Difference between Inkjet and Toner Cartridges

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.

The terms cartridges and toners are associated with printers and the type of ink used in printing. These two terms are often confusing as many people believe that cartridges and toners are two different things. However, cartridges and tones are the same. Toner is a type of ink used in cartridges. Confused? Well, to simply, there are two types of cartridges: an ink cartridge and a toner cartridge.

An ink cartridge has liquid ink, while a toner cartridge has a powered ink form known as toner. The ink cartridge is used in an inkjet printer, while a toner cartridge is used in a laser printer. Now, that we have clarified that cartridges and toner are related, let’s try and understand the difference between ink cartridges and toner cartridges.

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 and a piezoelectric cartridge has a piezoelectric crystal in each nozzle.

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.

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: printercartridgesstlouis.com, tonerandinkcartridges.com

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