Differences Between Ink and Toner

There are many differences between ink and toner, from the printing process to the type of cartridge. While ink is standard in most conventional inkjet home printers, laser printers depend on toner for their output.

    Whether you want the latest laser printer or a versatile inkjet printer, learn how their technology work by reading this article.

      The basics of inkjet printing

      Inkjet printer uses heat and physics to control ink distribution during printing.

        You’ll always find one cartridge devoted to black ink and either three individual color cartridges (cyan, magenta, and yellow) or a single tri-color cartridge.

          The tri-color cartridge blends all three inks each time it prints to achieve clarity close to using dedicated color cartridges. They can be more convenient and budget-friendly compared to buying three separate color cartridges.

          The advantages of inkjet printing

          1. Smaller physical footprint and price

          Some inkjet printers are much cheaper than their laser counterparts. Even though you may need to replace ink more often than toner, models like the HP DeskJet prove that you can find an affordable, space-saving printing solution.

          2. Superior format for color and photo printing

          Thanks to their superior ability for color blending and support for more paper types, inkjet printers are generally best for photo prints. This can be a real advantage if you share family memories, print complex images or graphics, or produce anything that needs to be as clear as possible.

          3. Better for users with varied needs

          For users with more varied needs who aren’t printing page after page of text, inkjet tends to win out. With a cheaper introductory price and better color prints, an inkjet printer is a great option for low-volume print users.

          How does toner printing work?

          Laser printers work by projecting a unique electrostatic charge against a printing drum. Usually stored in a single cartridge, printer toner is a powder-based print medium made from granulated plastics that allows for greater accuracy and control.

            Toner powder is collected and then transferred to paper by the charged printing drum. As a final step, the paper is heated to melt the toner particles and help make sure that your print sets properly.

              The drum’s electrostatic charge is imprinted by lasers, hence the term “laser printer.” While laser printing mostly involves black-and-white prints, you can find color options with the four-cartridge configuration.

              The advantages of toner printing

              1. More affordable for high-volume print users

              The most important advantages of printer toner and laser printers are the minimal waste and reduction in recurring supply costs.

                For offices or professionals who often find themselves with varied or unplanned needs, a compact HP LaserJet is a great way to tackle your business needs.

                2. Higher precision prints

                The technology and toner involved with laser printing promises greater reliability. For instance, with toner you don’t face the same risk of bleeding or smudging that you can face with ink. This means you can enjoy more consistency and better quality with bigger print projects.

                3. Better print speeds on average

                Toner printers are also generally much faster than inkjet printers, which is another reason why they’re so desirable for high-volume printers. Not only do they save you money on all your print supplies, but they also average high enough print speeds that you won’t have to worry about having to sit around while it handles big jobs.


                There is no real “winner” in a toner printer vs ink printer comparison. For those with low-volume home printing, consider the HP DeskJet or HP OfficeJet printers. If you’re going to print at a higher volume, you should explore HP LaserJet options.

                  For office suite, owning a laser printer for bulk prints and an inkjet printer for color and photos is a common arrangement. It provides a compromise that can also translate to cost and resource savings over time.

                    If you need a new device in your home or office, HP® has got you covered.

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