Ink cartridges, laser toner cartridges, or printer ribbons; are all an integral components of printers systems, without which all printers are practically useless. These are the components through which the end product of printing is visible to us. These components contain the ink, which spreads on the paper during the process of printing. The market is replete with a wide variety of cartridges manufactured by different manufacturers and that can be used in different types of printers. As the name aptly suggests the different types of printer cartridges like ink cartridges, laser toner cartridges, and printer ribbons cartridges are used in ink jet printers, laser printers and dot matrix printers respectively.

The Concept of Similarities and Dissimilarities

When you talk about cartridge's one must understand that there are quite a number of similarities between the composition, structure, and usage of the three cartridges. After all the basic concepts between the designs remains similar and only a few minor changes distinguish them from each other. However, one must also understand the fact that there similarities does not mean that they use can be interchanged. Ink cartridges can only be used in ink jet printers.

The Similarities

Typically there are two separate cartridges that are inserted into the printers, one is a colored cartridge filled with the three primary colors while the other is a black cartridge. In laser toner cartridges there is no ink but there is a toner which is a material that facilitates laser printings.

Both ink cartridges and the laser variety can be refilled and thus users can save money on the cost of buying a whole new cartridge. Even printer ribbons can be refilled; however, the process of refilling will differ.


Apart from the technical differences associated with the three cartridges, and the process of printing in general, there are differences related to the quality of the print, cost, and speed of printing. When it comes to printing speed printer ribbons are the slowest of the lot while cartridges using laser toners are the fastest. Moreover, with regards to cost, the cartridges for laser printers are more expensive than their ink based counterparts

None is better than the Other

If you look at the similarities and differences, you will see that you cannot judge the cartridges based on them. You cannot say that one is better than the other, as it's completely your choice as to which printer you own and thus the cartridges that you are going to use. Experts will tell you that laser toner cartridges are the best amongst the three, but for that you must have laser printers, which in itself is expensive and so are its cartridges.

Source by John C Arkin