Choosing the right ink cartridge for your home or office printer involves more than picking up a cartridge with the right model number. Depending on how you use your printer, you might have better results and save money by opting for something different. Understanding the differences between cartridges and ink types can even determine what kind of printer is best for your needs. Before you go shopping, refer to this guide to ink cartridges so you know exactly what you’re buying.
Ink vs. Toner
The terms ink and toner are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different substances altogether. Ink cartridges are used in inkjet printers, which have nozzles that spray tiny drops of liquid ink onto the surface being printed.
The color comes from either dye or pigment. Dye ink tends to be bright and render crisp images, but it fades over time. Pigment ink is typically used for archival quality projects, as it lasts longer. It’s not typically as bright, and doesn’t have the same range of color options as dye ink.
Toner cartridges, on the other hand, are used in laser printers. This substance is a pigmented, dry powder that is bonded to the page using plastic particles melted by the heat of the laser. Laser printing is faster than inkjet, and produces crisp images. However, it’s also more expensive, especially for color printing, so inkjet is more common, especially in home printers.
Types of Inkjet Cartridges
When shopping for ink cartridges for an inkjet printer, you need to know the type of cartridge that works with your specific model. The wrong one won’t fit properly, if at all, and can damage your printer.
While manufacturers recommend using OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or brand name cartridges, you have other options, including:
- Compatible: These are new ink cartridges made by a third-party. They’re compatible with your printer and they typically cost less, and may offer a high print yield.
- Remanufactured: These are less expensive options that have been rebuilt to like-new condition. They are equivalent to OEM, but because they’re made from old cartridges, they are more environmentally friendly.
- Refilled: These are cartridges that have been refilled with ink. They are different from remanufactured varieties in that they haven’t been rebuild or repaired. These tend to be the least expensive option.
If you’re looking for affordable ink cartridges for your home or office printer, turn to Alpha Laser Richmond in Staten Island, NY. Since 1993 they have offered affordable ink cartridges and printer supplies, as well as serving as a trusted source for printer, copier, and laptop repairs in New York City. To learn more about their services, call (718) 317-1263 or visit their website.