Have you ever wondered what the difference is between ink and toner? Is toner something every printer needs? And what’s the big deal about those laser printers? Are they really so much better than inkjet printers?
You’ve got questions and we’ve got answers!
Ink vs Toner
Ink and toner do the same things: they are both responsible for transferring pigment onto paper during the printing process. But the similarities end there. Ink and toner are used in different machines and are composed of vastly different substances.
In a nutshell, ink is a liquid substance that is used in inkjet printers. This is most likely the kind of printer you have for your basic home office setup. Toner, on the other hand, is a solid—a powder, to be precise—and is used in laser printers. Laser printers are more likely to be used by businesses or in other professional settings due to their increased quality and performance, but we’ll discuss them more in a minute.
Since ink and inkjet printers go hand-in-hand, as do toner and laser printers, we’ll next look at the pros and cons of each setup.
Drying Time: Toner Wins!
Ink is often petroleum-based, although you can find some more eco-friendly vegetable oil-based inks as well. Inks that dry quickly are ideal, as you know if you’ve ever carelessly handled a hot-off-the-presses printout and left horrible smudges across the paper.
Toner, on the other hand, doesn’t need any time to dry. The laser printer literally melts the fine powder onto the paper. Sounds crazy, but it works like a charm! On a related note, toner is more water resistant than ink, so if you accidentally get a page a bit wet, it usually won’t make the text incomprehensible.
Refill Hassle and Cost: Ink Wins!
If you want to simply buy a brand-new cartridge each time your printer runs out of ink or toner, you’ll be parting with a lot more of your hard-earned cash when you buy toner rather than ink. However, as laser printers tend to be used in professional environments rather than for basic home use, it might not be your money being spent, but the company’s. But generally, ink is much cheaper.