Printer Toner vs Ink

Beth Huston Profile image

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Updated February 6, 2023

The best printers on the market can be alluring. However, you should know a few things before you take the leap and invest in a new model. One of the first things you should do is compare a printer’s toner vs. ink. There are a few differences between inkjet printers and those that use toner cartridges. The biggest is how they get images and text onto paper. Inkjet printers spray droplets of ink, while those that use toner cartridges have a laser built into them.


  • The first point of comparison between inkjet printers and laser printers is the upfront cost. In this area, inkjet printers are the way to go.
  • Next, we compared them in terms of print quality for photos. When it comes to this, toner powder produces the best results possible.
  • Finally, we compared them with large volumes of documents in mind. You’ll find that laser printers come out on top in this comparison.

Regardless of your printer type, it’s important to know how to perform regular maintenance. For example, you might need to learn how to clean printer nozzles.

Insider Tip

If you’re on a budget, inkjet printers are generally less expensive than laserjet.

Upfront Cost

Most folks will agree that cost is a huge deciding factor in their purchases. Because of this, we want you to know the difference between these two printer styles. If you’re looking for a lower cost, you’ll want to stick with printers that use ink cartridges. You may also want to compare a solid ink vs. a laser printer.

Photo Printing

If you’re an avid user of photo paper, you want to ensure that you use high-quality photo printers. Most of these will be printers that use toner. This is partly because a high-precision laser is used to get high-quality results. Another interesting comparison can be made between a printer drum vs. toner.


When selecting a printer, remember that toner is considerably more expensive than regular ink, so your printing costs will be more with a laser.

Volume Printing

You’ll always want to go with a laser printer when it comes to high print volumes. That is one that uses toner. These printers allow for a faster workflow because they can print quickly. Unfortunately, printers that rely on ink tend to be slower. You might also want to look into a white toner printer.

STAT: The unit electricity consumption of inkjet printers was 10 kWh/yr in 2010. (source)


Are color laser printers worth the investment?

If you’re looking for fast print speeds and high-quality imagery, then absolutely. However, these models tend to be an investment, so be prepared for that.

How do I find compatible cartridges for my printer?

Finding compatible cartridges can feel like a nightmare. However, there’s an easy solution. Printer manufacturers will often sell their own line of cartridges made just for your printer model.

How can I achieve faster print speeds?

If you’re looking for faster printing, the best thing to do is invest in a better model with fast print speeds as a touted feature. Other than that, you can’t hope for much improvement.

What types of printers are available?

There are all sorts of printers available, including color laser printers, monochrome laser printers, and multifunctional printers.
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