Ink: An Intro for the Toner-Deaf

Toner is the unsung hero of the workplace - the power behind the throne, if you will. Most people know their printer needs it, and even more people resent buying it. It sometimes seems that today's advanced printers, with more on-board computers than last decade's supercomputers, shouldn't need this inexplicable element. But it's not true - toner is absolutely essential to the process of setting ink on paper. We'd like to take a minute to explain the "whats" and "whys" of the wonderful world of toner.

Anyone who's ever popped an ink pen with overenthusiastic chewing knows that ink is a particularly unwieldy liquid. There's no way that even a machine could ply that staining goo into legible letters without some sort of additive. Toner is a heated powder compound that allows the liquid ink to be wrangled into the letter and picture forms that you count on your color printer to make.

The first toner was made of carbon powder, the consistency of which afforded early inks a much higher level of detail. It was poured from a bottle into large printers and mixed with the ink in real-time during the printing process. While carbon did the job back then, printing technology has evolved like everything else. Today's toners are melt-mixed with polymers for quick and efficient fusion with the laserjet and inkjet inks with which they're paired. Most modern printers require a specific type of both ink and toner to work properly.

Like color ink, color toner is designed using the CMYK color model. That means for each color ink, there's a corresponding toner - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (black). All 4 colors are required to form the complex color palette your printer is capable of - when any one runs out, things will start to look funny. Stock each ink and toner combination properly, and your printer will continue to perfectly form the words and pictures you count on to run your business.

HP makes some of the most advanced and popular printers for the modern office, and you'll find the ink and toner for them here at UNEEDIT. HP LaserJet 645A Toner, one of our best-selling products, is compatible with a wide range of HP Color LaserJet Printers. Always be sure to consult the instruction manual of your printer to be sure which inks and toners will work.