Ink Versus Toner Printer Cartridges: What You Need to Know

If you have one or several printers at home or in your office, then you will need to know how they run. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t simply slip any old cartridge into your printer; you will quickly find that firstly, it won’t fit, and secondly (on the off chance you manage to make it fit), it won’t work. Why is this? Are there various types of printer cartridges? The answer is a resounding yes. And yes, knowing the difference between the two is essential.

What is the Difference Between Toner and Ink?

If every other fact is forgotten, the one you should keep in mind is this: inkjet printers use ink (which is a liquid), and laser printers use a toner (which is a powder). Beyond that, every other difference in function stems from this one key point on how the two are different in their formulations.

Ink Printer Cartridges

Inkjet cartridges make use of tiny, microscopic nozzles that squirt either dye-based or pigment-based ink onto a paper. These nozzles turn on and off whenever a specific colour is needed in the image, a process controlled by printer software. This, in turn, forms the print you have chosen to make. Dye-based ink is the more popular, traditional type of cartridge, and this is because of how cost-friendly it is. It also produces more lifelike prints, with colour true to the original image. The downside, however, is that dye-based ink is not so resistant to moisture and may smudge or smear. These prints last up to 25 years, which might seem like a long time, but not as long when you consider that pigment ink prints will remain unfaded for up to 200 years. Pigment-based ink also produces crisper, cleaner lines and dries far more quickly, which photographers and graphic designers tend to prefer.

Toner Printer Cartridges

Toner powder (made up mainly of finely ground polyester) holds a static charge and will cling to anything with an opposite charge. A laser printer creates a positively charged electrostatic template of your selected image onto a metal drum as it rotates. Once the cartridge releases toner onto the drum, the powder will only stick to the areas of the drum that have had their electrical charge changed, and this template is then transferred to the paper.

While ink printers and cartridges are far more affordable, a laser printer and cartridges are far more cost-friendly if you plan on high-volume printing. If you are still a little confused about which product would work for your printer specifically, why not get in touch? We will advise you on the best products to suit your printing needs and budget.

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