Published on January 22nd, 2020 | by Bibhuranjan


Key Differences Between Ink Cartridge and Toner Cartridge

Contemporary printing technology is faster and cheaper than ever before, but it’s not always easy to know which type is best for specific jobs. Both laser and inkjet printers can be used for personal and commercial printing purposes, such as creating prints of your best clicks or zipping through pages of text. But the way they apply material to paper is very different.

That is why knowing what cartridges work in your printer is incredibly important. Order the wrong product and you might end up costing your company thousands and thousands unnecessarily or at least an inconvenient return shipment if the error is caught in time. Ink and toner are two different kinds of printer cartridges, with their respective advantages and disadvantages.

What’s the Difference?

Ink cartridge contains liquid ink, filled in a single-unit container. It is used in inkjet printer. Like a pen, when the ink runs out, they can be refilled for about half the cost, or given to recycle and purchase a new one. The ink inside an ink cartridge can either be dye-based or pigment-based, depending on which cartridge you have.

Most inkjet printers in the market include dye-based inks. They are more economical than pigment based ink cartridges and are appreciated for their ability to produce vibrant and very graphic colour prints. However, dye-based inks are not waterproof and susceptible to smudging, with many prints beginning to fade after a decade or so.

On the other hand, pigment-based ink offers a crisper finish and a quicker dry-time than dye-based ink. It is preferred by professional photographers and graphic designers for its ability to print archival quality images and text. Pigment ink also has better resistance against water and UV light than dye-based ink.

Coming to toner cartridge, they contain dry powdery substance and are used in laser printers. A toner cartridge won’t stain like ink cartridge but it can become messy if not handled properly. Toner cartridges use laser technology to melt the toner dust onto a page in order to create an image. The toner dust is actually a very refined form of plastic used for printing. Toner cartridges come in two forms: complete units that are disposed after each use and refillable units that can be refilled by adding replacement toner to the same cartridge for multiple uses.

The drum unit is an important component of toner cartridges for printing. It works with the toner cartridge to fuse the toner powder to paper. The drum unit can be built into the toner cartridge or sold separately as a single unit, depending on the consumable requirements of each printer. Toner cartridges with built-in drum unit are usually costlier than a single toner cartridge. Nevertheless, most laser printer customers prefer them as there is no hassle of replacing the drum.

Ink cartridges are small in size and easy to replace, which makes them easier to refill. However they are prone to clogging. If your ink-jet printer does not have an in-built print head cleaner, then you may have to replace the ink more often. Ink cartridges also tend to dry out.

In addition, the type of jobs you print will determine which type of cartridge is best suited to your needs. If you need an all-around printer that creates images, graphics and text, an ink cartridge will be a solid investment. If you print primarily text, a laser printer and toner cartridge can do the job.

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Editorial Officer, technofaq.org I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.

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