Ink and toner cartridges are both used for household and business printing, but they are applied to paper in distinct ways. When purchasing consumables, it is critical to understand which cartridges are compatible with your machine.

What are toner cartridges?

Laser printers require toner cartridges. They are cylinder canisters containing toner, which is a fine powder made of polyester, a type of plastic. The laser in a laser printer, such as the Lexmark CS820de, generates an electrostatic image template on an electrically charged spinning metal drum.

At this point, the cartridge sprays toner onto the drum, but only where the laser affects the electrical charge of the drum.

What are ink cartridges?

Inkjet printers require ink cartridges. Inside the ink cartridges, ink – a liquid stained with various coloured dyes – is sealed in an airtight foil chamber. During printing, tiny droplets of ink are squirted via tiny nozzles in the print head of an inkjet printer and deposited onto the page.

What is the difference between ink and toner?

Toner cartridges are more expensive to buy at first, but they are more cost-effective in the long run because they last longer than ink cartridges. Ink cartridges are compact and simple to replace, making them easier to replenish; nevertheless, they are prone to clogging, so if your inkjet printer has an in-built print head cleaning, you may need to replace the ink more frequently. Ink cartridges are also prone to drying out.

A laser printer may cost more up front, but it will save you money in the long term compared to an inkjet printer, where you may need to change the inkjet cartridges more regularly.

Businesses that prioritise speed choose laser printers, which use toner cartridges, because of the precision available with a laser vs an ink spray. A laser wins the majority of races when it comes to saving time.

For standard font sizes, the print quality of laser and ink is comparable. Lasers, on the other hand, are usually preferable to inkjets for typefaces smaller than 12pt.

However, images are usually crisper with toner since the cost of putting ink in small pixels cannot compete with the precision of the laser. Ink is also more prone to smudging.

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