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The Difference Between Ink and Toner


Computers used at the home or office will often be connected to a printer. Printers and many types of copy machines will use either ink or toner. The device you use will have one of these two options as the cartridge type used to create various types of prints.

Ink Cartridge

This is the most common option for use with a desktop computer. You can find printers that are used to create many types or prints. Units are available to copy or scan documents and images. Certain types of printers are used to create color prints on photo-quality paper. This is done using photo-quality inks that are available for many models of printer.

Inks used for most desktop printers are a liquid that is contained in the cartridge. There are many types of cartridges that are designed for specific models of printer. Prints made with these cartridges need to dry before touching the print or document. The cost of printers using ink is cheaper than a printer using toner cartridges. The cartridges are also easy to replace when they run dry.

Toner Cartridge

These cartridges are used primarily with laser printers. These are printers typically used in an office for printing multiple copies or pages for a document. The size of these cartridges is larger and will have a lot more material available for printing.

The application of toner to paper is different than a desktop printer. Toner is dry and needs to have an electrical charge to active the material so it will adhere to the paper. Printers that use these cartridges will burn the toner to the paper. This is one reason why prints come out feeling hot to the touch.

The composition of these cartridges will vary depending on the manufacturer. This is why you can find printers with various resolution options. In general, the higher the resolution, the higher the print quality. Cartridges can often be refilled by the manufacturer or recycled when they are empty.

Additional Information

The options of printer that you need depends on your printing needs. The cost of each type of printer is also a factor to consider.

Logos and brand names of manufacturers such as HP, Canon, Epson, Xerox, Samsung, Apple, Brother, Dell, IBM and others are registered trademarks of their respective owners. All references to brands are solely made for the purpose of illustrating compatibility of toner and ink cartridges. Their use on does not imply endorsement or association by respective owners.