Ink vs. toner cartridges? Toner vs. ink cartridges?
This is a fairly common dilemma for most printer owners. Throughout the years, many people have contacted us to ask whether they should buy ink cartridges or toner cartridges. Our answer is simple enough since there’s only one answer for most of these people.
Usually, ink cartridges are used for inkjet printers while toner cartridges are used for laser printers. We recommend that you either check the manual of your printer for cartridge recommendations or let us know the printer model you have and we’ll tell you which type of cartridge to buy.
Inkjet Wholesale Team
Okay! So, tongue in cheek responses aside, we usually just ask them to check their printer models. Those of you who know a little about printers will know that the dilemma of ink vs. toner cartridges isn’t much of a dilemma, if you already own a printer. It only becomes a dilemma if you own both inkjet and laser printers (unlikely) or if you’re about to buy a printer (most likely).
Ink vs. Toner Cartridges from the Perspective of a Buyer
When you’re about to buy a printer, the ink vs. toner cartridges wrangle becomes important because it’ll have a bearing on how much the running cost of your printer will be.
Delving into the debate of ink vs. toner cartridges is, in fact, recommended when you’re about to buy a printer. How do you go about doing this? It’s simple. You get an understanding of how ink and toner cartridges differ.
Since the ink vs. toner cartridges debate is rooted in the technology on which a printer is based, let us start by explaining how these cartridges are used inside the printer.
How Are Ink And Toner Cartridges Used In Their Respective Printers?
Before we can get into the technicalities of the ink vs. toner cartridges functionalities, let’s get a fundamental fact out of the way. Ink cartridges, as the name suggests, contain ink while is a liquid while toner cartridges contain microscopic powder. A toner is usually a combination of plastic resin and iron oxide.
How do Inkjet Printers Work Their Ink Cartridges?
The technology behind inkjet printers is fairly easy to understand. Inject cartridges contain ink which is sealed in a foil based compartment.
These cartridges are installed in the printer head. This head contains minute ink nozzles from which ink is dispensed onto the paper.
When you give the print command, the print head moves back and forth over the paper. During this movement, the microscopic ink nozzles dispense ink onto the paper on the basis of the image or words that they’re supposed to create.
If you’re wondering about different types of inkjet printers, then you should know their technologies can vary. This variation usually occurs with regard to how the dispensation of the ink is controlled.
In thermal bubble printers, the technology used to dispense ink from the nozzles is based on heat. On the other hand, when it comes to piezoelectric printers, the ink is released from the nozzles on the basis of vibrations and electric charges.
How Do Laser Printers Work Their Toner Cartridges?
Laser printers are a little more complex than inkjet printers. This is natural because the technology behind laser printers is 18 years newer when compared to inkjet printers.
In contrast to how inkjet printers work, laser printers don’t put the toner straight onto the paper. Instead, the toner follows an indirect route onto the paper via a rotating metal drum.
This rotating metal drum is incredibly photosensitive and usually carries just one charge i.e. either positive or negative.
When you give the print command, the laser in the laser printer goes to work drawing an image onto the rotating metal drum. The laser draws an electrostatic image. This means that it overturns the charge on the drum at specific regions such that the image carries a charge opposite to what the rest of the drum has.
It’s only after the image has been drawn that the toner is coated on the drum. It’s important to remember that the toner always carries the same electrostatic charge that the drum carries.
The effect of this is that the toner gets attracted to the opposite charge that the laser created on the drum earlier. On the rest of the drum, the toner falls away. Once this is done, a magnetically charged paper is sent to the drum.
The opposite magnetic charge on the paper, thus, attracts the toner and the print is formed. At this point, a fuser is used to melt the toner on the paper and make the image or words permanent.
Inkjet vs. Toner Cartridges; Pros vs. Cons
Now that you understand the core differences between the two, the inkjet vs. toner cartridges debate will seem a little less confusing and daunting. However, in order to truly answer ink vs. toner cartridges debate, you’ll need to understand the capacities and the costs of the two. The printer cartridge is the most crucial consideration when you’re trying to evaluate how much the printer will cost you to use consistently.
Running Costs vs. Initial Cost
When it comes to the battle of ink vs. toner cartridges, the latter turn out to be much more expensive than the former to replace. However, this isn’t the complete picture because the efficiency of the two also matter.
For instance, you’ll almost always get more mileage out of toner cartridges than you will from your ink cartridges. This means that ink cartridges will have to be replaced much more frequently than toner cartridges.
Speed and Quality of Print
Toner cartridges, in fact, win over their ink counterparts in many other aspects too. The picture quality with toner cartridges is significantly better than an inkjet cartridge in the same bracket. Even if time is a major issue for you, you’ll find toner cartridges friendlier.
The reason for this is that laser printers are, typically, faster than inkjet printers. However, when it comes to printing pictures and images, inkjet printers win out over laser printers because of their better Dots per Inches (DPI) ratings.
Susceptibility to Smudging
However, if this makes you think that toner cartridges have won the battle of ink vs. toner cartridges, hold onto your horses because ink cartridges have qualities too. The biggest advantage ink cartridges have over toner cartridges is that they’re much more stable.
What this means is that printouts made by ink cartridges are less susceptible to smudging than printouts made by toner cartridges. This happens because toner cartridge prints take longer to dry than ink cartridge prints.
Finally, you’ll also have to be careful about the size of the printer with regard to these cartridges. While considering ink vs. toner cartridges, most people forget the simple fact that laser printers are typically much larger than inkjet printers.
What’s The Grand Verdict for Ink vs. Toner Cartridges?
Unfortunately, there is no grand verdict but there is a grand advice!
Which camp you put yourself in depends entirely on two things, which are your financial capability and the nature of your printing needs. There is no clear winner between ink vs. toner cartridges because both have their respective pros and cons.
More importantly, while you can play with your financial capability a little, your printing needs will remain constant. Our recommendation is to simply take the element of costs out of the question of ink vs. toner cartridges and instead focus on the quality of the end product.