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Toner Vs. Ink - Which is Best?

Toner Vs. Ink - Which is Best?

Posted By: John Published: 30/12/2015 Times Read: 184 Comments: 0

It’s a debate long-contested: which is better, ink or toner? No matter which side of the great printer divide you sit on, there are pros and cons for both inkjet and laser printers — making it difficult to make a finite decision on which is really better than the other.

However, not ones to rest on our laurels; we’re here to pit ink against toner once more to determine which is the greatest print cartridge of them all.

Print Quality

Given that print quality is one of the main considerations for those looking to buy a new printer, it’s important to know which type of cartridge and printing method produces the best results for a specific print project.

Generally, toner cartridges are better suited to producing black text documents at a high-speed. Until fairly recently, laser printers were unable to produce prints in full colour, and they still lack the vibrancy, detail and nuances in tone afforded by inkjets.

If you want to print a mixture of black text documents and full colour images, an inkjet printer could prove a better all-rounder. Because inkjets use liquid ink in the print process, they can blend colours more accurately to produce more true to life results.

Result: Ink 1 - Toner 0


For those conscious of how much printer ink and toner costs, output ought to be your first point of consideration when purchasing a new laser or inkjet printer. Output is determined by the average page yield a particular cartridge can produce, and this can greatly affect the amount of times you need to purchase replacement print cartridges.

On average, individual black and colour toner cartridges are capable of producing anywhere from 500 to 2,500 printed pages before they run empty. This is compared to ink cartridges, which are only capable of printing an average of 250 to 1,000 sheets before a replacement is necessitated.

Result: Ink 1 - Toner 1

Environmental Impact

Each year, over 10 million print cartridges are sent to landfill rather than a certified recycling plant. On average each of these cartridges takes around 450 years to decompose, but this is only after its hazardous materials have caused untold destruction to the natural environment.

Of the two main types of print cartridges available, toner is considered the most environmentally friendly. Why? The substance is slightly less toxic than ink, and tends not to contaminate as wide an area when it decomposes. It can also be recycled much more easily than ink, with the average recycled toner cartridge able to be remanufactured 3 to 4 times.

Result: Ink 1 - Toner 2


When buying a new printer many consumers base their decision on the initial purchase price of the machine rather than considering its on-going costs. If you want to spend as little as possible on printing, it’s vital you check the cost of replacement cartridges before committing to a specific printer model.

When considering which type of printer will work out as the most cost effective for you, it really comes down to your intended usage. If you’ll only use the printer on the odd occasion, the cheap price but low overall output of ink cartridges could seal the deal. If however you print a massive amount of documents, a pricier toner cartridge, which offers a higher output, could be the best decision.

Results: This one’s a draw


So, which is best — toner or ink? When it comes down to it, it’s really too difficult to judge. On one hand, ink offers great all-round performance and print quality, but suffers in terms of output. And on the other, toner offers fantastic output and reliability, but suffers in terms of overall print quality.

The lesson? If you regularly print full colour images, an inkjet printer is the machine we’d choose. If however you predominantly print black text documents, a laser printer is the one to go for.


Whichever printer you opt for, you could save a fortune in on-going printer costs by making the switch to compatible cartridges. To find out more, visit the Printhead website. 


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