Best toner for printers

When trying to find the best toner for printers, there are several things you need to take into account. For starters there’s the cost, the quality and the page-coverage. We’ll talk you through all these and more in our guide to buying the best toner for your laser printer.

Sorry if this is obvious but… The first thing you need to remember is that toner cartridges and Ink Cartridges are not the same. Toner cartridges are for LASER printers. Ink cartridges are for inkjet printers and CANNOT be used in a laser printer.

To make sure you get the correct toner for your printer, check the manufacturer specifications.

What exactly is ‘toner?’

Toner is not an ink. It is a powder. Laser printers don’t press toner directly onto the paper. They produce digital images by scanning a laser beam across photoreceptors, with the result being sharp, high-quality colour mixing.

Laser printer toner cost

Price is always a consideration when you’re looking at the best toner for printers. Unfortunately toner can be quite expensive. The manufacturers say that they have spent millions developing their original toner products, so that’s why it costs what it does.

Cheap laser printer cartridges

There are lots of sellers advertising ‘third-party’ toners for printers. You should note these products aren’t the original toner cartridges produced by the manufacturers for their official products. These products are sold as compatible toner cartridges by alternative manufacturers. Often the quality is not the same, and sometimes they don’t actually work at all. The mainstream manufacturers like HP and Samsung keep the recipe for their original toners a secret.

Some manufacturers now use micro-chips inside their toner cartridges which communicate with the printer. The printer knows when an unofficial product is being used and the device will tell you that “No original toner has been inserted.” Or the printer driver will inform you one way or another.

Compatible toner cartridges can damage your printer and even invalidate your warranty. They can also produce inconsistent results and often don’t get the coverage (number of pages printed) that the genuine manufacturer’s products give you. So, even though ‘third-party’ toners are appealing price-wise, they are often more trouble than they are worth.

The best toner for printers are the official products from your printer’s manufacturers. For example, genuine HP cartridges are the best toner for printers produced by HP.


Some manufacturers such as HP have a recycling policy for their used cartridges, which means they don’t end up in land-fill. There are also lots of online cartridge recyclers such as that offer a free recycling service for your used toner cartridges. More and more people are taking the environmental impact into consideration when buying their cartridges.

Dual packs and multi-packs

Some sellers, especially HP offer toner cartridges as a dual pack, and Samsung in particular like to offer ‘Value Packs’ which contain an entire set of colour toner cartridges.

Besides the price-saving, it is probably a good idea to cash in on regular special deals and get an extra set while you can. Toner cartridges are individually welded and can be stored for an unlimited time.

What toner colours are there? What is CMYK?

Colour laser printers work in the four-colour printing system (CMYK) and require a toner for each colour.

  • C
  • M
  • Y
  • K
    (actually from English for "key plate")

What is page coverage?

The page cover range is usually 5% per page. But what does that actually mean? Well imagine a standard letter printed on a page. If 95% of the page is not printed on, then you have a page cover of 5%. This is just an approximate measure of course.

Now let’s imagine that you buy a toner with a page yield of 2000 pages, based on a page cover of 5% (Standard letter). If you now print lots of pages that have photographs or graphics on them (let’s say with a page cover of 20% as they obviously use a lot more toner), you will not get approximately 2000 pages from your toner cartridges. You’ll get a quarter of the amount, as you are using four times as much toner per page.

Can I still print if the toner cartridge is empty?

Even if the toner is seemingly empty you’ll find you can usually still print something. When you get the message saying your cartridge is empty it’s likely you’ll still be able to print some pages. But when as soon as you see the quality of your prints go downhill, you’ll know it’s time to replace the cartridge.

Save money

If available for your device, use XL or high capacity toner as they will save you money. They are slightly more expensive to buy, but contain a lot more toner – enabling you to print out lots more for less. You get a cheaper cost per printed page.

How long does the best toner for printers last?

Toner does not dry. Even cartridges, which have been found in discarded devices after many years, often print directly right away. Toner that has been stored vertically for a long period of time should be returned to the horizontal installation position before use and must be swung slightly back and forth horizontally. We also strongly recommend the storage in a cool, dark room in a horizontal position.

Where to buy the best toner for printers? High-street or online?

Well at Ebuyer we are obviously an online retailer - so we’ll try and give you unbiased information. Shop around and compare prices, we think you’ll find Ebuyer are between 10 and 30% cheaper for exactly the same product. There. That’s it.

How to remove toner from hands, skin, textiles…

Toner is an extremely fine powder consisting of colour pigments, metal oxides and resins. Resins can melt very quickly, so you must use COLD water to wash it off your skin and hands. If you use WARM water, it ‘fixes’ the toner – which means that it is much harder to remove.

If toner dust gets on textiles or on your carpet, shake the textiles first (outdoors) to get rid of the toner. Most vacuum cleaners can’t pick-up toner powder as it is so fine that it can pass through the filters and could even damage your vacuum cleaner.

So, what exactly is the best toner for printers?

Well, we’ve gone through lots of things you might want to consider, from costs, to environmental considerations. The important thing is that you get the right product for you, hopefully at a price that gives good value for money.

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