Toner vs. Ink – What’s the Difference?

Toner and ink fulfil the same function in different types of printer. If you have an inkjet printer, you use ink cartridges, whereas laser printers take toner cartridges. Either way, you won’t be able to print with an empty cartridge!

But what exactly is the difference between ink and toner?
  • Ink is a liquid. An inkjet printer uses tiny droplets of ink to print the desired text and/or images onto the paper.
  • Toner is a powder. A laser printer prints by applying this toner to the page; the words and shapes are dictated by electrical charges, which are created by laser.

The Pros and Cons

We can’t definitively say that ink is better than toner or vice versa, but we can give you a few facts that may help you to decide which option is better for you. Inkjet printers are less expensive than laser printers, so if you’re on a budget, you may well prefer to take the ink route.

However, it’s important to bear the long-term costs in mind. It’s true that an inkjet printer is cheaper than a laser printer, and it’s also true that ink cartridges are cheaper than toner cartridges, but toner goes a lot further than ink does. A single toner cartridge will last considerably longer than an ink cartridge will, so if you’re planning to do a lot of printing, a laser printer may be the more cost-effective choice in the long run.

It’s also worth considering the print quality. Unless your inkjet model is a proper photo printer (which, as the name suggests, is specifically designed to print photographs), a laser printer is likely to give you sharper, better-looking printouts. Ink also has a terrible tendency to smudge, whereas this is not a problem with toner!

The outcome of the toner vs. ink debate will largely depend on your budget and what, exactly, you’re planning to print. Still, no matter what kind of printer you eventually opt for, remember that City Ink Express will be here when you need a refill!