Ink vs. Toner, Which is best

As a business owner, replacement printer cartridges are possibly one of the most confusing types of office supplies that you’ll need to purchase on a regular basis. This is simply due to the sheer number of different types of printer cartridges available for an array of manufacturers and printer types. However, it’s important to understand what the differences are between them so that you can make an educated decision on which is best for you. As such, here we discuss which type of printer cartridge is best for your business out of the two most common types; ink and toner.

Ink Cartridges

Specifically used with inkjet printers, ink cartridges contain either black or colour liquid ink that’s sprayed onto certain areas of the page by a series of powerful ink jets. With a complex mixture of pigments and dyes, ink cartridges and inkjet printers offer greater page retention and a more accurate colour when applied.

Toner Cartridges

Differing in makeup to ink cartridges, toners are composed of a complex powder containing tiny plastic particles that are electronically charged and heated. They are then applied to the page via a rotating drum that’s located within a laser printer. In doing so, laser printers offer faster and more efficient printing, which makes it perfect for larger jobs.

Ink vs. Toner

In order to fully determine which is best for your business, there are a number of considerations that you should make first, where this should depend on your overall use of the printer day-to-day, your allocated budget, how quickly you need jobs completing, and the quality of the print you’re looking for.


Generally speaking, ink cartridges are significantly cheaper than toners which makes it a more suitable option for those that don’t necessarily need to print a large amount of documents per day. However, toner cartridges used in laser printers often have a greater output so for those that print documents often and in large quantities, this could be a more cost-effective option in the long term.

Despite this, there are several leading printer manufacturers that offer high performance inkjet printers with a performance level that’s similar to laser printers. So, this decision should ultimately rely on your usage requirements and your budget.


If overall performance and printing speed is your most important requirement, then a laser printer with toner cartridges is most likely to be the better option as you can generally expect to print more sheets in a shorter space of time. However, again, with some of the high-end inkjet printers offering greater print speed when compared to cheaper versions, so the difference between the two isn’t vast.


Whilst laser printers offer improved speed and performance when compared to inkjet printers, it’s often accepted that the latter of the two provides a better image quality. This is simply because inkjets use liquid, which makes them far better at providing a more accurate blend of colour and is preferred when printing full-colour images. However, if you print more black documents and quality isn’t the most pressing requirement, then the speed and performance of a laser machine could be more beneficial to you.


In short, the determination of whether ink or toner cartridges are best for your business stems from how much you regularly use your printer. If low cost and higher quality printing are your primary requirements, then an inkjet printer with ink cartridges is probably the better option for you. However, if you generally print a large number of documents each week where both improved speed and performance are what you’re looking for, then a laser printer with toner cartridges is likely the best choice.