How does a toner cartridge work?
It makes a laser beam scan back and forth across a drum inside the printer, building up a pattern of static electricity. The static electricity attracts onto the page a kind of powdered ink called toner. Finally, as in a photocopier, a fuser unit bonds the toner to the paper.
A toner cartridge, also called laser toner, is the consumable component of a laser printer. Toner cartridges contain toner powder, a fine, dry mixture of plastic particles, carbon, and black or other coloring agents that make the actual image on the paper.
- An HP laser printer that retails for $400 and uses a $115 laser toner will yield around 8,000 pages. If you print 40,000 pages the cost will be approximately $400, plus $460 for the ink toner. That's a total cost of $860. A similar Brother laserjet printer costs around $930 for the same number of pages.
- The toner is transferred onto a piece of paper and fused to the paper with heat and pressure. The toner or ink in a laser printer is dry. In an inkjet, it is wet. Over time, an inkjet printer is about ten times more expensive to operate than a laser printer because ink needs replenishing more frequently.
- Inkjet printers have a low start-up cost. Printers are less expensive than laser printers and inkjet ink cartridges are cheaper than toner cartridges. Inkjets can print onto many types of paper, including glossy photo paper, textured stationery and even some fabrics. Almost no warm-up time is needed before printing.
Most importantly, toner cartridges are meant for laser printers, and not surprisingly, ink cartridges are designed for inkjet printers. Ink is a liquid form of pigmentation, while toner is a fine powder. Each plays a very different role in the printing process.
- They both get your digital files onto paper, but the actual mechanics of printing with toner versus ink are vastly different. Ink is used in inkjet printers. It's a liquid tinted with pigments or dyes. Toner, on the other hand, is a fine powder that's used in laser printers.
- Most printers we looked at of both types post a printing rate of between 15 and 30 pages per minute, but inkjet printers go much slower than their quoted rate when printing color items. If you need to print colored documents quickly, but can't justify an expensive laser, a lower-end laser may work for you.
- Waste toner bottles will look something like this one from Canon. Though a waste toner bottle is not needed in every printer, it serves an important purpose for many laser machines. The toner is pulled from the cartridge and adheres to a roller, known as an imaging drum.
Updated: 20th September 2018