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An In-depth Look At Toner Catridges And Tips On The Best

Computers are currently a necessity to any individual or business. With the onset of this device, came a whole lot list of appliances that this device would possibly need in order to meet the user's requirements. The device in question here is the printer. Almost all offices and households currently have printers to aid in reproducing documents.


As with the DVD and television, the printer also requires its own set of equipment's i.e. toner cartridge. Printers vary in shape, color, size and length hence do their cartridges so a proper cartridge should be selected that functions properly with the printer. There are different manufactures of cartridges in the market currently which makes the consumer have a wide variety of brands they can chose from.


Before one can proceed to buy a toner cartridge, the model and make of the printer must be considered. The same make of a printer may utilize different cartridges i.e. there is a variation between 7400 toner, 9600 toner and 7050 toner.

Components of a toner cartridge and their functions.

Before we compare the different types of cartridges, we are going to have a look at the internal structure of a laserjet toner cartridge and how it works. A cartridge is a complex device that has dozens of parts, separate parts and multiple nodes. This device can be divided into these major parts i.e.

Toner- used to create the images.

Body - which includes parts like the universal chip, magnetic roller sleeve, sealing, recovery and doctor blade, OPC, drum etc.

Fuser assembly - heats and firmly presses the toner to the paper.

Details of transfer unit

Among the parts of the cartridge, there is the Organic Photo Conductor (OPC). This is the most advanced product in toner cartridges hence the most expensive. OPC part has the greatest impact on quality of prints. It comprises of an aluminum cylinder enclosed in a photosensitive layer. The photosensitive layer has different structures depending on the type of printer and cartridge, also varying in gears and sizes to achieve a certain rotation.

The primary charge roller (PCR) is an axle made from metal that is enclosed in a shell. This part has varying structures of the enclosed rubber layer. It performs the operation of charging a photo conductor with negative charges, these negative charges are then put onto the paper. In some printers it also acts as a caretaker since it cleans remnants of toners from the photoconductor.

Using contaminated paper can damage the photo conductor so it is advisable to store toner cartridges in a package. The printer's laser beam spreads negative electrostatic images to the positively charged drum only reversing the polarity of charges where the image should be. The drum roller now has the negatively charges image and proceeds to roll on the positive toner picking the image from the toner only. This works by the law of physics in that opposite charges attract. The drum is responsible in forming an image hence the quality of a print will depend on its condition.

A detailed picture of the structure of a toner printer cartridge can be found here;



Categories of toner cartridges 


A consumer always makes a choice between the different cartridges by their performance, quality and their ability to be refilled. There are four categories of toner cartridges i.e. OEM (Original equipment Manufacturer), re-manufactured, refill and compatible cartridges.


What do these all mean? OEM just as the name suggests is the original cartridge made by the manufacturer of a certain brand. An example is that Hewlett-Packard will make a particular laserjet cartridge for a specific model of their printers and so would canon or brother. Due to competition manufactures do not make cartridges that can work on printers other than their own brands.


OEM cartridges offer the best quality in terms of sharper images, smooth gray-scale colors and real-like colors for photos. The only drawback with this kind of laserjet cartridges is that they are expensive. In the current economic times, one has to look at ways of cutting costs. A good option in cost cutting will be using re-manufactured cartridges.


Just like computer companies refurbish their machines and bring them back to the market, so do toner cartridges. A manufacturer recycles back the used up toner laserjet cartridges, checks for scratches, dents or any kind of defect in the cartridge and fixes it. They are then refilled with ink and brought back to the market for resale. The advantage of this type of ink is that it is cheaper compared to OEM and it is still of the same quality.


Another type of toner cartridge is a compatible cartridge. These laser printer toner cartridges are usually manufactured by third party companies but offer the same functionality as OEM. It has been proved over time that compatible toner cartridges work as good as OEM since they undergo the same manufacturing process as the original counterparts. This process is backed up by extensive laboratory checks to ensure that the product conforms to the required market specifications. One can save up to 80% in costs by buying compatible cartridges. Printer manufactures try to discourage people from using these kinds of inks but actually the real reason is that they do not want their sales to go down.


Another category of toner cartridges are refills. These are also manufactured by third parties and aim to refill used up empty cartridges with ink. This is the cheapest way of all the above where one can find a refill for as low as $4 compared to OEM counterparts that start at $150. Due to the extensive work put in manufacturing this refills, the final products looks similar to the original and not many people can tell the difference when applied on documents.


Choosing between a refill and a compatible toner cartridge does not also save your money but also help conserve the environment. This is achieved since empty cartridges are reused rather than being dumped in landmines and causing a lot of pollution since plastic and metal are degradable.


For someone interested in selecting the best kind of toner cartridge that will not only save them some cash but also produce high quality prints, compatible cartridges is the way to go. With the current technological advancements, compatible refills all work as efficiently as original products and consumers should not shy away from trying them. One is required to shop around and get a seller that has the best bargains before buying.