Ink or Toner, Which One is Better?

For the past few decades, toner-based copiers have dominated the market for business-class devices. Why is that? For starters, dry ink devices have been around a lot longer, and the technology is more mature. But recent technological developments have leveled the playing field somewhat. Let’s take a few moments to review the pros and cons of each printing technology.

Cheap Inkjet Printers Used to Rule

Most people are familiar with the inexpensive home inkjet printers that became popular in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Some of the manufacturers were HP, Canon, and Epson. The cheapest of these printers could be had for under $100. But there were a few issues with these devices. First of all, the liquid ink tended to soak into regular plain copier and printer paper, which made for blurry, wrinkly prints. The ink also tended to be very expensive relative to the cost of the device.

Laser printers tended to be more expensive for the device, but somewhat less expensive for the toner and toner cartridges. The output from laser printers also tended to look better on plain paper than inkjet. Laser printers were also much faster, and the output came out 100% dry compared to inkjet.

New Technology Improves Inkjet Output

Today, the differences are not as clear cut, especially when discussing toner-based copiers/MFP’s versus ink-jet based copiers/MFP’s. For example, HP now has the PageWide inkjet technology built into a line of copiers/MFP’s. The quality of this new technology is much closer to a color laser print quality, although still not quite as good. The output comes out of the device mostly dry, which is also a big improvement.

Lower Your Consumable and Service Costs

But the biggest advantages of the new PageWide technology are reliability and cost per copy. There are no moving parts in the imaging area of the device. The paper simply moves under the print head, and precisely metered drops of liquid ink move from the head to the paper by gravity. This is clearly not a good technology for use on the space station, but that’s probably not very important for most users. As a result, the cost of consumables and service can be much lower than a laser imaged device. This yields a lower cost per print and overall lower printer cost of operation.

So if near offset print quality is not a requirement, an HP PageWide device could be just what you need for most business printing and copying applications. In fact, full color print costs for the PageWide technology approach the cost of black and white (monochrome) output from many laser-imaged devices.

If you need very high quality output and cost is less of an issue, look at a color laser copier/MFP. But if you don’t need high quality color output (most business applications do not need near-offset quality output), consider a new inkjet device like the HP PageWide family of printers, copiers, and wide format output devices. The cost and reliability of these units makes them a very attractive alternative to toner-based machines.

So if you have questions or want to learn more about toner versus inkjet benefits, click here to schedule a call or virtual meeting with one of our office technology experts.


May 10th 2021