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What Are the Differences Between Ink and Toner Cartridges?

April 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 240

A common misconception is that ink and toner cartridges are the same. However, they are actually two different types of printing supplies.


Toner cartridges are available in a set of colours: yellow, magenta, cyan and black. Each cartridge formulation is specifically designed for the machine that it was produced for and it is for this reason that a toner cartridge cannot be mixed and matched between different printers. A cartridge is sold at a higher retail price than an inkjet cartridge. However, they are able to print thousands of pages, the amount being dependent on an individual's printer and printing supplies. Printers that use a toner cartridge are often used by businesses as they are able to meet the often heavy printing job demands. These printers can print hundreds to thousands of pages in one session.


Inkjets are components of inkjet printers. They house reservoirs of ink of two types: black and colour. Inkjet cartridges are available in a range of formats and types, the majority of which can be interchanged between different printer models. This is because printer ink manufacturers have created inkjet cartridges with the same designs. The design of the inkjet cartridge is simple and it is for this reason that these cartridges are commonly used in modern printers. Inkjet printers are ideal for use in homes and small offices. They are suitable for printing tasks that do not require an abundance of hard copy material to be produced.

The Differences between an Inkjet and Toner Cartridge

The main difference between toner and ink cartridges is that inkjet cartridges comprise soluble ink while toner comprises a powder. Toner is fused to the printer paper by burning the powder onto the page. Inkjets, meanwhile, apply ink to the page and the ink then dries.

Visually, a toner cartridge is larger in size in comparison to an inkjet cartridge and this size difference is very apparent when an individual compares the two types of cartridges side by side. In comparison to an inkjet cartridge, a toner cartridge features a greater number of mechanical parts, from fuser wands to drum units.

Printers that use ink cartridges are able to produce higher quality images while toner-based printers are able to produce higher quality printed text. For this reason, anyone trying to decide between buying an inkjet printer or a toner printer must consider their overall printing needs. A toner cartridge can yield a greater number of pages per cartridge. However, printing speeds vary between the different printer manufacturers.

Both types of cartridges are able to be refilled, providing that an individual is able to locate or produce an access hole to the toner hopper or ink chamber. The ink for inkjet cartridges is typically injected into the cartridge with a syringe bottle. The toner, meanwhile, is poured into the hopper straight from the bottle. The ink in an inkjet cartridge has a limited shelf life as it is prone to drying out if it is not used.

Ben Greenwood is writing on behalf of Cartridge World, the UK's leading specialist in printer cartridges, including toner cartridges and inkjet cartridges.

Source: EzineArticles
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