Buyer’s Guide: Ink and Toner

Buyer’s Guide: Ink and Toner

12th January 2017

3 Minutes

When considering which printer to buy, exploring ink and toner is a must. Printer cartridges can add a significant amount to your printing costs – sometimes more than the printer itself. With so much choice available (not to mention jargon, serial numbers and models), things can get a little overwhelming.

What is the best printer for ink cost? What is printer toner? What printer ink do I need? And why is printer ink so expensive? If you’re asking yourself these questions, our guide to different types of ink and toner cartridges will help you find the best value printer and ink for your needs.

Put simply, ink is used in inkjet printers, toner is used in laser printers. The main difference between the two is what they are made of – ink is a liquid, toner is a powder. Both are used to print documents and photos, but the methods they use to do this differ.

What is an ink cartridge?

In inkjet printing, an ink cartridge is the replaceable unit that holds the ink used to transfer images and text to paper. For these to work, the ink cartridge is loaded into the print head. Liquid ink is stored inside an airtight foil compartment within them, covered with tiny ink nozzles. This print head moves back and forth across the paper as the nozzles drop ink onto the page to create an image.

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What is the page yield for an ink cartridge?

The yield of an ink cartridge lets you know how many pages it can print before needing to be refilled or replaced. All ink cartridges are tested by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to review levels of consumption – three patterns are continuously printed on three printers until all three cartridges have run out. The higher the yield, the more pages you’ll get – however these tend to be more expensive.

Also known as a laser toner, this nifty cartridge transfers toner powder (in the form of a fine, dry mixture) onto paper using electrical charges. These charges are used to place images and text (or whatever else you’re printing) onto certain spots of the page. The charged particles are then fused together onto the paper through heated rollers; warmed and melted into sharp prints.

What is the page yield for a toner cartridge?

Much like ink cartridges, the page yield for toner also tests the level of consumption before the cartridge runs out. Any toner cartridge is subject to the ISO 19752 Standard test, giving a defined measurement of how many pages you’ll get for your cartridge – again, the higher the yield the more sheets you’ll get.

Once you’ve grasped the basics of toner and ink cartridges, you can start comparing other issues. From speed to spending, each type of cartridge has different benefits depending on your task at hand. Take these ink and toner considerations into mind when deciding which printer best suits your needs.

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