Printer inks, toner and cartridges: a helpful guide

Buying ink and toner can be a confusing process especially with so many different models and brands available so where do you start?

Most of us have ventured into a shop with the intention of buying printer ink or ink cartridges only to look up at the displays blankly because we didn’t come prepared.

There are different coloured boxes with different number ranges that can all seem a little confusing if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

You may already have a printer or be thinking about upgrading or buying a different type so it’s good to know the differences between printer ink cartridges and toner cartridges as that may affect your purchase.

If you buy the wrong type or size or model for a particular printer it most likely won’t work. It could also damage the device which causes even more problems.

What is the difference between ink and toner?

While some people think they are the same, there is a major difference between printer ink and toner. Ink cartridges hold liquid used in inkjet printers, toner cartridges hold a powder made from finely ground polyester. Inkjet printers tend to be smaller and more for home use while laser printers are much larger and suit offices because they print much faster and have a larger paper capacity. 

Know your device

Aside from needing to know what type of printer you have, you’ll also need to know what brand and model it is. Even some Canon or Brother printers that look similar can take different size printer inks. The easiest way to purchase replacement ink is to take the product number or the ink or toner cartridge or box to the shop to be replaced so an expert can help you out. Or even a sneaky pic on your phone makes it easy!

When should you replace ink and toner?

Most modern devices will tell you with warning lights or other systems so trust in the machine. It is important to only change the consumable when the machine asks for it, as the machine tracks the number of pages printed, which then refers onto maintenance work.

Beware of cheap imitations

Printer ink cartridges and toner is a very competitive market and like most things you get what you pay for. There are a lot of cheap and low quality brand imitations online that you need to be wary of when shopping for ink and toner. The most trusted brands will offer the best quality print so it’s important not to get ripped off buying a cheap imitation that will likely be less effective and could even damage your device.

So before you worry too much about what printer ink or toner you need, speak to an expert at Mercury Business Equipment on (07) 4658 3544. We are experts in office, computer and printing supplies.