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How to choose your Ink and Toner

Buying a new ink and toner for your printer may seem like an easy task, until you actually start to browse, there are so many choices available it can be a little overwhelming.

Your first step is to determine the make and model of your inkjet or, for toner, your laser printer. This can usually be found on the printer itself, check the front, back or bottom of your printer. Alternatively check the OEM code on the toner cartridge. Don’t worry if you can’t find it, the user manual will have the information you need.

Found your model number? It’s time to browse. Not all ink and toner cartridges are the same, here are some definitions to help you understand exactly what you’re buying:

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Compatible Cartridge – A compatible cartridge has been manufactured by a third party supplier but will work with branded printers. Look for cartridges that are labelled as “compatible with” the printer model number OR the product number of the original ink cartridge.

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Remanufactured –  Remanufactured cartridges have been recycled and processed from an OEM empty core toner. They can vary in regards to what is replaced and what is reused in the cartridge, this process differs between manufacturers and the recycled materials used will vary, impacting the quality and page yields.

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OEM – an OEM cartridge has been manufactured by the same company that made your printer, meaning it is the same brand and has been made for your specific printer, also, the packaging will feature your exact model number.

It all depends on your personal preference. Some users choose OEM cartridges due to the perception that they are safer for your printer because they share the same brand name. Others go for price alone, compatible cartridges are usually cheaper then their OEM counterparts.

What's the difference between a Drum and a Toner cartridge? Do I need both for my laser printer?

The Toner Cartridge – The toner cartridge contains a powder (toner) which is responsible for creating the letters and images in the printing process.

The Drum Unit – The role of the drum is to transfer the toner to the paper. First, the printer transfers the toner on to the roller inside the drum which then prints the image using heat and pressure to fix the image to the paper.

So, the answer is YES! You will need both the drum and toner cartridge in your laster printer. The good new is that in most cases you won’t need to change your drum as often as your toner. You will know when it’s time to change the toner because you will notice a poorer print quality.

At COS we have a nifty tool on our website to help you make the right drum and toner choice. Next to the search bar on the top left hand side of the COSnet page is a button labelled ‘Toner Finder’. Click on this to search for your printer brand and model and we will show you the choices available to you. We’ve done all the hard work for you!