Office Supplies: A Comprehensive Guide to Printing Inks

Even though we have shifted to digital copies for a lot of things, the need for hard copies will always be there for important documents in any official setting. However, very few business owners and office managers are properly acquainted with printers and printing supplies.

Printing inks

photo credit: Pixabay

As a result, they end up either overspending on printing supplies, or compromising the print quality. In this brief guide, we will quickly introduce the different types of printing inks so that better and more cost-effective choices can be made by everyone.

Toner Cartridges

Toner ink comes in powdered form, which is then fused onto the printing paper by a laser printer during the printing process. Toner cartridges can exclusively be used with laser printers, and are therefore ideally suited for office documents.


  • Being exclusive to laser printers, toner cartridges can be used for printing at a much faster pace
  • They are roughly twice as cost-effective as inject cartridges on a per page basis
  • Toner ink produces crisper, cleaner and more even text in all colors and sizes, as compared to inkjet cartridges
  • Capable of producing clean data representations (graphs, charts, etc.) in color


  • Not ideal for printing color photos in detail, as it would be ruined by the toner head’s banding effect
  • Laser printers slow down significantly while printing colored content

Inkjet Cartridges

Inkjet cartridges can exclusively be used with inkjet printers, and although the liquid ink is an older piece of technology, it does have a few advantages over toner cartridges even today. Before we get to that, it must be made clear that inkjet cartridges come in two varieties which serve two different needs. We will explain them both next.

Pigmented Ink Cartridges

If the printer in question is for a graphic designer, photographer, or visual content creator of any kind, it will need pigmented ink cartridges. For example, the Epson fabric printer is a highly specialized artist’s printer that requires specific ink cartridges and supplies. Pigmented ink cartridges allow professionals to control several specific facets of each print, such as color depth, saturation and tone, image sharpness, etc.


  • Allows unmatched precision and control over each print to artistic professionals
  • Does not fade easily with age, at least not for many decades


  • Expensive and thus not meant for printing out regular documents in a regular office

Even though it is more expensive than all other options, pigmented ink cartridges can still be bought at the lowest possible price from sites like

Dye-Based Inject Cartridges

Dyes of the necessary color are mixed with glycol to create dye-based inkjet cartridges, but water can also be used instead of glycol. They are significantly cheaper than both toner ink and pigmented ink, especially those created with water as the solvent.


  • Cheapest option available in the market
  • Can be used to print color photos without banding
  • Quite useable for average printing jobs


  • Fades with time and colors lack saturation from the beginning
  • Highly susceptible to water and moisture damage
  • Text is not as sharp as toner ink in any color, and small text can smudge easily

This should provide a clear idea regarding what type of printer and printing ink you should be buying. Nevertheless, you may need to know a bit more about printers first, if that is what you are looking to buy.


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