The Pros and Cons of Printer Ink Cartridges vs Toner

Whether you need a printer for work or home, choosing the right printer type is essential. While there are many different brands and models to consider, one of the first questions you need to ask is whether to choose ink cartridges or toner.

Knowing which route to take can feel a little confusing, especially if you’re not particularly well educated about modern printing technologies. This quick guide should help you decide.

The Difference Between Printer Ink & Toner

Given that the two terms are (incorrectly) used interchangeably by millions of people, including professionals, it would be easy to assume that printer ink and toner are the same things. However, while they are designed to offer a very similar purpose, there are major differences.

Printer Ink – The ink held in printer ink cartridges is a liquid. It is stored in small airtight containers. During the printing process, it is sprayed onto the paper via a microscopic mist. It is used by inkjet printers.

Printer Toner – The toner is a powder that is used by laser printers. It uses heat to transfer the powder to the paper, creating the images and texts that are desired in a particularly fast manner.

The Pros & Cons Of Printer Ink

Here are the reasons for and against choosing printer ink cartridges and an inkjet printer.

Pros:
  • Ink cartridges are more affordable than toner. This is especially useful for those that do not need to get through large volumes of printing. The cheap ink printers are very affordable too.
  • Ink cartridges are easy to fit and easy to replace. This means you can complete the installations in next to no time while also avoiding faults.
  • Ink cartridges are more reliable and won’t smudge as often as toner. This is because it needs less time to cool and dry.
Cons:
  • Ink cartridges are small in size, meaning they hold very little ink and need replacing very often.
  • Ink cartridges clog due to drying ink on the printhead, particularly when you are an infrequent user of the printer.

The Pros & Cons Of Toner

Here are the benefits and downfalls of choosing laser printers and toner.

Pros:
  • Toner cartridges last a long time. This means that they offer a higher workload of pages while it also offers a chance to reduce the need for maintenance and replacement.
  • Toner produces very clear images. The laser technology offers greater clarity and definition, which can be very useful when printing pictures and graphics.
  • Toner tends to print more quickly. Of course, this will be influenced by the model of printer. Generally speaking, though, the pages per minute are higher.
Cons:
  • Toner is expensive, particularly when dealing with refills.
  • Toner is used by laser printers, which tend to be bigger and often more expensive than inkjet counterparts.

The Final Verdict

Both ink and toner can provide great printing experiences. Ultimately, it depends on your usage. As a rule of thumb, businesses will use toner while infrequent home users will choose ink. In truth, though, it’s best to weigh up the pros and cons of your individual circumstances.