what-is-toner-powder-is-all-toner-the-same

Frequently Asked Question: Is All Toner Powder Same? 6

What is Toner Powder? Is All Toner Powder Same?

Toner is a powder mixture used in laser printers and photocopiers to form the printed text and images on the paper, in general through a toner cartridge.

Mostly granulated plastic, early mixtures only added carbon powder and iron oxide, however mixtures have since been developed containing polypropylene, fumed silica, and various minerals for triboelectrification.

How much is difference between toners of different printers?

If you look closer all toner powder looks like same but Toner is different not only for each manufacturer but from a cartridge to the cartridge from the same manufacturer.

How toner works?

Toner basically must develop an electrostatic charge through friction with itself and a developer roller, then have the correct level and polarity of charge to be attracted to the image area on the photo-conductor drum, and later transfer from the drum to the paper.

Then, it must meet at the proper temperature in the fuser section of the printer for which it was intended for a good bond with the paper.

Some toners contain iron oxide, others do not. Additives are added to toners so they will perform acceptably over a wide range of temperature and humidity in the printer environment.


Toner manufacture is highly technical and requires lots of R&D to produce a really good product.

There are many reasons why so many refilled cartridges print poorly. Like

  • If the mass is higher, it could happen that less particles get attached to the drum.
  • If the size is different than the one your printer uses, there will be quality issues with the print itself.
  • They (in the worst case) can leak inside the printer and contaminate it.
  • This also has to do with the voltage of corona wire. If it’s too low, not enough toner will get attached to the drum.
  • Another major type of problem could be different fuser settings.The fuser will bake paper at a certain temperature and if the temperature is too low for the toner you’re using, it may not stay properly attached.
  • Yet another type of problem could be the chip in the toner cartridge itself.

Sometimes you may get error or printer may report you that your cartridge is empty. Is that really empty?

I’m not 100% sure how some printers may just stop working when the counter for remaining pages reaches zero even if there’s still toner in the cartridge. I think that Brother and Samsung printers allow override for this, but I’m not 100% sure.

How do you check whether cartridge is empty or not?

I’ve seen many “empty” toner cartridges that still had ~50% of powder in the compartment. Expect it to start leaking everywhere as soon as you open it and breathe anywhere near the powder itself.

So your best bet would be to actually at first try to get some of the toner out of the waste toner bin and see if you can successfully use it.

One of the main problems with replacing or getting out the toner is the fact that the particles themselves are extremely small and are almost impossible to clean up once spilled.

Be sure that you try to remove the powder from the toner in an area that can easily be washed. Next major problem could again be the toner particle size.

If the cartridge is not leaking, when you spend the waste toner, you may try to get toner from another printer and use it.

can i use 12a powder for an 88a toner cartridge?

Nope, Absolutely Not, when selecting replacement toner do pay attention to fuser temperature on your printer and on the other printer and try to match it if you can.

Also if you can, try to find some sort of toner refilling or re-manufacturing service like GoGeo Mart and get them to refill the toner. They may even have some generic toner available which could save you from buying entire toner cartridge for another printer.

From my experience it’s generally bad idea to open a toner cartridge outside of a laboratory specifically designed for that purpose.

As I said, the toner will get everywhere and into everything and may cause problems if you inhale it or if you try to use a vacuum-cleaner on it. Also just because the printer reports that a cartridge is empty, it does not mean that it’s empty in actual.

Types of Toner Powder

  • Magnetic Toner Powder
  • Non Magnetic Toner Powder

How To Differentiate Magnetic & Non Magnetic Toner Powder?

#1. Magnetic Toner Powder:

One of the major ingredients in modern printer like HP, Canon etc consist of laser toner cartridges for laser printers is filled with magnetite.

Fe3O4: Magnetite, of course, is magnetic, and this is why your toner can produce a ferromagnetic fluid. And is held in a developer carrier such as a developing sleeve in fuser assembly section.

It uses a charge control ingredient, known as a triboelectrification agent. ‘Tribo’ comes from the Greek meaning ‘to rub’, and essentially refers to the creation of static charge through friction.

The magnetic toner forms a layer on the magnetic sleeve with the thickness thereof being adjusted by a suitably thickness control units such as a wiper blade, OPC Drum and a PCR roller.

This is required to have the printer particles stick to the paper.

#2. Non-Magnetic Toner Powder:

The non-magnetic toner of the one-component developer is supported on a developing sleeve by electrostatic force. The non-magnetic toner is supplied to the substrate by being pressed with a supply roller to form a layer thereon.

You won’t find any iron particles in these toners. Some have no iron at all. Samsung, Brother, Lexmark, etc printers use mostly non-magnetic toner systems.

The advantage of non-magnetic toner is that you can print 10000 pages only by consuming  250 grams of this toner, but in case of magnetic toner powder you need almost 500 grams of toner to get 10,000 pages.


6 Comments

  1. fine information..please write on magnetic toner system printers .and non -magnetic toner system printers in market..

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      Thank you for your precious suggestion.

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