Knowing which cartridges work in your printer is incredibly important. By ordering the wrong product you could end up spending much more than you think or at least having to organize an inconvenient return shipment if the error is caught on time, so before ruining the entire printer! Ink cartridges and printer toner are two completely different refill types, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. If you are trying to learn more about printer cartridges or are looking for a new printer and cannot decide what to buy, this article will tell you everything you need to know.
What is the difference between printer ink and toner?
Simply put, ink cartridges contain liquid and are used by inkjet printers, printer toners on the other hand contain dust and are used by laser printers.
The ink inside a cartridge can be dye-based or pigment-based, depending on the cartridge used. Most inkjet printers on the market traditionally include dye-based inks. They are cheaper than pigment-based ink cartridges and are popular for their ability to produce vivid, lifelike colour prints and photos. However, dye-based inks are not waterproof and can be prone to smudging, and many prints tend to fade after 25 years. Pigment-based ink offers a sharper finish and faster drying time than dye-based ink. It is appreciated by professional photographers and graphic designers for its ability to print archival-quality images and text. Pigment ink also tends to resist water and UV rays better than dye-based ink and can resist fading for up to 200 years.
Toner is a dry, powdery substance that doesn’t stain like ink cartridges, but it can get very dirty if handled improperly. Mono laser printers only print with a black toner cartridge. Colour laser printers use four separate black, cyan, magenta, and yellow toner cartridges to produce a multicoloured print. The main unit is called the drum. it is another very important piece that you should know because without this you would not be able to print! The drum works with the toner cartridge to melt the toner powder directly onto the paper. A drum unit can be built into the toner cartridge or sold separately as a single unit, depending on the consumable requirements of the printer. Toner cartridges with a built-in drum unit are generally more expensive than a single one, but most consumers find them more affordable because you never have to worry about replacing the drum. Whenever you buy a new toner, you are essentially replacing the drum. Separate drum units can usually be replaced after using 3-4 toners.
Which printer? Cartridges or toners?
Now we move on to the big question, which printer is right for you? It all comes down to your printing needs!
Many families, photographers and small offices prefer inkjet printers. Each inkjet machine prints text, colour images and photos. All-in-one inkjet printers also include some combination of features such as fax, scan and photocopy. If you plan to print a small volume on a regular basis or need quality photos, they are a solid choice. However, if you’re not careful, replacing the cartridge can be expensive (more later). There are two common combinations of ink cartridges. Some printers require only two ink cartridges, one black and one tri-colour. The tri-colour handles handle colour prints, but the downside is that you’ll have to replace the entire cartridge if the colour is running out. Other printers use single ink cartridges. You will find that most printers require a black, cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridge, but some photo printers may require additional cartridges such as light cyan or light magenta.
Consumers with high-volume printing needs will likely want to use a laser printer. These machines are best suited for small and medium-sized businesses and schools that print many heavy documents and do colour prints. Although technology seems to improve every year, photo printing is not recommended with the use of a laser printer. Due to the dusty nature of the toner cartridge, photos cannot reproduce the same tonal distinctions as an inkjet printer, and photos tend to appear dull. We are not saying that photos cannot be printed with a laser, but if you are a photographer, you will probably be dissatisfied with the results. We recommend purchasing a monochrome laser printer if you only need to print in black. Colour laser printers are available for those who need to add some colour to everyday documents. Similar to the MFPs mentioned above, multifunction laser printers offer print, scan, copy and fax capabilities. Which one best reflects your needs?