Printer cartridge: what is the difference between ink and toner?
Simply put, ink cartridges contain liquid and are used by inkjet printers, while toner cartridges control powder and are used by laser printers.
The ink inside a printer can be dye-based or pigment-based, depending on the cartridge you purchased. Most inkjet printers on the market include dye-based inks. They are cheaper than pigment ink cartridges and are valued for producing vibrant, realistic color prints and photos. Dye-based inks are not waterproof and can be prone to smudging, with many prints tending to fade after 25 years.
On the other hand, Pigment-based ink offers a sharper finish and faster drying time than dye-based ink. It is valued by professional photographers and graphic designers for its ability to print archival-quality images and text. Pigment ink also tends to resist water and UV light better than dye-based ink and can resist fading for up to 200 years. Of course, this is a much more expensive type of printer cartridge.
On the other hand, toner is a dry powdery substance that doesn’t stain like printer ink cartridges but can become dirty if mishandled. Monochrome laser printers print with only one black toner cartridge. Color laser printers use four separate black, cyan, magenta, and yellow toner cartridges to produce a print. A drum unit can be incorporated into the toner cartridge or sold separately as a single unit, depending on the printer’s consumption requirements. Printer toner cartridges with a built-in drum unit are generally more expensive than a single toner cartridge. Still, most consumers find them more convenient because they don’t have to worry about replacing the drum. Every time you purchase a new toner, you’re essentially substituting the drum. Generally, you can replace separate drum units after using 3-4 toners.