Printer Toner vs Ink

Printing technology has been improved drastically in the last two decades. Not only has the old technology improved, but also there are new printing innovations that have come to the market. Nowadays, you often hear about printers’ ink cartridges and toner cartridges. After hearing their name, the first question that might appear in your head is: What are the differences between printer toner vs ink? 

Inkjet printers use Ink cartridges. Ink cartridges are filling with liquid Ink and coloring agents. It’s an old technology, but it is still applicable these days because it updated to fit with the tasks in this modern era. 

On the other hand, toner cartridges contain powder-like material rather than liquid. They are using laser printers. The powder-based material used in the toner make of granulated plastics. Toner cartridges can print writings much more accurately. This article will discuss the ‘printer toner vs ink’ topic from every aspect in detail.

The Key Differences Between: Printer Toner vs Ink

InkToner
They are used in Inkjet printers.They are used in Laser printers.
Liquid Ink and color agents are used for printing. Powder-like materials made of granulated plastics are used for printing. 
Ink is stored in two or four cartridges containing a different color. Toners are usually stored in just a single cartridge. 
Ink cartridges can print lifelike color pictures and graphics. That’s why photographers and graphic designers widely use them.Toner cartridges are used mainly by schools or small businesses for printing a huge amount of text-based documents. It’s not recommended to use them to print images. 

Are Printer Toner and Ink the Same Thing? 

No. As we have described above, the ink is liquid color. It needs four cartridges to contain 4 primary colors- cyan, magenta, yellow and black. It combines these colors to create vivid and colorful images on the paper. Inkjet cartridges mainly use for printing colorful documents. Inkjet cartridges are available in the market, dye-based, and pigment-based. This ink can create perfect images, but the pigment-based ink seems slightly better at performance.

In the meantime, Toner is a dry powdery thing containing a single cartridge. This powder-like thing make of plastics. So when the paper gets warm inside the printer, these powders melt and stick to the paper as imprints.

What is Better: Laser or Ink Printer?

laser ink printer

It depends on the purpose you want to get the printer. Both laser and inkjet printers have advantages and disadvantages. Let’s learn the uses of both of them. 

Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers are usually cheaper than laser printers. They are good at printing colorful pictures and high-quality graphics. So if you require printing images, flyers, business cards, etc., the inkjet printer is the perfect choice for you. In addition, inkjet printers can print text-based documents but in a small amount. 

Ink cartridges take a long while to print a page and spend a lot of ink to do the task perfectly. They usually contain four colors separately. Therefore, if any color gets finish, you will have to replace the whole cartridge even if the other colors still half-finish. Due to these reasons, you may have to change Ink cartridges quite often. 

Another drawback of Inkjet printers is that the cartridges dry up if you stop printing for a while. Combining everything, if you want to print the highest quality images and occasionally other text documents, then you should go for the Inkjet printers. 

Laser Printer

The laser printers are perfect if you need to print many textual documents regularly. Laser printers use toner cartridges, and they last longer than Inkjet printers. Office, schools, and businesses use laser printers as they have to print a lot of texts. Laser printers are 2 to 3 times faster in printing inkjet printers.  

You can print color photos on laser printers too. However, the images wouldn’t be as impeccable as the inkjet printers. They are primarily perfect for printing texts and typical graphics. Although, you can still print pretty decent quality images, which will be ideal for everyday tasks. But laser printers are not for you if you want your pictures without even a tiny bit of inaccuracy. Another thing about the laser printer is that laser printers are usually heavy and not portable devices. So if you have to move around often with your printer, this may be troublesome for you. 

Difference Between Inkjet and Laser Printer

Inkjet printers use liquid ink and can print both texts and images. The printing process goes like this- the liquid ink comes to the printing head and then onto the paper in tiny drops. The little dots together form shapes on the paper. This printer applies liquid ink directly onto the paper, and it can print brilliant colored photos with high resolution. 

An inkjet printer uses 4 cartridges to print colorful images. It takes different colors from each cartridge and mixes them to make the user’s actual color. That’s what makes inkjet printers work slightly slow. Inkjet printers can print texts too, but often the texts might become smudgy if the ink doesn’t dry on the paper in time. 

We do not use any liquid inks but powder toner for laser printers. The main advantage of toner instead of liquid is that toner can produce high accuracy. That’s why Laser printers can print texts better than inkjet printers. Two types of laser printers are available in the market to choose from. They are- Monochrome and color laser printers. Monochrome laser printers can print only in black and white. So it will be your best cost-effective option if you want to print only black and white documents. And the color laser printers can print both colorful and black&white. 

Printer Ink vs Toner Cost

If you calculate the price of the printers themselves, it is clear that laser printers are more expensive than inkjet printers. But, it would be a huge mistake to consider just their initial price to determine the cost because you will have to keep buying cartridges for them too, which may become costly. 

