CRE8 | What is the difference between Ink and Toner

CRE8 | What Are The Differences Between Toner And Ink Cartridges?

If you’re someone who knows nothing about printers but is searching to purchase one for your home or office, you’ve stumbled upon the right page! This article will tell you exactly need to know about the advantages and disadvantages of ink and toner cartridges. Whether you’re a professional photographer, artist, businessman or just a regular university student, having a knowledge on the differences between ink and toner cartridges will guide you into making the right decision. At some point, you are required to replace the cartridge, therefore, it is important to know which cartridge is suitable for your printer.

The core difference between ink and toner cartridges is the way it operates. It is easy to distinguish ink and toner after understanding this main distinction. It is also essential to compare the prices of cartridges before purchasing your desired printer. You can purchase ink and toner cartridges at office supply stores, retail stores and online websites such as eBay. 

The Main Differences Between Toner and Ink

Today, commonly used printers in offices and homes are laser and inkjet printers. Laser printers use toner cartridges which contains fine powder substance. While inkjet printers use ink cartridges which contains liquid in.  Toner and ink cartridges are used to print documents and photos. However, the printing processes in which it is produced are profoundly different. They both have its own advantages depending on the quality of image and text you need and the amount of printing you do.  A deeper insight at the way laser and inkjet printer functions can help to clarify the ways in which toner and ink operate differently. 

Laser Printers Use Toner Cartridges

The two primary mechanism of toner are iron oxide and plastic resin. Laser printers do not directly place toner onto the paper. Instead, a step-by-step process is involved. First, a laser scans from side to side on a rotating drum inside the printer. The drum Is coated in photosensitive material which produces either a positive or negative charge.


At the other side of the printer, the paper is positively charged as it passes through a corona wire. When the paper rolls towards the drum, positively charged particles attract the negatively charged particles away from the drum. It forms a static electricity that attracts the toner onto the paper. The image is then transmitted from the drum onto the paper. Nevertheless, the toner particles are merely resting lightly on the paper.


The paper passes through the fuser, two hot rollers. The heat from the fuser combines the toner particles onto the paper to set the image. The print is now ready and warm to be taken out of the printer!


Inkjet Printers Use Ink Cartridges

The printing process of inkjet printers is less complex compared to laser printers. It stores the liquid ink inside the cartridge contained in airtight foil compartment. The ink cartridges are located in the print head with tiny nozzles. When the print head moves back and forth across the paper, the nozzles squirts thousands droplets of ink to produce the image.


Advantages of Toner and Ink Cartridges

After having a general knowledge on the distinction between the toner and ink cartridges, you can compare the cost, speed and print quality. By doing so, you are able to decide whether you have a preference for toner or ink before purchasing a new printer. 


It might shock you to know that a cheap inkjet printer does not necessarily mean cheap printing. In fact, the replacement of ink cartridges is costlier than toner cartridges. Although inkjet printers are generally cheaper, the replacement cost for ink cartridges adds up quickly.


If you wish to print a huge amount, a laser printer is more worthwhile. Laser printers cost more upfront, but the toner cartridges are more long-lasting than ink cartridges. In the long-term, the replacement of toner cartridges is more cost-effective. In fact, ink cartridges have to regularly be replaced as prints lesser pages compared to toner cartridges. 

Speed and Capacity

Laser printer is a preferable option for those who are searching for a printer that is speed efficient. Printers that use toner processes much faster than those who use ink cartridges. This is due to the fact that the laser printer involves an electromagnetic process which is highly precise and efficient.

Unlike laser printers, inkjet printers are slower in printing because the production of ink is not as precise. The time taken to refill the ink also decreases the speed efficiency. Although some inkjet printers claim to have laser-quality print speed, it is still not up to par with the speed of a high-end laser printer.

Image Quality

A high-quality inkjet printer commonly use dye based ink to produce vibrant and natural images and prints. Unfortunately, dye based ink may smudge when it comes in contact with water and the print will fade after 25 years. Pigmented based ink tends to dry faster than dye based ink. It is waterproof and does not fade for up to 200 years. This type of ink is favored by professional photographers and graphic designers as it produces quality images.

Although there are high-quality inkjet printers that prints vibrant images, it cannot be compared with the fine detail that laser printers produce. Laser printers generally print higher quality images than inkjet printers. It is able to produce images that are close to life with the laser drawn imagery. Since toner powder is made out of carbon particles, the prints will not fade or smudge overtime. When all is said, you need to weigh out your cost, quality and cartridge longevity before bringing a new printer home.  


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