Intro to fax toner
The term fax toner is a bit of a misnomer as fax machines work in several different ways depending on which model you have. Fax toner can be used to mean a fax ribbon, a fax roll or even fax film.
The earliest fax machines used thermal paper, a paper coated with chemicals which react to heat and turn black, for printing. Thermal print faxes are usually cheap to buy and virtually indestructible as they have no moving parts, and they don't require any fax toner as the printing mechanism is contained within the paper. However, the print is not permanent as the paper discolors easily.
Next in line is the thermal film fax, a more complex fax machine that prints from an ink-coated ribbon the width of the page. When heated the ink on the ribbon melts and sticks to the paper. Although replacement fax ribbons are generally much cheaper (between $20 and $45) than other fax toners the machines can be noisy and the print quality isn't great.
Most modern fax machines use inkjet or laser technology for printing and when people talk about fax toners they are generally referring to the consumables for these machines. Inkjet faxes are very slow to print and laser machines, although much more expensive, are now the industry standard.
Laser faxes use a light emitting diode (LED) to produce high quality images on plain paper, and the fax toner can usually produce several thousand pages before being replaced. The price of a replacement fax toner can be anywhere between $70 and $360 depending on the brand and model of your fax machine.
When buying fax toner make sure you shop around - you'll probably find the best deals online but make sure to search for your specific toner, and factor in any shipping costs and taxes before making a decision
Finally, you can avoid the cost of replacement fax toner altogether by using free fax-to-email solutions that allow you to send faxes through your computer. You can do this without having a fax machine at all and therefore cut out the cost of replacement fax toner completely.