Your Ultimate Guide To Different Types Of Printer Ink

Not many people know this, but not all printers use the same type of ink. There are two types of standard printers, inkjet printers and laser printers. Even in inkjet printers, you can use different types of ink. Hence, if you are looking for the best types of printer ink, discover the pros and cons of each type and choose the one that suits your needs.

Laser Printers vs. Inkjet Printers

There are a few differences between laser printers and inkjet printers, the primary difference being that they use drastically different types of ink. Laser printers use toner cartridges, which are powdered pigments, while inkjet printers use ink cartridges. Each type of ink differs in the way it prints and the price point.

Toner Cartridges

As the name suggests, laser printers utilize lasers to beam the desired image or text onto the drum and fuse the powdered toner to the paper by heating it. One of the main perks of toner cartridges is that they are long-lasting compared to ink cartridges. As a result, you can save more money in the long term, despite the higher up-front cost. Here is everything you need to know about toner cartridges:

  • How it works: Toner cartridges are powdered pigments that fuse with the surface of the paper when heated.
  • Benefits: Laser printers are very convenient and offer an incredibly precise print job, able to print fine text and detailed images. Furthermore, toner cartridges do not dry out and do not expire like ink cartridges. Hence, if stored properly, toner cartridges can last a very long time.
  • Cost: Toner cartridges cost more up-front. However, due to their lack of expiration when stored properly, you can always bulk-buy toner cartridges when you come across a good deal. In this way, toner cartridges are much more cost-effective than ink cartridges.
  • Disadvantages: Unfortunately, laser printers and toner cartridges are not very accessible due to how expensive they can be. While they can be more cost-effective long-term, not everyone can afford the high initial cost.

Ink Cartridges

Inkjet printers are the most accessible printers, with many families and businesses utilizing them. They are incredibly efficient and offer high-quality prints. Best suited for family use or in offices with lower printing volume, inkjet printers rely on pigmented or dyed ink cartridges to function. These inks are typically made up of binders, drying agents, chelating agents, solvents, and other components.

  • How it works: Inkjet printers will release ink drops onto the surface of the paper to create the desired image or text.
  • Benefits: Inkjet printers and ink cartridges offer vibrant, high-quality prints. Colors are also vivid and blend more seamlessly than toner cartridges. If you want to print professional, high-definition images, inkjet cartridges are the way to go.
  • Cost: Ink cartridges are cheaper than toner cartridges up-front. However, you will need a higher volume of ink to print the same output when you use an inkjet printer compared to a laser printer. As such, the cost of inkjet is higher per unit than that of a laser printer.

Disadvantages: The main issue with inkjet cartridges is that they are prone to drying out over time. As such, you are on a time crunch when you use ink cartridges. If you do not finish the cartridges before they dry out, you’ll incur a financial loss.