Many people often use the terms toner and ink interchangeably. While it is true that both types of cartridges are used for printing, the two are different things. What are the differences and does toner last longer than ink?
What Are Toner Cartridges?
Toner cartridges are cylinder containers that contain toner, a very fine polyester-based powder. They are used in laser printers.
In a laser printer, the laser creates an electrostatic image template on an electrically-charged metal drum. The cartridge then sprays toner onto the said drum.
What happens next is interesting. Rather than sticking to every area on the drum, the toner sticks only to areas where the electrical charge changes.
What Are Ink Cartridges?
While toner is a powder made from a type of plastic, ink is a liquid tinted with different colored dyes. They are used in inkjet printers.
In an inkjet printer, droplets of ink are sprayed through the tiny nozzles in the print head, which are then deposited onto the page.
Next, let’s get to know about the differences. As said earlier, both toner and ink are used in printing. But the two have differences.
For example, replacement, speed, quality, and capacity.
In general, ink cartridges are the cheaper option among the two. They are also relatively small and easy to replace. Ink cartridges, however, are prone to clogging.
If you have an inkjet printer without a built-in print head cleaner, you might find yourself changing the cartridge more often. Not to mention they tend to dry out as well.
On the flip side, toner cartridges are more expensive. Oftentimes, you pay more upfront for toner cartridges but they may help you save money in the long term. Thus, making them the more cost-effective choice.
Speed and precision
If you value speed and precision, then toner is the better option. Laser printers are more precise than inkjet ones. In addition, the precision of their laser also allows laser printers to print faster.
The print quality of toner and ink is similar when it comes to normal font sizes. For smaller fonts, however, toner is usually superior to ink.
Inkjet printers often have less capacity than laser printers. If you use an inkjet printer and print a lot, you are very likely to spend more time refilling the paper than you would a laser printer.
Does Toner Last Longer than Ink??
The short answer is yes. Toner does last longer than ink in several ways.
Toner cartridges are costly upfront, but they often produce more images than ink cartridges can. This means not only do they last longer, but you will also replace cartridges less frequently.
Ink tends to dry out. The risk of it drying out increases the longer you don’t use the printer. Toner doesn’t have this problem.
Toner lasts longer on the shelf. Even if you don’t use the printer, the toner will not dry out. You won’t have to worry when storing toner cartridges away.
How to Maximize Toner Longevity
Does toner last longer than ink? It does. But, just like ink, toner will degrade over time.
The good news is, there are some things you can do to maximize its longevity. Here are some examples.
- Store toner cartridges horizontally
- Make sure that the place where you store the cartridges has a consistent temperature and is away from direct light and moisture
- Don’t open the cartridge
Which One Is Better?
Is ink better than toner? Or is it the other way around? Well, that depends.
If an upfront budget is your biggest consideration, ink is better. Inkjet printers are often less costly than laser printers. Ink cartridges tend to be less expensive upfront as well.
If, however, you are fine with spending more on a printer, toner is the better option. Laser printers are faster and more precise and can give a high yield. They may be costly upfront, but they are more cost-efficient in the long run.
There are also printing needs. If you need to print often, a laser printer would be a much better option than an inkjet printer. A laser printer is faster, more precise, and has better capacity.
So, does toner last longer than ink? Yes, it does. Toner cartridges can produce more prints than their ink counterparts, won’t dry out, and are fine being stored away.