Ink-Onomics 101 | What’s the Difference Between Printer Toner & Printer Ink?

Chances are you aren’t a master of expertise in the realm of printing, ink, and toner, or else you wouldn’t be reading this blog.. A common question regarding printing, and choosing the best printer for your business is what is the difference between printer toner, and printer ink? You are not alone, that is why BXI is here to break down the differences, in plain old black and white.

When it comes to choosing the best printer for what you and your employees need in the office, the type or model depends solely on the work it is intended for. The choice is an important one, make the wrong decision and you could end up blowing hundreds or thousands of extra dollars a year on ink, toner, and toner cartridges.

In laymen’s terms

Inkjet printers use ink, which is liquid tinted with dyes or pigments.

Laser printers use printer toner, which is a fine powder.

How do they work?

When using an inkjet printer, ink comes in separate, individual ink cartridges. Black, yellow, magenta, and cyan are the four most common colors as the combination of these colors can essentially print any color you need. When an individual color runs out, you can replace only that color. Inkjet printers squirt drops of ink onto paper, thousands of times per second. There are two basic categories of inkjet ink, dye-based or pigment-based.

Laser printers that use printer toner typically print only in black, requiring one black toner cartridge to be changed once the cartridge runs out. Higher end laser units can print in color and utilize individual color toner cartridges for different colors on paper. Printer toner is made up of finely ground polyester, which holds a static charge that grabs onto anything that has an opposite charge. In laser printers that use toner cartridges, a rotating metal drum is the source for a laser that creates an electrostatic template of your image to appear on paper.

So what about cost?

Typically inkjet printers are less expensive, and consumer friendly, found at department and office supply stores starting at less than $100. Once someone buys an inkjet printer they will quickly find out how expensive ink can cost-per page. Depending on how much you’re using the unit, and what you’re using it for, (text or. images) an inkjet printer can cost anywhere from $0.05 per page, upwards to $0.75 a page.

Laser printers that print only black and white using toner cartridges will tend to be more expensive, but with more capability for output. Color laser printers are higher on the pricing scale and printer toner can be more expensive than ink, but it is crucial to remember that printer toner cartridges last longer than ink cartridges. Laser printers are also capable of printing 20 pages a minute or faster, which is 2 or 3 times faster than inkjet ink printers.

If you are printing text documents primarily, the cost effectiveness lies with laser toner printers as they can push out a high volume at a low cost. If you need color rich graphic design elements or photographs on glossy paper, an inkjet printer could be a good investment.

Give Us A Call!

If you or your company have any questions regarding ink or printer toner in Buffalo, Rochester, or Syracuse, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team at BXI Consultants takes pride in providing guidance and support for anyone in need of printing help. We can not only answer your questions, but guide you in the best direction possible for your company’s needs.