What Is A Toner In A Printer?

1800 Office SOlutions Team member - Elie Vigile
1800 Team

A lot of us use a printer for personal or even professional use. So it’s a good idea to know a thing or two about what type of printer it is and what it’s capable of doing. You’ll often hear phrases like “toner”. So what is a toner in a printer? We’ll answer that question in this article and talk about why it’s important to have a toner.

toner in a printer

What is the difference between ink and toner?

First off, toner should not be confused with ink. So what sets them apart from each other? For one, ink can be used in inkjet printers. Meanwhile, toner is a fine powder that is used in laser printers that not only use regular ink but can also print colored photos as well. Both can be used for personal and business purposes. Whether it’s pictures or pages of text, ink and toner can work well together.

One other difference is how it can be applied to paper. With inkjet printers, they have the ability to squirt droplets of ink that is dispensed from a nozzle. There are two kinds of inkjet ink: dye-based and pigment-based. Dye-based ink will use colorants that can be dissolved in liquid. Pigmented-based inks use a liquid-suspended fine powder.

Toners are made from organic compounds and polymers. Since they are found in laser printers, the laser itself will create an electrostatic template. The polymer powder will contain a positive charge that will latch on to the negative charge of the template itself. The paper will pass over the metal drum that disperses the toner (which also produces the static charge).

Laser printers will often print in black and white. But the more expensive versions will have the ability to print in color as well using ink and toner. In fact, toner will produce more ink compared to inkjet ink itself.

Ink vs Toner: Pros and Cons

When it comes to comparing the two, ink and toner have their similarities. But each of them will have their downsides. Let’s cover the pros and cons of ink first:

Pros of Ink

  •  A great option for those on a budget
  • Cleaner and will less likely smudge
  • Can easily be replaced and won’t cost a ridiculous amount of money.

Cons of Ink

  • Inkjet printers will take longer to perform tasks compared to laser printers
  • May produce fewer prints compared to printers with toners

Pros of Toner in a printer

  • Very fast at performing tasks compared to inkjet printers
  • Perfect for large scale projects like at the office
  • Produces images that are clearer and better in quality
  • Produces more ink compared to inkjet cartridges

Cons of Toner

  •  Laser printers are more expensive compared to inkjets
  • Replacing toner and cartridges will be more expensive compared to inkjets
  • Toner itself is actually quite pricey

Proper Care and Storage Tips For Ink And Toner

If you have extra cartridges of ink and toner, you’ll need to consider these tips in order to take the best care of them so you can use them when it comes time to switch out the old and replace them with the new. Let’s take a look first at the tips for caring and storing ink cartridges:

Ink Cartridges:

  • Don’t run the ink cartridges to a point where they will be completely tapped out of ink. If you allow this to happen, it can also cause the printer to sustain some damage.
  • Print a few test pages with new cartridges after installing them. That way, you get a good idea of whether or not they can function properly.
  • Do not store ink cartridges in the heat or sunlight. They’ll need to be stored in a cool, dry place. If they are stored in extreme heat, the cartridges may be useless.
  • If you are running low on ink, please change the cartridges as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to switch them out.
  • Store color ink cartridges upright. Leaving them on their side will cause the colors to “co-mingle” and therefore make the cartridge useless.
  • Cartridges of ink will need to be used from a year or two after purchase.


  • Store toner cartridges at room temperature. If they are sitting in the direct sunlight or extreme heat, they will become useless after lengthy exposure.
  • Do not open up the toner cartridge. If you get toner on your hands, wash them with soap and water immediately.
  • Keep empty toner cartridges in a plastic bag.
  • Use toner cartridges within one year of purchase.


Toner is a must-have for every laser printer. Whether you use it for professional or personal purposes, it will produce higher-quality prints compared to inkjet printers. If you are looking to purchase a laser printer, don’t forget to purchase as much toner as your budget allows it.

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