What's the Difference Between Ink and Toner?

20th Feb 2018

What's the Difference Between Ink and Toner?

There are two main differences between ink and toner: what each are made of, and what printers they are used in.

For ink cartridges, these are composed of liquid substance and are used in inkjet printers, such as the HP OfficeJet Pro 8710 All-in-One Printer. The way that ink is transferred onto the documents or photos is also different. As the printer scans back and forth on the document, droplets of ink create the text or image.

On the other hand, toner cartridges are composed of a powdery substance and fit into laser printers like the Lexmark MS310. The way toner is transferred to paper is by tracing a template first, then placing powdered toner in the template outline. Of course, this is just a simple explanation of a complicated process, but you get the idea.

As you can imagine, it’s pretty important to not purchase ink for a laser printer or toner for an inkjet printer. Now that you know the difference between ink and toner, how do you choose which kind of printer to purchase? Let’s discuss expense, speed, and quality.

Overall, the cost of toner and ink are comparable. At first glance, toner is more expensive, but it typically lasts longer. On the other hand, ink is cheaper at first, but it’s easier to burn through it more quickly.

Generally speaking, laser printers are faster machines and inkjets are minimally slower. For a busy company who uses a printer hourly, laser might be a better choice. For a home printer or a small business, inkjet might be more ideal.

Because of the preciseness of the template tracing, laser printers tend to produce higher quality documents and images. That’s not to say inkjet is low quality; it goes back to the purpose of the printer and how often it’s used. For small businesses or home printing, an inkjet will still produce good quality documents and images.

We hope this information helps explain the difference between ink and toner, as well as helps your decision between purchasing a laser printer or an inkjet printer! If you have any other questions, call us Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm MST, at 480-463-4548.