Intro to copier toner
The quality of your copier toner is the key to getting clear, sharp copies, and although most companies agonize over choosing the best photocopier for their budget, few take the cost or quality of the copier toner into account.
However, over the lifetime of the copier the cost of the toner can add up to much more than the machine itself. Knowing how copiers work and what your choices are when it comes to copier toner can be an enormous help in choosing the right machine - and the right toner.
The crucial element of any photocopier is static electricity. The copier toner, a mixture of pigment and plastic, is given an electric charge by the copier. The copier then creates an image on the drum in static electricity. As it is selectively charged only parts of it attract toner. As the paper passes through the machine it picks up a charge and pulls the charged toner particles from the drum. The paper then moves through the fuser which heats the toner, melting the plastic particles in it, and fusing the text or image into place.
Photocopiers use one of two types of copier toner: toner cartridges or bottled toner. Bottled toner is used in most photocopiers and when it runs out it is simply poured into a container in the machine. Cartridges contain the copier toner as well as the imaging drum and are often used in machines with a lower initial cost. However, cartridges are much more expensive to replace than bottled ink so you'll quickly lose any cost advantage of buying a more affordable copier.
When buying copier toner make sure you check the make and model of your copier in order to get the right cartridge or bottled toner. Toner cartridges can range from $40 to about $200 depending on the make and model you own; bottled toners costs roughly $60 per bottle.
You can reduce the cost of replacing toner cartridges by buying generic brand (compatible) toners, though it's a good idea to look for a recommendation as these can use inferior quality toner and may not produce the results you're expecting. Compatible cartridges generally cost about 40% less than original equipment manufacture (OEM) toners.