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Is toner the same as ink in a printer?

Knowing what cartridges are working in your printer is incredibly important. Order the wrong product and you may end up costing your company hundreds of dollars or at least an inconvenient return shipment if the error is caught in time. Ink and toner are two completely different types of printer cartridges, each with its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. If you’re looking to learn more about your printer cartridges, or if you’re looking for a new printer, and you’re on the fence about what to buy, this article will tell you everything you need to know. Keep reading to become the ink and toner expert of your office.


Ink can be either a dye based pigment, depending on the type of cartridge you buy. Most popular inkjet printers out there use dye-based ink. It is far more economical than the pigment-based variety and has a higher ability to produce true to life and vibrant colors in photos and prints.

The main drawback when it comes to dye-based ink is that it is not waterproof and is therefore prone to smudging. It’s also not very durable and will fade after 25 years. With pigment ink, the finish is much crisper and dries much faster than dye-based ink. Graphic designers and professional photographers value pigment-based ink more than dye-based ink because of its ability to print archive quality images and text. It is also resistant to both water and UV rays, allowing it to last longer. Pigment-based ink can last up to 200 years.


Toner is a powder that doesn’t stain the way an ink cartridge does. However, it can still get messy, especially if you don’t handle it properly. On the one hand, there are monochrome laser printers that only use a black toner, which can only be loaded with black toner cartridges. On the other hand, there are color laser printers that use four toner colors to print. They ‘re black, magenta, cyan, and yellow. They are mixed together in different proportions to produce all the colors in the printing process.

The Drum Unit is another important part of your laser printer that you should be familiar with. You won’t be able to print anything without this part of your printer. During printing, it fuses the toner powder from the toner cartridge to the paper. It can either be sold separately as a unit or built into a toner cartridge, depending on how your laser printer is designed.

The toner cartridges that come with a built-in drum are generally more expensive than those without it. They do, however, give you the convenience of never having to worry about replacing the drum unit in your printer. Basically, you ‘re already doing that every time you buy a new toner cartridge. If you purchase the drum unit separately as a unit, you will have to replace it with three to four toner cartridge replacements.

Who should use it?

Many families, photographers and small offices prefer inkjet printers. Every inkjet machine prints text, color images and pictures. All-in-one inkjets also include a combination of fax, scan and copy functions. If you’re planning to print at a small volume on a regular basis or you need quality photos, they ‘re a good choice. However, if you are not careful, cartridge replacement may be costly (more on that later). There are two common combinations of ink cartridges. Some of the printers require only two ink cartridges, black and tri-color. The tri-color handles your color prints, but the downside is that you’ll need to replace the entire cartridge if one color is low.Other printers use individual ink cartridges. You’ll find most printers require a black, cyan, magenta and yellow cartridge but some photo printers may require additional cartridges like a light cyan or light magenta.

Consumers with high volume printing needs are likely to want to go with a laser printer. These machines are best suited for small and medium-sized businesses and schools that print a lot of heavy text documents and color prints. Although the technology seems to be improving every year, photo printing on a laser printer is not recommended. Due to the powdery nature of the toner cartridge, photos can not reproduce the same tonal distinctions as the inkjet printer, and photos tend to end up being dull. We ‘re not saying that photos can’t be printed with a laser, but if you’re a photographer, you ‘re likely to be dissatisfied with the results.

It is recommended that you purchase a monochrome laser printer if you just need to print it in black. Color laser printers are available to those who need to add a little color to their everyday documents. Similar to the all-in-one printers mentioned above, multi-function laser printers provide print, scan, copy and fax capabilities. Practically every printer today is also ready for Wi-Fi, which means you can print wirelessly from your laptop, tablet or smartphone.

By Geraoma - Own work, Public Domain,

Are You Looking for Toner, Ink & Supply Store Near Concord, California?

Office Machine Specialists has been servicing, selling office equipment as well as toner, ink and supplies since 1995. A family run business that has dedicated our efforts to providing the best equipment options and after-sales service to our clients. Our goal is to ask the right questions and guide our customers to make smart decisions about new machine leases and purchases.  We were servicing copiers long before the internet was a viable resource, and have transitioned to the digital workflow environment of color printing, scanning, account control and fleet management. With over 20 years in the industry we have extensive experience with many brands and consider OMS to be a valuable resource to any organization. Contact us for all of your copier needs here!