Buying Copier Toner and Ink to Meet Office Requirements

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Buying Copier Toner and Ink to Meet Office Requirements

In this day and age, most items are stored digitally on computers and in clouds on the Internet. However, many companies and business still perform extensive printing and copying processes for the purpose of obtaining and storing hard copies of their business transactions. Due to this requirement, many offices spend a lot of money on copier toner and printer ink each month.

There are many types of printers and copiers available, and the type of machine owned by the company determines the type of toner and ink that is bought. There are also several types of printer ink available, so buyers need to learn these types and the differences between them. On a whole, laser printers utilize toners and inkjet printers utilize ink cartridges, so buyers should know the differences between these two ink types as well as their subtypes. The ink subtype that is chosen can be determinant on their price range as well as the types of printing that is mainly done in the office. Knowing the necessary information ensures buyers purchase copier toner and ink to meet office requirements.

Overview of Toner Cartridges

Toners are a powder-like substance that connects with and sticks to the paper upon printing. This powder is stored inside a cylindrical chamber within the installed toner cartridge, then the printer itself generates an electromagnetic charge during printing, which shapes the printed letters on a drum. The charge in turn attracts the toner powder, which is melted by a fuser and creates the printed image.

Copier Toner Options

There are four main options for buying toner cartridges, which include the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) toner, a compatible toner from third-party manufacturers, remanufactured toner cartridges, and do-it-yourself DIY refill kits. What option is best depends on the prioritized deciding factor of the buyers; these may include price, unquestionable compatibility, time, and availability.

OEM Toner Cartridges

OEM toner cartridges are sometimes listed as "original brand name" toners, but they both refer to the replacement cartridges that are made and distributed by the manufacturer of the copier machine. In essence, the cartridge bears the same name and design as the initial cartridges that were sold with the machine. Based on this knowledge, buyers would be right in assuming that OEM replacement toner cartridges cost more than their counterparts, but quality and compatibility is never an issue. OEM copier toners are also said to yield more per cartridge than the other options.

Third-Party Toner Cartridges

Third-party toner cartridges are compatible alternatives to OEMs, which are made by external companies not affiliated with the making of the copier. The third-party manufacturers have to make the generic versions according to the specifications set forth by the copier manufacturer. Therefore, these generic copier toners are made to be compatible, but they also generally cost considerably less than the OEM versions.

Some buyers shy away from third-party toners because they assume that using one automatically voids their copier warranty, but that is not the case. However, if a faulty generic toner causes damage to the copier, the copier manufacturer can then choose not to repair the machine.

Remanufactured Copier Toner Cartridges

As the name suggests, remanufactured copier toner cartridges are those that were previously used and have been revamped for a second round. Sellers often collect the empty toner cartridges and have them refilled with toner powder by the copier manufacturer. As expected, a remanufactured toner cartridge costs less than the original but often cost the same or more than the generic toner brands.

Environmentalists often prefer remanufactured cartridges because the materials are recyclable. If not recycled, a discarded toner cartridge can take years to decompose.

DIY Toner Refill Kits

Many stores sell professional refill kits to allow users to refill the toner cartridges themselves. This can be a great cost effective alternative for small offices. Buyers should however proceed with caution when buying copier toner refill kits, as some sellers list their items as toners when they are indeed inkjet inks. Additionally, the factory fill hole on some cartridges are difficult to access, so an electronic hole making device may be required, and buyers should aim to purchase a refill kit with toner reset chip to indicate the new page yield.

Printer Ink Cartridges

Inks are also sold in cartridges, but they are generally smaller than toner cartridges, and they often contain one or multiple chambers that store the ink. Printer ink cartridges are generally found in four main colours including black, magenta or red, yellow, and cyan or blue. Some printers have one single chamber cartridge for black and one multiple chamber cartridge for the remaining three colours, while others have four different cartridges, one for each colour.

Types of Ink

There are three main types of inks used in printing, one of which is a fairly new technology when compared to the others. Dye-based inks and pigmented inks are the most popular and widely used, but solid ink is the third option on the market, which environmentalists who are able to afford it often prefer.

