Skip to main content

Back to the Learning Center

By: Angela Cook on August 18, 2021

Toner vs. Ink: What’s The Difference & Which Is Right For Your Device?

Ink | Inkjet Printer | Laser Printer | Office Copiers | Office Copiers, Printers, and MFPs | Print | Printers | Toner

Understanding whether toner or ink works better for your printing device can be beneficial, especially when ordering a particular cartridge for your printing device. Ordering the wrong product can be a waste of money and can cause your supply closet to overflow with unused and unusable ink and toner cartridges.

At LDI, our team of Managed Print specialists takes the guessing game out of figuring out which cartridge is right for each printing device. Our service includes deciphering which print consumables your pre-existing printer fleet needs and set up an automatic replenishment feature that alerts us of when toner or ink levels are low so that we can order suitable cartridges for your devices.

This article will break down the difference between toner and ink, along with which cartridge your business should use. By the end of this article, you will better understand how understanding more about toner and ink can help your print environment and print budget.


What’s The Difference Between Toner & Ink? 

Although many people use “toner” and “ink” interchangeably, they are not the same thing. In short, toner cartridges contain powder and are frequently used by laser printers, whereas ink cartridges are liquid-based and used by inkjet printers.

Let’s dive in a little deeper to both.


Toner is essentially a dry powder-link substance located within a cartridge. The drum unit situated within a printer works with the toner cartridge to fuse the toner powder to paper. 

While monochrome laser printers can print with just a black toner cartridge, color laser printers use four separate black, cyan, magenta, and yellow toner cartridges to produce a print.

Laser printer cartridges may also come in a variety of choices. Some may be called high yield and extended yield. While these cartridges may cost more, more pages can be produced out of a single cartridge.

If your company does not rely on managed print services from a provider to order the right toner for your printing device, your company would essentially be responsible for buying new toner and could be buying the toner at a much higher cost. 

Additionally, most printers require a maintenance or fuser kit. While these kits can last as much as 100,000 pages to 300,000 pages, they can be very expensive. 

LDI’s Managed Print Services program includes all printer consumables at a single cost per page for mono and color prints.


Depending on the cartridge, ink can either be pigment-based or dye-based.

Pigmented ink provides a crisp finish with the ability to bring a vibrant photo or print to life. It also has a fast turn-around because it dries quickly.

Dye-based ink is not waterproof and can easily smudge. While pigmented ink can resist water and UV light much more than dye-based ink, it can also resist fading up to about 200 years, where dye-based ink can fade after only 25 years.


Which Should Your Busines Use?

Print consumables such as toner and ink cartridges can be difficult to understand. Not only are they often talked about as if they are the same thing, but they also cost a pretty penny.

It all comes down to the printing devices your business currently uses, as well as your organization’s particular printing needs.

If your company has a fleet of laser printers, you would order toner cartridges. However, if your printer fleet consisted of inkjet printers, you’d likely use inkjet cartridges.

Laser Printers

Laser printers are helpful for small to medium businesses, schools, and law firms that require printing devices with the ability to produce high-volume. If your business’s printing needs require only printing in black, a monochrome laser printer would be the best fit.

Like the inkjet devices mentioned above, multifunction laser printers also provide an all-in-one device with scan, fax, and copy functionalities.

For more tips on choosing the right multifunction printer for you, be sure to read about the Top 3 Multifunction Printers of 2021.

Inkjet Printers 

Inkjet printers are great for small businesses, families, and photographers looking for an all-in-one device that combines faxing, scanning, and copying capabilities with the ability to produce high-quality, vivid photos and prints.

While some printers require only two ink cartridges, such as a black and a tri-color, other inkjet printers use individual ink cartridges. However, most inkjet printers require a cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) cartridge.


How Can Understanding Toner & Ink Help Your Business? 

Print consumables such as toner and ink cartridges can be difficult to understand. Most companies often want a printing device that works efficiently and helps employees complete their day-to-day business operations, failing to understand what that device requires.

The price, size, and the number of pages one gets from each cartridge vary wildly from one printer model to the next. This ties with a lack of understanding of which devices belong to which can ultimately cause businesses to go over their printing budget.

LDI’s Managed Print division works with prospects and customers to relieve them of the need to order and replace toner and ink cartridges. After understanding your company’s print needs, we work with you to ensure that your print environment and consumables align with your print budget.

Learn more about how to reduce the cost of print consumables today.

Recent Articles