Help Center - Laser Printers Use Toner Cartridges

Laser Printers Use Toner Cartridges

Laser printers use toner exclusively, so ink cartridges that an inkjet printer would use is not an acceptable substitute. The two main components of toner are iron oxide and plastic resin. To transfer images and text to a paper, a laser draws and electrostatic template of the image onto a rotating metal drum inside the printer. The drum, which is covered in a photosensitive material, starts with either a positive or a negative charge. An extremely precise laser alters the electrical charge in certain spots according to data fed from the computer. The drum is then coated in magnetically-charged toner, but the fine particles only adhere to the areas where the laser previously defined the image. Next, a sheet of paper, which has also been magnetically charged, rolls past the drum and draws the toner away. Finally, a fuser sets the image by warming and melting the plastic particles.