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What is the difference between an ink cartridge and a toner?

What is the difference between an ink cartridge and a toner?

If all you know about toner is that Phoebe sold it during an episode of Friends (and she didn't even know what it was), and the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions the word cartridges is fair, you're not alone. This article is for you, so that when you finish reading it you can set up your own copy shop, or at least know what kind of consumables to buy for your printer.

What is an ink cartridge?

Ink cartridges are units or containers that contain liquid ink. They are replaceable, i.e. when the ink runs out the cartridge needs to be replaced, and are used in inkjet printers. Depending on the type of cartridge your printer uses, it may or may not have a built-in print head (some printers have them in the machine itself).

Cartridges are essential for printing, but not all are compatible with all printers. In the market there are the original cartridges of the brands themselves (HP, Brother, Canon, Epson, etc) and compatible cartridges, a cheaper option and of the same quality as long as the supplier is reliable.

What is a toner?

Toner is dry ink, a fine powder contained in a container used in laser printers. These powder particles, composed of plastic and pigment, are attached to the paper with heated rollers by electrical charges. The toner delivers high print quality and sharp results. In addition, it has the capacity to print a large number of documents.

Not all toners are compatible with all printers either. When buying yours, check your printer model and remember that there are original toners (those provided by the brands themselves) and compatible toners. The main difference between them is the price.

So, what is the difference between an ink cartridge and a toner?

The fundamental difference is that toner is used in laser printers and cartridge in inkjet printers. Although there are other:

  • The ink cartridge contains liquid ink and the toner contains powdered ink.
  • Ink cartridges are cheaper than toner, however, they also last less and need to be replaced more frequently, so for printing a large number of documents toner can be more cost-effective.
  • Print quality is higher with toner.
  • Toner prints faster due to the printing technology used in laser devices.

As you can see, although both cartridges and toners are used for printing, there are differences that can make you opt for one type of printer or another. Printers that use cartridges, inkjet printers, are perfect for home use or for a small business. Cartridges are inexpensive, especially compatible cartridges, and provide good results. For large offices or businesses that require constant printing of documents, printers that use toner, lasers, would be the best option.

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