Difference Between Toner Cartridge And Ink Cartridge
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Speaking for toner cartridges and ink cartridges, we have not considered these facts:


  • The average toner cartridge contains more than 80 components
  • An inkjet cartridge can fire more than 1,120 ink droplets simultaneously per second.
  • Each ink nozzle in a printer cartridge is 1/7th the diameter of a human hair
  • An average of one gallon of oil is used to produce one (yes one) toner cartridge


What is more, many people do not even understand the difference between toner and ink cartridges, knowledge that can be valuable when it comes to office productivity and saving costs.


Where does each go?

Let us get the easy one out of the way. Laser printers use toners while inkjet printers use ink when it comes to bringing your ideas to life on paper.


Now, we would like to move on to the difference between toner and ink.


What are Ink Cartridges?

Ink cartridges are comprised of microscopic nozzles that spray dye or pigmented ink onto paper in the form of droplets — turning on and off thousands of times per second. Sophisticated printer software controls all the nozzles. Every ink cartridges company guards their formulas better than McDonald’s does its secret sauce formula due to ink cartridges are a huge revenue generator for printer brands. Thus, selling ink cartridges is a key role in their whole world business.


According to Consumer Reports, printer inks cost around $50 an ounce in the USA. (and the shocking truth is that many printer models deliver half or less of valuable ink to a page, with some managing no more than 20 to 30 percent – mostly because of maintenance and testing).

What is Toner?

Toner is mostly composed of finely ground polyester (a type of plastic). The polyester powder holds a static charge that sticks to anything with an opposite charge.


In a printer, a laser produces an electrostatic template of the desired images on a rotating metal drum, which contains an electrical charge. A cartridge dispenses toner on the drum. The toner adheres only to certain places where the laser alters the drum’s electrical charge.


At the same time, a laser printer also charges the sheets of paper while they pass through the machine. As the sheets curl past the drum, it yanks the charges off the toner in the exact shapes that make up images and text. During this process, a hot fuser essentially melts the polyester in place, making sharp, smudge-free prints.


Which One for Me?

Beyond all this cool tech science that happens every day at work, choosing between a laser or inkjet printer really depends on your needs. But those needs are important to address – especially in a time when printer costs are just below that of office utilities, rent, and payroll; and the typical office worker prints 10,000 pages per year, at an average cost of $725.


In general, inkjet printers are cheaper than laser printers, just as ink cartridges are cheaper than toner cartridges. However, toner tends to get much more bang for your buck. In other words, the overall cost-per-page of inkjet printers is higher than laser printers. Laser printers will save you more money in the long run, especially if you’re printing thousands of pages a month.


Laser printers are better for:

Black & white documents

Larger offices

Faster need of documents (can print up to 100/minute)

Smaller need for paper size variety


Inkjet printers better for:

High-quality photos or anything with brilliant colours/tonal depth

Small/home businesses

Less demand for quick printing (can print up to 16 pages/minute)

Larger need for paper size variety (and this can include fabrics and glossy paper)


In a perfect world, an office would have both an inkjet and laser printer, leveraging laser for volume and monochrome documents while tapping into inkjet for colour docs and photos. Sadly, the Large Hadron Collider hasn’t created this perfect office environment for many companies. But we know an independent photographer would benefit from an inkjet printer, while a law firm should depend on laser printers.


In between the photographer and the lawyer, your office should find out where it stands when it comes to buying printers. We always recommend our office print savings calculator. At the very least, you can impress co-workers at the next holiday party with your awesome ink and toner factoids.