Ink Vs Toner Cartridges | Differences Between Cost, Longevity, Print Quality

Ink and toner, both mediums are used to produce prints on paper via printers. Apart from it, they are is a difference when it comes to their manufacturing process, appearance, state, longevity to last, utilizing the different types of printers, and much more. Along with that, their produced papers also have differences in the quality. So in short, they both are completely different from each other. To know fundamental differences, read the full guide: ink vs toner cartridge.

Ink Vs Toner Cartridges

What’s The Difference Between Toner And Ink

The main difference between toner and ink cartridge is that a toner cartridge comes in a powdered form and in contrast, the ink cartridge comes in a liquid form. While the toner is in a powdered form so it is melted by a heated roller or drum via an electrostatic charge and when the paper passes through it, the print is produced.

In contrast, ink cartridges have printheads and nozzles that spray the ink droplets onto the paper in order to produce the prints.

Is Toner The Same As Ink

Is Toner The Same As Ink

No, toner and ink cartridges are not the same, however, their purpose is the same to produce prints, texts, and documents. They both are made from different chemical compositions such as the ink cartridges being composed of pigments, water, dyes, and some other chemicals. Whereas, the powdery toner cartridges are composed of plastic, iron oxide, or carbon, and lastly, oil or wax is also used but in small amounts.

Detailed Differences: Ink Cartridge Vs toner

Detailed Differences Ink Cartridge Vs toner

Toner Vs Ink Cost

The upfront cost of the toner cartridges is more than ink cartridges. The reason is toner cartridges are more efficient in the long term because they yield a great number of pages and don’t run out of toner quickly before they are replaced.

In contrast, ink cartridges have lower upfront costs than toner cartridges but they run out of ink quickly. It is said that if a standard ink cartridge prints 200 pages then a standard toner cartridge will provide 5x more pages. This dramatically reduces the cost per page in the long run.

Running out of ink quickly will result in the replacement of the cartridges frequently which costs you more than the actual price of the inkjet printers and running ink quickly leads to a high cost per page.

Both have a distinct difference between their cost per page and upfront cost in the long run. If you tend to print frequently then you should go with the inkjet printers but I cannot deny the fact that it can clog up too if not used frequently.

On the hand, if I tend to print only monochrome documents with enriched text then my choice will be toner cartridges.

Toner Vs Ink Longevity

The lifespan of a toner cartridge is more than that of an ink cartridge because they neither get dried up nor they clog. Even though it lasts longer in printing more pages so the toner cartridges won’t need to be replaced frequently comparatively than the ink cartridges.

Printing Quality

If I would have to print my own photos or my family members then there is no better choice than I’ll opt for an ink cartridge. Because an ink cartridge printer can print crisp clear and high-resolution photos that bring sophistication to the images.

But the downside is they run out of ink more frequently because they utilize more ink to produce wonderful results. Further, inkjet printing is prone to smudge and ghost if the produced prints are not dried up quickly. You can check how to get more ink out of the cartridge.

On the other hand, when it comes to printing documents for my office work and home printing tasks, then there is no any efficient option than a toner cartridge printer. Toner cartridges produce more crisp monochrome or gray-scale documents while consuming less amount of ink.

But you cannot get the desired prints with the photos using the toner cartridges but undoubtedly gray-scale images would be better. However, the produced prints by toner cartridges are not prone to smudge or fade and they are more durable than inkjet printing.

Check Best Printer Under $100.

Using Different Printers

Considering the point that both printing mediums are opposite to each other, they also require different types of printers to support them. Ink cartridges are mainly used in inkjet printers but inkjet printers also have various types. But liquid ink is utilized in inkjet printers.

While toner cartridges are utilized mainly in laser printers and in copiers too. Toner cartridges are also used in the multi-functional laser printer that is called MFP printers.

Check Best Printer Under $200.

Do Inkjet Printers Use Toner

Do Inkjet Printers Use Toner

No, inkjet printers cannot use toner cartridges because their mechanism has a significant difference in producing prints. Inkjet printers neither have any drum or fuser that melts the toner plastic powder nor the electrostatic printing technology that is used in laser printers.

Whereas inkjet printers mainly rely on the liquid ink that is pressurized to spray the tiny ink droplets onto the paper.

Which Is Better Toner Or Ink

This completely depends on what your printing needs and preferences are because ink toner and ink cartridges are used for different purposes. For ideal photo printing to get higher and dense results, an inkjet printer is the best option out there for you. While laser toner cartridges are one step ahead when it comes to printing gray-scale or monochrome documents. Here are some pros and cons for both printing inks.

To know your preferences, you can read advantages and disadvantages of laser printer.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Inkjet Printer.

Pros of Toner Cartridges
  • Print more pages out of a single cartridge
  • Last longer than ink cartridges
  • Best for black-and-white documents
  • Doesn’t clog the printhead
  • No ink bleeding
  • Produce more durable prints
  • Consumes less amount of ink
Cons of Toner Cartridges
  • The upfront cost is high
  • Not suitable for colorful photo printing
  • Health risks are high if the toner powder is inhaled

Pros of Ink Cartridges
  • Vibrant quality is ideal for photos
  • The upfront cost is significantly low
  • Suitable for color printing
  • Prints on a variety of media including, matte, glossy, vinyl, and so on
  • Low power consumption
  • Eco-friendly
  • Best for art printing
Cons of Ink Cartridges
  • Ink runs out quickly
  • Replacing the cartridges is needed frequently
  • Ink Dries up when not printed regularly
  • Consumes more amount of ink

You can check how long does a printer last.


Both printing models have their own pros and cons and they can be utilized according to the needs of an individual. Both have unique features along with downsides too. It is better to read this guide thoroughly to know the main differences between toner and cartridge. The best practice is to read the key points to know the printing needs whether you should choose the toner cartridges or liquid ink cartridges.

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