When your printer rumbles to life and ejects a warm printout, perhaps more than one question crosses your mind…

  • What is printer toner?
  • How do toner cartridges work and what’s inside?
  • What are the differences between ink and toner?
  • Which one do I need?

Don’t worry…we’ve got answers in the article below!

So, What Is Printer Toner?

Laser printers use toner cartridges while inkjet printers use ink cartridges.

What’s the difference?

Inkjet printer cartridges are filled with liquid ink. This ink is ejected through print heads onto the printed page. Ink can produce very vivid and crisp prints. High-end inkjet printers that use more than the standard four CMYK cartridges produce prints with a wider array of colors.

Laser printers don’t use ink to produce prints. They use toner.

What Is Toner Power Made Of?

“Magical dust”

Well, specially formulated dust.

Toner is essentially made of finely ground plastic. Other ingredients are added that assist in the printing process. Silica keeps the toner particles loose and free-flowing inside the cartridge.

Charge control agents, like ground iron, chromium and zinc, help maintain the charge of the particles.

The Power Of Powdered Plastic

In the early days of toner manufacturing, slabs of plastic were broken up and ground into powder. But this resulted in particles that were uneven in size and didn’t stick to the paper properly. They also tended to clump up inside the toner hopper.

Today, toner manufacturers “grow” uniform-sized toner particles, which results in better printed images and more efficient toner use.

Toner Gets (Electrostatically) Charged Up

The toner inside of cartridges is a proprietary formula specific to your brand of printer. But there’s no great secret about the basic toner ingredients — it is essentially plastic dust.

When your laser printer receives a message from the computer, a twirling agitator inside the cartridge hopper begins to spin. This gives the toner particles a positive static charge, which means they can be positioned as an image on the negatively charged drum roller.

Also, finely ground plastic melts at a very low temperature, which makes fusion with heat and a pressure roller possible.

What’s Inside My Toner Cartridge?

Manufacturers use the same basic formulas when making color toners. More on specific toner ingredients below:

Modern Color Toner Ingredients

Modern color toners contain 85 to 95 percent plastic.

This plastic is air milled into a superfine powder.

The image quality produced by your printer is determined by the size of the toner particles. Smaller particles mean a sharper printed image.

Colored toners contain a specific pigment for each individual color.

Yellow Laser Toners

Pigment yellow 180, composed of benzimidazole.

Magenta Laser Toners

Pigment red 122, composed of 2,9-dimethyl-quinacridone.

Cyan Laser Toners

Pigment blue 15:3, composed of copper phthalocyanine.

Black Laser Toners

Black toners still contain carbon black, as in early cartridge models, combined with powdered plastic. Carbon black, which is essentially soot, is produced by burning tar or creosote and is a class II carcinogen. It is carbon black which makes the car tires black.

Other Toner Dust Components

The remaining components of both black laser toner and color laser toner are fumed silica and charge control agents.

Fumed silica increases the flow capacity of solids within the laser toner cartridge and reduces the risk of particles clumping together. Fumed silica also increases the laser toner’s speed in carrying out the laser printer printing process.

Charge control agents are added to the toner to maintain the charge of the plastic powder particles which is integral to laser printing. Charge control agents can include chromium, zinc, or iron.

The Difference Between Laser and Inkjet Printers

Toner cartridges contain fine powder, in contrast to ink cartridges which contain liquid ink.

Ink cartridges are filled with printer ink. Printer ink is made of oil — linseed, soybean or a petroleum solution — mixed with colored pigments.

The difference between laser printers and inkjet printers is the method of printing.

Inkjet printers squirt ink onto paper to form an image or text.

Laser printers use an electrostatic charge to pull positively charged toner particles onto a negatively charged photostatic drum. The drum transfers the image to a piece of paper. Heated fuser units melt those particles onto the paper.

Toner Cartridge And Printer Designs

Consumers have a couple of options when it comes to buying replacement cartridges.

  • OEM cartridges
  • Compatible cartridges
  • Remanufactured cartridges

Genuine OEM Cartridges

Genuine OEM toner — commonly called brand-name toner — is made by the same company that made your laser printer. HP makes HP replacement cartridges, Brother makes Brother toner cartridges, Canon makes Canon cartridges, etc.

Compatible Cartridges

What is a compatible cartridge?

It’s a toner cartridge made by someone other than the original equipment manufacturer. When these toner cartridges are manufactured to the OEM specification, they will provide the best prints and have comparable page yields at the best price.

Remanufactured Cartridges

Remanufactured toner cartridges are empty OEM cartridges that have been cleaned, refurbished and refilled.

Laser Printers Print More, Print Faster and yes, Print Cheaper

It may not seem like it when you’re buying OEM cartridges, but toner really is a better bargain than ink. You’ll be able to print far more pages, at a much lower cost-per-page, with a toner cartridge than with an ink cartridge.

Now You Can Save with Discount Copier Supply


Know what every printer owner needs?

The lowest prices on his Laser Printer’s toner!


Simply open your browser and surf over to www.DiscountCopierSupply.com to access an endless spectrum of laser toners and inkjet cartridges.

For over a decade the printing industry has relied on Discount Copier Supply for quality products, the best deals on toner and ink…even hard-to-find pigment ink and free delivery!

  • Keep your color laser printers running smoothly!
  • Print more but spend less!
  • Find the most popular print supplies for rock-bottom prices!

We have the ink and toner for every type of printer and copier, including HP, Brother, Canon, Epson, Dell, Konica, Kyocera, Lexmark, Okidata, Panasonic, Ricoh, Samsung, Xerox, and more! Our site will help guide your purchases of inkjets or toner cartridges, a replacement drum, fuser, and maintenance kits.

DiscountCopierSupply.com shows that you will save 40% – 50% using their made in USA compatible toners and inkjet cartridges, as compared to the manufacturer’s brand toners and inkjets cartridges. These toners and inkjet cartridges all have a 1 Year product Warranty and there is free delivery in the USA.

We have most print and inkjet supplies in stock. Smart consumers shop www.DiscountCopierSupply.com to save the most on their print supplies!

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