease of use. High capacilty tanks, not needing to refill often, and I print a fair bit. Also, that upfront purchase cost is the entire cost, barring electricity and, of course, paper, for at least two years. No ink running costs at all during that period. Zip, nothing, zero. So I can print to my hearts desire without thinking, 12p, 24p, 36p, etc, as the pages drop out. 200-page colour manual? Do I need it, and is it with the cost of the paper? If it is, print away. It’s MUCH less than 12p per page with that machine, by the way. 12p is just an example.
That won’t be the cheapest way for someone printing a few pages a week, though.
My point? The optimum printer, and even different printer types, vary acording to what you print, at what size, in what required quality and what kind of volume you do. What suits one person won’t necessarily suit others. I have several different inkjet types, as well as dye-sub, laser, and even Alps MicroDry (good for printing silver or gold ‘foil’ onto, say, thick card, which is great for hobbyist-type use, even if you can’t buy them any more.
Evaluate what you want a printer for, and before taking any buying advice on models too seriously, be sure its being given by someone with the same kind of usage needs as you.