Ink vs. Toner…Which is right for your office?

In your search for the perfect printing device for your office, you’re bound to find yourself faced with the dilemma “Ink or toner? What’s the difference?”


We want to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into when you buy your printer, copier or MFP, so here’s what you need to know when it comes to printing materials:


Let’s compare


1. Printer


TONER –Toner is used in laser printers which etch your printed image on the paper.


INK –Ink is used in ink jet printers which disperse ink onto paper in a fine mist to create your image.


2. Speed and longevity


TONER- Toner (and laser printers in general) are the faster option when it comes to printing. Because of the precision of the laser etching, it out performs ink. Laser printers also have a high page output, in part because of their speed but also combined with general functionality.


INK- Because of the method of spraying ink across paper to create the image, ink printers are the slower of the two. It also yields smaller print batches because of the smaller ink cartridges and printing method.


3. Print quality


TONER- Precision comes to the rescue again when it comes to quality. Images are clearer and more defined when printed with toner because of the laser etching print method. However, prints are more prone to smudges and less resiliant, so use caution when picking your page up from the print tray


INK – Print method is directly related to print quality, and spraying ink just doesn’t give the sharpness laser etching does. The pro here though, is that ink dries almost instantly and is less prone to smears and smudges with an overall more resilient print job.


4. Refills

TONER – Toner cartridges are larger and more expensive than ink refills, however they last longer than small ink cartridges. They can be messy because toner is made of powder, so be careful if installing yourself.


INK – Ink cartridges are significantly smaller and less expensive than toner cartridges and are easier to replace or refill yourself. However, because of their size, they require more frequent replacement.


5. Maintenance

TONER – Because laser printers tend to be more large-scale than ink jets, problems may need service calls. But because they are not prone to drying or clogging, your problems are fewer and farther between with proper care.


INK – Ink cartridges can be prone to drying or clogging if used infrequently. To solve this problem, ink-based printers tend to have print head cleaners built in.


6. Cost


TONER- Laser printers and toner cartridges are bigger and more expensive than ink-based printers, however the higher print yields and longevity counteracts the initial investment.


INK – Ink printers and their ink cartridges are generally less expensive than laser printers and toner. The initial investment is often offset by the higher frequency in replacing ink cartridges and lower print yields.

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