What the Difference Is Between Ink and Toner?

What the Difference Is Between Ink and Toner?

Kimia Aghaee
What is the different between ink and toner?


Do you know what is more tedious than stocking your printer with paper? Figuring out which ink or toner cartridge to buy! If you have ever wondered about the difference between ink and toner, you are not alone. In a study performed by Xerox, 72 percent of small business owners admitted to not understanding the differences between ink and toner. Cartridges are like shoes. There are many distinct kinds out there – and plenty of them will do their job, but that does not mean you should follow the crowd and buy a decent pair. There is no miracle answer for everyone. Some cannot be bothered; some like to save money and others find it a chore. While there are brands out there that promote their ink being “the same quality” as leading manufacturers, they are not very trustworthy! At the end of the day, you want a reliable printer cartridge with a guarantee. Here is what you need to know when it comes to ink and toner cartridges.

   Not Sure What the Difference Is Between Ink and Toner? Here's Your Answer!

The ink inside an ink cartridge can be either pigment-based or dye-based, depending on which cartridge you have. Traditional inkjet printers include dye-based inks as they are a more economical option that produce vibrant colors. The colors fade over time though and are susceptible to smudging. Using a laser printer with pigmented-based inks produces a crisper finish and dries quicker than using dyes. It also resists water and UV light. With pigment ink, your work will stand out - crisp text and eye-popping graphics. And it prints faster than dye-based ink.

"Toner" is a bit like a magic powder made of various plastics, iron, and other chemical compounds that melts in the laser printer to form text and images on paper. Toner is the powdery stuff, and it causes a bigger mess than ink. Black toner comes in one color, while color laser printers use four consumables: black, cyan, magenta, and yellow toners. The drum unit fuses the toner powder to paper. You can buy single-use drum units or all-in-one toner cartridges with drum units.


Puzzled about what type of printer you need? Whether you should buy a laser or inkjet printer? Not sure if any of the printers exists can actually print in your style?

Inkjet Printer VS Laser Printer


Find out more with our complete guide.

 Inkjet Printers: The Best and Worst Things About Them

Inkjet printers are the most common type of printer and are popular with families, photographers, and small home offices. They print text and color images as well as photos. A number of all-in-one inkjet printers include fax, scan, and copy functionality too. Inkjets are a solid choice if you plan to print at a small volume on a regular basis or need quality photos. However, if you are not careful, replacing ink cartridges can get pricey. There are two common types of ink cartridges: tricolor and individual. Tricolor manages your color prints but if one color is running low, you'll need to replace the entire cartridge. Individual ink cartridges let you replace only the cartridge that needs replacing but some photo printers use another cartridge called light cyan or light magenta.

Reasons To Buy a Laser Printer (And to Avoid Them)

Laser printers are best suited for small- to medium-sized businesses that have high printing needs and schools that print a lot of text-heavy documents and color prints. Laser printers might be the best choice for you if you count just how many pages are printed each day and realize the amount is a mind-boggling number. Laser printers don't fade like inkjets, but they do have their own limitations. They aren't great at printing photos — at least not yet. We aren't saying that photographs can't be printed on a laser, but we are saying that if you are a photographer, you'll likely be dissatisfied with the results. If you want crisp and detailed text in black-and-white to take home, you can go with a monochrome laser printer. If you need to add a bit of color to your everyday documents, go for a color laser printer. Multifunction printers provide print/scan/copy/fax capabilities similar to all-in-ones. Practically every printer these days is Wi-Fi ready as well, meaning you can print from your laptop or smartphone.

Advantage and Disadvantage of toner and ink cartridges


Which Printer Cartridges Should I Choose?

When you're looking for a printer, make sure you consider the cost of printer cartridges. Cartridges can be expensive, and the price, size, and number of pages you get varies wildly across models. Cartridge replacements cost twice as much as the printer if you don't pick the right model. We'll show you what to look out for here:

How Many Pages Can You Print?

Each ink cartridge has a "page yield" —an estimated number of pages you can print before you'll have to buy another cartridge. The page yield is different for every cartridge type because every type uses ink differently. To make comparisons fair, manufacturers use an ISO/IEC 24711:2010 standard to test page yield. This ensures that all cartridges perform and print consistently, so customers can easily compare products.

The Size of Cartridges

Cartridges come in a couple of different sizes, so their page yields vary. High-yield or XL cartridges print much more than a standard cartridge, and they're generally a better value for consumers with high-volume printing needs. (Standard yield cartridges are less expensive than high yield cartridges and are good options for consumers who print occasionally.) Some printers offer extra-high yield cartridges as well—consult the specs on your manufacturer's website to see if this option is available for your printer.

Cost of each page?

The cost per page is the amount of money you will be paying for each printed page. To determine the cost per page for a particular printer, check the printer’s cartridge yield. The more pages you can print on one cartridge, the more efficient it will be over time.

Shrink Your Print Costs Even More

You can save money, produce quality prints and support the environment by using DoorStepInk Remanufactured brand replacement cartridges. These products are backed by a lifetime guarantee from DoorStepInk Products.

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