Inkjet printers still win in terms of cartridge costs. The laser printer uses toner cartridges which are more expensive than ink. But, the ink cartridge gets finish quicker than the toner cartridges. So, even if the ink cartridges are less costly, you will have to replace them repeatedly. In contrast, the toner cartridges last longer, which sounds like reimbursing to me. 

If you want this calculation in the page yield form, here it is. One inkjet cartridge can print 140 to 1000 pages, while one toner cartridge can print 2,500 – 4,000 pages! Some bigger toner cartridges with high capacitance can print up to 10,000 pages. I hope you see the difference now. 

Toner vs Ink Longevity

The toner cartridges last longer than ink cartridges. Ink cartridges contain colors in liquid form, and the liquid has to spend more to create perfect images. But the toner cartridges use powder toner. The powder gets attract in a charged drum inside the printer and then onto the paper. This process doesn’t need much powder to print something on paper. Hence, you will have to buy ink cartridges more often than toner. Besides, the ink cartridges often get dried up if left unused for a while. 

What is The Difference Between Toner and Ink Cartridges?

There are certain parts where toner and ink cartridges sing different tunes. Let’s break down the major distinction between toner and ink cartridges. 

  • Price: The ink cartridges are cheaper than the toner cartridges. 
  • Longevity: Ink cartridges run out of ink faster than toner cartridges. 
  • Space: Toner cartridges are used in Inkjet printers, a space-saving device. At the same time, the toner cartridges are used in laser printers which eat up a lot of space. 
  • Picture quality: The ink cartridges are the best for printing images. Toner can never beat the quality of the ink cartridge’s image-producing ability. But toners can also print images in pretty decent quality. 
  • Printing volumes: If you have to print a large volume of papers, a toner cartridge is the option to choose. But for printing just a few hundred pages each month, ink cartridges are good enough. 
  • Text printing: Toner once again wins here for printing texts at best accuracy. Laser printers can print texts with great precision, while the ink cartridges may smudge the tiny texts or create any distortion. 
  • Speed: Ink cartridges are slower to print. Toner cartridges in laser printers can print a couple of times faster than ink cartridges! An inkjet printer can print 15 pages per minute, while a laser printer prints 20-100 pages per minute! 

HP Printer Toner vs Ink

toner and ink cartridges

HP is a very well-known brand for providing computer and computer accessories. The HP printers are also quite popular among consumers. HP has both ink and toner printers for various capacities and budgets. So you don’t have to buy an expensive one if you are not printing a large amount of paper. HP Inkjet and Laserjet printers have the same functionalities and differences as we have discussed in this article. 

Here are some features you will get in HP inkjet or LaserJet printers: 

  • Decent printing speed. Depending on the model, it can be.
  • Wireless connectivity via Wifi.
  • Automatically prints on both sides of the paper.
  • Two-year warranty.
  • HP Smart printing system.
  • Compatible with printing from smartphones or tablets.
  • Suitable for fax or document scanning.
  • High-quality cartridges.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Laser Toner Cheaper than Ink? 

Yes, toner cartridges used in laser printers are cheaper than Ink in the long run. But if you check the cartridge price, then toner is the one that seems more expensive. However, the toner cartridges give plenty of page yields that make it cost-effective over time. 

Toner vs. Ink Cost

The ink cartridge will cost you $0.075 per black&white page and $0.20 per color page. For toner cartridges, the cost is $0.06 per black&white page and $0.12 per color page. The price may go up and down slightly, but it will be closer to this. The toner cartridges sometimes cost up to $0.55 to print a color page containing any complex image or high-definition graphics. 

What is Printer Toner Made of? 

Specifically, the printer toner is made of highly ground plastic materials. Polyester, a kind of plastic, has been turned into fine powders in printer toner. 

Toner for Printer Price      

The toner price depends on the printer’s brand and model. Some printer models offer low-cost Toner, while some are slightly higher. For example, a toner of 1,000-page printing ability costs about $50-$60. For 2,500 pages, the price goes near $80-$100. If you need a much bigger toner than that, it will cost you anything between $250 and $400.

Is Toner or Ink Better?

It depends on what you are going to print. For printing high-quality images and a small number of papers- ink is better. On the flip side, Toner is better for printing thousands of text documents in a month and occasionally images. 

Final Words

It is always a common question asked by many people: which one is the better, The ink or the Toner? To summarize everything we discussed, both have their advantages and disadvantages. It depends on your usage and what you are going to print. It’s not always a dilemma of printer toner vs ink because you will also find some all-in-one printers that can serve you for printing texts and images. So, you don’t need to get two types of printers to print textual documents and images if you are wondering. 

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About Tom

Tom is a blogger and artist who also loves technology. He spends his days blogging about the latest developments in the world of art, and he enjoys sharing his thoughts with readers on what it means to be an artist today. Tom has always been interested in technology - but it wasn't until he was 13 years old that he discovered how much fun making websites could be! Tom is a fun-loving, adventure seeking creative type. He enjoys reviewing art products and technology gadgets on his blog and has been doing so for over 5 years now! He spends most of his time in the studio, at the beach, or out exploring new places.

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