Most homes and just about all businesses need to utilize appropriate computer accessories to carry out the necessary functions on a day-to-day basis. It makes sense to cut corners where possible to save money on operational costs so it can be allocated elsewhere. When using a computer printer, users can opt to either use an ink cartridge or a toner cartridge for their system. It’s useful to know the differences between the two before making a decision about which product is best for your situation.
Toner consists of polymer mixed with a very dry and fine powder that is carbon-based and then applied to the paper. Its consistency is comparable to dust. The laser works with the toner to essentially burn it directly on to the paper. The toner particles melt from the heat emitted from the fuser and then stick to the paper to make the text and images. It actually sticks to the paper using the properties of static electricity.
All toner cartridge compositions are not equal. Each manufacturer makes its own mix that directly impacts the resolution that is printed. A better, clearer resolution can be made by using smaller toner particles. It’s also better for the particles to be identical in shape and size to get the best look on paper. When it gets empty, the manufacturer typically refills it. Toner is often selected over traditional ink because the cartridges are very large and hold plenty of toner. The expected lifespan of some are as many as 5,000 pages. If heavy output is expected, toner is preferable over ink.
Another option for printing is ink. Printing with an ink cartridge is very similar to the process of writing on a piece of paper with a pen. The cartridge is filled with ink and the printer, using pressure, applies the ink directly to the paper. The ink is dispersed through the holes on the cartridge itself. Inks can be either oil or water based.
Inkjets are ideal if cost is an issue. It is cheaper to purchase ink instead of toner. The quality of the ink remains high because it typically runs out before it goes bad from aging. They’re also easier for the average user to change and small enough to hold in one hand. On average, a page printed with ink costs from 5 to 10 cents.
When deciding to make your next printer purchase select carefully between a laser printer, which uses toner, and the inkjet printer, which uses ink. Each has its benefits and drawbacks that need to be evaluated individually.