The type of printer you buy determines the type of cartridges you will need to get. In the modern contemporary world, there are two classes of printers. The Inkjet Printer and the LaserJet printer. Both of these sets of printers objective is to get permanent markings on a sheet of paper, but they do this differently.
The Inkjet printer squirts liquid ink stored in an Ink cartridge onto a sheet of paper via ink nozzles within the print head. This is a simplistic explanation. The key thing to know that the ink in the ink cartridge is stored in liquid form. There are two types of ink; dye-based inks that are not waterproof and not as long lasting as pigmented based inks and can easily smudge. And pigmented based inks that produce a crisper finish than the dye-based inks and after printing can last several hundred years.
Laser Printers, on the other hand, deposit powder ink particles stored in toner cartridge onto a sheet of paper that has been charged via a drum. The obvious difference between a toner cartridge and ink cartridge is the toner cartridge stores ink in powder form. Which is less messy than liquid ink.
Inkjet cartridges typically come in black and tri-color cartridges. There are some models of inkjet printers that are designed to take the black cartridge and three other colors (cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges). As with other cartridges, the key is to understand the page yield of each of the cartridges and cost per page. Armed with this information you will be able to estimate the cost of supplies for printing.
Toner cartridges can come fused with the drum unit as one unit or can be a separate unit from the drum. Toner cartridges that are fused with the drum are more expensive. But they are preferred by users who value reliability as replacing the toner ensures that the drum is also replaced as well which ensures that failure of the drum at a critical time is avoided.
These are some of the differences between an ink cartridge and a toner cartridge, but how does this affect your choice of printers? Most printer selection revolves around cost and printing needs. Inkjet printers and their accompanying ink toners are optimized for printing colored images. But they have a higher cost per page compared to LaserJet printers. If your printing needs are infrequent and will involve colored images, the inkjet printer might be the better alternative. LaserJet printers and their accompanying toner cartridges are optimized for printing black and white texts at high speeds. The cost for a LaserJet printer is always almost higher than a comparable inkjet printer. Although the cost per page for a LaserJet toner cartridge is significantly lower than its inkjet counterparts. A LaserJet printer is the recommended option for small offices that want to print mostly black and white images at high speeds.