When you think of an "office printer", you probably imagine a veritable workhorse: a laser printer or copier. Laser printing technology and its toner cartridges are known and loved for their quick and crisp printouts. So much so, that it’s becoming a popular choice for home offices too!
Still, many people are frustrated with printer toner cost. Today, we'll tackle everything you need to know about the ongoing costs of running your laser printer.
Read on to find out if the high cost of toner is justified, who should opt for laser printing, and what kind of toner cartridge is the most economical choice for you or your business!
What Is Toner Anyway?
If you have a laser printer, you know that cozy feeling of warm, freshly printed paper. It comes out friendly because your printer melts and seals toner on the form. Inside the cartridge, before being used for printing, toner is a bunch of dry, powdery particles.
Usually, toner is made out of granulated polyester. It may contain carbon powder, polypropylene, silica, iron, zinc, and alternative materials like plant-derived plastic.
In general, there’s no single formula for toner. Toners coming from different factories may have different particle sizes, chemical formulas, and physical properties like melting points. Manufacturers around the world work on developing safer, more efficient, and more precise toner formulas by the day.
Are OEM Toner Cartridges Worth the Money?
Yes! Original toner is made to print flawlessly and meet the quality control standards your printer needs for a long life. Good refill or compatible toner can be found - but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have no issues with a refill or compatible toner. Toner pigment comes in tiny particles inside the cartridge. Particle size and chemical composition differ between manufacturers. That makes OEM toners that are perfect for your printer almost impossible to recreate.
All laser printer cartridges are equipped with a printer drum, a photosensitive unit that transfers toner to the paper. The drum weakens with use, but not all remanufacturers replace them with new ones when refilling cartridges.
What Is Toner Cartridge Yield?
Each cartridge on the market is labeled with its approximate yield to give you a picture of what to expect. Yield tells you how many pages you can print with that particular ink or toner cartridge.
An average ink cartridge yields a bit over 200 pages of text.
A toner cartridge will output an average of 2500 pages of text.
When calculating yield, most manufacturers assume about 5% of an A4 or Letter-size paper will be covered in print.
With more than 10x the efficiency, toner is more expensive upfront, but it pays off over time.
If you rarely use your printer, a laser printer will likely save you time and money down the line.
Of course, choosing the right printer for your needs isn’t as simple as getting the cheapest cost per page possible. Inkjets far outperform laser printers in image printing, while lasers are quicker to output page after page of super-crisp text. Your printing technology of choice will ultimately depend on the type of print jobs you do the most.
How Often Do You Need To Replace Toner Cartridges?
To find out how much you can print with a certain cartridge, check its page yield. That number should give you a picture of how much pigment there is inside. You may find that ink or toner for your printer is sold in two cartridge sizes: normal and high-yield.
But if you need a printer only occasionally, there’s a chance you won’t use up all of your ink in time.
Ink expires in two-three years
Toner doesn’t expire
That means that if you don’t use your inkjet printer for a while, you may not be able to print when you turn it back on. Ink will expire, dry up, or clog up if you don’t use it regularly.