Dye-Based Liquid Ink

Dye-based printer ink is said to provide a brighter and wider range of colours than pigmented inks, but it tends to bleed more when printed due to the fact that it absorbs in the fibre of the paper. It is often cheaper and more economical for office use, but it is not recommended for items that need to be filed for a long time. The fade resistance is lower than pigmented ink because the molecules in the ink spread out when printed, thus exposing themselves to environmental elements and resulting in a quicker fade.

Dye-based ink also has no water resistance because it dissolves completely in water. Therefore, if a drop of water lands on a dye-based printed medium, the ink can dissolve and flow across the paper ruining the print.

Pigmented Liquid Ink

Pigmented ink is also liquid base, but it tends to fuse with the paper better than dye-based ink, so it does not bleed as much. In essence, the ink does not soak through the paper fibre but rather sits on top of the paper due to its minute particles.

Pigment based inks have a better fade resistance because the encapsulated particles stand up better against the elements. Therefore, this ink type is better for receipts, invoices, and other documents that an office may need to archive for awhile. Pigmented inks also have better water resistance because they do not dissolve completely when wet.

Solid Ink

Solid ink is not as widely known or as used as the aforementioned ink types because this ink type is pretty much exclusive to Xerox machines. As the name suggests, solid ink is does not run or spray but is rather waxy. The printing process of solid ink involves the ink being melted and applied directly to the paper as per the instructions received from the computer.

Most people who have used solid ink agree that the colours appear more vibrant and bright than even laser printing, but its eco-friendly composition makes it even more appealing. The waxy ink substance that solidifies the ink is made from vegetable oils so there are not any harsh or harmful chemicals involved.

Additionally, the cartridges can also be recycled, so many companies have started to convert to solid ink to save money in the long term, provide a safer work environment for their employees, and be friendlier to the environment.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Ink Type in Printing

Printing and copying is a partnership among three major players: the printer and copier machine, the ink used, and the paper being printed on. For instance, when a photograph is printed using an inkjet printer with dye-based on regular porous paper, the results are far less agreeable than those printed using a laser printer with toner on swellable or photo stock paper.

Ink Type



Dye Based Inks

With porous paper, quick fast drying prints and lesser print quality; with swellable paper, longer lasting photo, takes longer to print, may take up to a week to dry

Former bleeds easily, and latter may bleed

Pigmented Inks

Can be used with any kind of paper and still print fast; does not sacrifice quality; higher print quality than dye-based ink; cartridge is recyclable


Solid Inks

Print quality considered to be excellent with lively colours; excellent results can be achieved with low-quality stock; the wax covers the stock with a glossy surface

Highest-quality print setting results in easily scraped off ink prints; first page may take several minutes to print if device is cold

In an office, regular paper is often used for the printing of documents and files. Finding the right ink for the office's everyday printing needs requires a little lesson on the advantages of each ink type and how they affect prints.

How to Buy Copier Toner and Ink on eBay

Whether you are buying toner cartridges or liquid inks, you simply need to perform a general search from the eBay homepage in order to get general listings that can later be filtered to specific item types. So if you are searching for copier toners, simply type that into the search bar and wait for results; the same can be done for inks. Once the page has loaded, utilize the provided filters to eliminate some of the unwanted items from the list. The filters may include copier or printer brand, colour, and the option to select remanufactured, original, or a compatible type inks.

If you have the exact brand and ink or toner type on hand, you can bypass most of the filtering process by making your search a bit more specific. For instance, you can search for "compatible HP black toner", and the results from that search would have already filtered your colour, and compatibility option. The same process can be used for acquiring inks. When all the required items have been sourced, you can add them to your cart and checkout.


Deciding what type of toner and ink to buy greatly depends on the copier and printer being used in the office. In essence, if a laser machine is being used, then toners have to be bought; if inkjet is being used, liquid base ink is needed; and solid inks can only be used with solid ink printers and copiers. Toners cost more money than standard ink cartridges, but the cost is eventually justified, because they yield more and are changed less often.

The main decisions that buyers have to make is deciding on which ink subtype is more economical yet serves it purpose without sacrificing too much quality. This is often dependent on the types of items that are printed most often in the office and how often they are printed. Buyers need to learn the various ink options available as well as how they compare with each other. With that knowledge, they can then compare the prices of each option before making a decision. Therefore, it is best to find a marketplace like eBay that stocks most if not all available options for easy price comparison and sourcing.

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