Difference between Cartridges and Toners

Key Difference: Ink cartridge or inkjet cartridge is where the ink is stored for printing on an inkjet printer. An ink cartridge contains portioned reservoirs that contain liquid ink. Toner cartridges, also known as laser cartridges are containers where ink is stored for use in a laser printer. Toner cartridges have a dry powered ink that is placed onto the paper and then heated onto the paper.

There are many different choices when it comes to purchasing a printer. With computers becoming a huge part of people’s lives, printers have also become an important component. Two main types of printers that are available are inkjet and laser printers. These printers print in different manners and require different types of ink to print. An ink cartridge is used by an inkjet printer, while a laser printer uses a toner cartridge.

Ink cartridge or inkjet cartridge is where the ink is stored for printing on an inkjet printer. An ink cartridge contains portioned reservoirs that contain liquid ink. A printer comes with two cartridges, black and color. The cartridges have a sponge in the reservoir which soaks the ink that is then ejected on the paper during the printing process. Some cartridges also have electronic chips that automatically communicate with the computer. The ink is sometimes oil-based, but most cartridges have water-based ones.

There are two kinds of ink cartridges: thermal and piezoelectric. Thermal cartridges have a heating element inside the cartridge that heats up the ink and causes it to splatter onto the paper. A piezoelectric cartridge has a piezoelectric crystal in each nozzle that changes shape and size, forcing the droplet of ink to pour out of the nozzle. Piezoelectric cartridge can create smaller and sharper text and images. Ink cartridges can be bough from the printer manufacturer, a third-party manufacturer, Re-fillers and DIY. Purchasing cartridges from the manufacturer can be expensive, while third-party can be cheaper. Re-fillers usually refill the cartridges for a fraction of the cost of a new cartridge. DIY allows users to purchase refill kits that they can use to refill the cartridges themselves. DIY and Re-fillers are usually quite cheap and environmentally-safe options.

Toner cartridges, also known as laser cartridges are containers where ink is stored for use in a laser printer. Toner cartridges have a dry powered ink that is placed onto the paper and then heated onto the paper. The powdered ink usually contains a mixture of plastic particles, carbon and coloring agents. The toner is initially transferred to an electro statically charged drum that then transfers the toner to the page using heated rollers to press the image on the paper.

There are different kinds of toners that differ depending on the price of the cartridge and the unit. Expensive cartridges also include the drum unit, while cheaper ones do not include the drum unit. These expensive cartridges require changing the drum unit each time the cartridge is also replaced. Sometimes, the cost of the toner cartridges can also exceed the cost of the printer itself. This causes many people to completely dispose printers each time when the toner is finished. This negatively impacts the environment by increasing waste in the landfill. People can also purchase generic brands of toners from third-party manufacturers that are relatively cheaper compared to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) cartridges. Many companies usually buy toners in bulk and refill toners themselves, making it cheaper and a more environment friendly option. Another type of cartridge includes Re-manufactured cartridges. In re-manufactured OEMs or third-party manufacturers dismantle used cartridges, remove and worn or defective parts, incorporate new parts and then re-sell it at a cheaper cost.

The major difference between the two types of cartridges is one has liquid ink, while the other has a powdered toner. They both have expensive cartridges or cheaper variants available. Both can also be replaced professionally or by the person. Inkjet is mostly used in home settings hence it is much easier to get smaller packages of ink. Laser printers get more use and are commonly found in office, hence bigger packages of toners will be much cheaper. Inkjet cartridges also face dry ink problems, where ink dries on the cartridge head causing bleeding or the cartridge to malfunction. This is not a problem in toners, but toner cartridges do face the problem becoming wet or moist. Toner disposable is also a concern as any spilled toner cannot be picked up by a normal vacuum as the toner has electrostatic properties. They require special vacuum cleaners with an electrically conductive hose and a high efficiency (HEPA) filter. Spilled toner can also be picked using a cold and slightly damp cloth. Ink cartridges also produce fewer pages, compared to toners that can churn out approximately 1000 pages.

Image Courtesy: tonerandinkcartridges.com, printercartridgesstlouis.com

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