5 Things to Consider Before Buying Toner Cartridges

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5 Things to Consider Before Buying Toner Cartridges

It can be quite a hassle when printers run out of ink. Not only are cartridges expensive, but they are sometimes replaced so infrequently that it can be difficult to remember what types of cartridges to buy. Not all printers run on ink these days. Laser printing now allows printers to use toner, a dry, plastic powder that is applied to paper by heat, instead of ink to recreate text and images. There are a few things to consider before buying toner cartridges. For instance, there are different types of toner cartridges, different colours, and different yield levels that one can purchase. Cartridges are usually specific to different printer models. Refill kits for toner cartridges are available, but they are complicated to use and should be used by professionals only.

All these factors and more should be taken into consideration before buying toner cartridges. Cartridges can be purchased in brick and mortar stores as well as online using websites like eBay. After learning about the different things to consider, shoppers can be more confident buying toner cartridges.

What Is Toner?

As an alternative to ink-based printing technology, toner is a dry, plastic powder that is applied to the page with lasers and pressure. Toner does not bleed if the page gets wet since it is plastic powder and not liquid. Besides laser printers, toner is also used in laser fax machines and digital copy machines. Toner is not compatible with inkjet machines and should not be purchased for ink-based printers. When paired with high-quality paper, toner can create beautiful images and text on pages without fear of bleeding. There are several types of toner that shoppers can buy, depending on the job the toner is intended to do. For instance, there is a magnetised toner available for purchase that is used on official bank notes, checks, and many other legal documents.

5 Important Considerations When Buying Toner Cartridges

Before deciding which toner cartridges to spend money on, shoppers should consider these five facts. Toner differs in several ways, from compatibility with printers and other machines to colours and page yields and even toner materials. There are environmentally-friendly options, as well, that allow companies to stay green in their purchasing and use by recycling the non-biodegradable plastic in the cartridges. Toner cartridges can be expensive, so learning everything possible about the products allows shoppers to save time, money, and hassle when buying toner cartridges.

1. Not All Printers Use the Same Toner

When shopping for toner cartridges, it is important to check the manufacturer's part number on the printer or on the old cartridge. Different companies use different types of toner cartridges for their products, so checking the part number ensures that only the correct type of toner is purchased. Another way to shop for toner cartridges is to bring the cartridge when shopping to check for compatibility with one's printer model. The same rule applies to buying toner for a fax machine or a copy machine.

2. Toners Come in Different Colours

When one colour toner cartridge runs out, it may be wise for shoppers to buy new toner cartridges for the other colours, as well. There are two types of toner colours: monochrome (black) and colour. Colour toner has four colour variations, indicated by the acronym CMYK. Black (K) is the most commonly used colour of the toners. Cyan (C) is the blue toner, magenta (M) is the pink or red toner, and yellow (Y) is the last colour and the least used of the four toner colours. Since monochrome cartridges are used more frequently than colour cartridges, it is likely that they run out more frequently, as well. Buying multiple monochrome cartridges makes replacing the toner an easier task around the office. It is also recommended to buy a full set of toner cartridges in order to avoid having to go out and buy another toner cartridge shortly after purchasing a replacement for monochrome or one of the other colours.

3. Toners Vary in Type

There are three types of toners: OEM toner, compatible toner, and MICR toner. Not all printers use these three toners, as they each serve specific purposes. For instance, the OEM toner, which stands for original equipment manufacturer, is also known as genuine or original toner. This type of cartridge is manufactured by the same company that made the printer or fax machine that uses the toner. Compatible toner, on the other hand, is also known as generic, refurbished, or remanufactured toner and is used to describe toners that are not manufactured by the original equipment manufacturer. Compatible cartridges are non-brand toners that can be used with one's printer, and sometimes these cartridges are environmentally-friendly, as well, since they are partially recycled. Both OEM and compatible toners perform equally well.

The last type of toner is MICR toner, which is short for magnetic ink character recognition. This specialised toner is magnetised by a reader machine and is used for printing special documents, such as the routing numbers on checks. This extra precaution of magnetised printing is used by banks to authenticate the legitimacy of a document. Whatever the need, there is a toner for every occasion, whether it is to create bank documents or care for the environment.

4. Toners Vary in Page Yield

Besides colour and manufacturing, toners also vary in page yield or approximated printing capacity. Page yield is determined by how many pages a toner cartridge can print at five percent text on each page. Naturally, pages with more than five per cent text cause a toner's page yield to decrease. It is always best to invest money in the toner cartridge that has a longer life and higher page yield, as it saves money in the long run. Toners with lower page yields may seem cheaper at the time, but they actually cost shoppers more over time since they need to be replaced more frequently.

5. Refill Kits Are Messy

Refill kits for toner cartridges are available for purchase, and they do save money by reusing the old cartridges and are an environmentally-friendly option. However, since toner is a loose powder, refill kits can be quite messy and are much more complicated to use than simply refilling the cartridges. There is a precise process that has to be followed when using a refill kit, so this option is only recommended for technicians who know how to properly use the kits.

These five factors to consider allow shoppers to make the best, educated choice when purchasing toner cartridges. Initially, one might not think that there are so many variations among toner cartridges, but there is a lot more to know about the printing powder than meets the eye. There are green options, bank-required types, technician-only refill kits, and numerous model-specific cartridges. Understanding the different types of toner helps the shopper avoid buying the wrong toner cartridge and saves money over the long term.

Buying Toner Cartridges on eBay

Toner cartridges of all types, colours, and models can be purchased online at eBay. The website offers a large database filled with a wide selection of products that range in price. By using eBay's search tools, such as its convenient search box, shoppers can find the exact types of toner cartridges they need for their printing devices. Keywords like 'OEM toner cartridge' or ' toner refill kit' can be inserted into the search box that is found on every page at eBay, and relevant search listings appear on the screen within seconds. Search results can be filtered using a budget range and printer model to show more relevant products.

It is important for shoppers to thoroughly research the reputations of the sellers they are considering for their purchases. eBay offers its users a feature known as feedback, where past customers can leave comments about their experiences with the seller. This feature allows potential customers to screen sellers for reliability and product quality and provides eBay users with a satisfying buying experience.


Buying toner cartridges may seem like a simple enough task, despite the nuisance of purchasing expensive office supplies. However, there are more types of toner cartridges than one might think. More importantly, there is a distinct difference between toner cartridges and ink cartridges, so understanding how toner is different is essential to successfully purchasing the right cartridges. Different types of toner are available, depending on the printer model, the types of documents to be printed, the colours needed, and other factors. There are environmentally-friendly options, such as refurbished cartridges or refill kits, although refill kits are so complex that they should only be purchased if a skilled technician is available that knows how to use them.

Regardless of what shoppers choose in the end, it is evident that toner cartridges are more complicated than they seem. Fortunately, eBay makes buying toner cartridges easy with an easy-to-use search box and filtering capabilities, or buyers can choose to purchase cartridges locally in office supply or computer stores. Either way, buying toner cartridges no longer has to be a tricky task, and with a little effort, shoppers can save time and money when purchasing. Once toner cartridges are purchased and successfully installed, an office can quickly get back to business.

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