When it comes to printing, the terminology can be confusing. What exactly is the difference between toner and ink? Are they interchangeable? Is there a difference between laser and inkjet printers? Remanufactured-what!? Considering the cost of printing, your best strategy is understanding exactly what each term means and where you can save money without sacrifices quality. The following is a quick glossary to help you navigate your company’s next printing purchase.
Toner: A carbon-polymer powder mix used in laser printers and copy machines to form the text and images on a print out. A fuser melts the toner and binds it to the paper.
Printer Ink cartridge: Also known as an inkjet cartridge, the printer ink cartridge is a replaceable ink component of an inkjet printer. The printer uses hear to transfer the ink from the cartridge to the page.
OEM Cartridge: Stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer cartridge. These name brand cartridges are produced by the printer manufacturing companies, such as Canon, Hewlett Packard or Lexmark. You pay a brand premium for OEM cartridges.
Compatible cartridge: Compatible cartridges are non-recycled, generic versions of OEM cartridges. They are a portion of the cost of the OEM cartridges and are typically of very high quality.
Remanufactured cartridge: A recycled printer cartridge. If the manufacturer adheres to the Quality Assurance system known as ISO-9000, these cartridges are of equal quality to OEM cartridges. They can even be used for graphic design. Remanufactured cartridges will save you between 50 and 75% on ink costs, with even greater savings when you buy discount cartridges in bulk.
Laser printer: An “electrostatic” printer that uses laser beam to transfer toner to paper thus creating the text and images.
Inkjet printer: A computer printer that reproduces a digital image by propelling variably-sized droplets of liquid via heat (which makes the liquid bubble and splatter) onto a page.
Printhead: Used to deliver the ink to the page that you are printing, the printhead is vitally important to your print quality (never touch a printhead!) and can wear out over time.
Nozzles: Many nozzles or “jets” are located on the printhead. These nozzels heat and cool the ink inside the cartridge so that ink can be moved onto the paper.
About the Author: Andrew Yeung is president of CompAndSave, a leading online provider of premium printer ink cartridges, including remanufactured and compatible printer ink cartridges. With deals every month and a 1-year guarantee of quality, CompandSave provides an easy way for people and businesses to purchase printer ink and accessories.
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