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Best cheap printer ink

Best laser printer toner

By Andrew Laughlin

Article 3 of 3

Laser toner cartridges can be expensive, so you don’t want to make a costly mistake. We show you the best laser printer toner, and where to buy it.

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In contrast to inkjet owners, most laser-printer users buy branded toner because the third-party choice is more limited.

However, while the big names tend to dominate the toner market, the joint top-scoring laser toner brand in our survey sells compatible and remanufactured toner cartridges – sometimes at almost half the price of first-party alternatives.  

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Best laser toner brands

Which? members can log in to see the cartridge brands and retailers behind the ratings. If you're not already a member, you can take a Which? trial.
Brand Text print quality Photo print quality Value for money Customer score
72%
- 72%
69%
- 66%
65%

Key

Member Content

Table notes: In April 2017, we asked 8,446 Which? members about their experiences with printer ink brands. We required at least 30 responses for a brand to be included. The customer score is based on satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending each retailer. A dash (–) means we had too few responses to give a rating.

Laser toner vs printer ink

Laser printers are typically speedier than inkjets when printing, and can handle a heavier workload if you’re planning to print a lot of pages every month.

Toner cartridges are expensive to buy, but each one prints a lot more pages than an ink cartridge, so the actual cost per black-and-white or colour page can be cheaper.

However, laser printers are usually pricier to buy than inkjets, and, as they're often large and bulky, they can take up more space on your desk.

Best places to buy laser toner online

Only around 10% of Which? members own a laser printer, hence why we have a smaller pool of rated brands and retailers compared to printer ink.

Below are four laser toner online retailers that we were able to rate in our survey based on the service, value and range of laser toner they offer.

Which? members can log in to see the cartridge brands and retailers behind the ratings. If you're not already a member, you can take a Which? trial.
Brand Text print quality Photo print quality Value for money Customer score
76%
- 76%
- - 75%
74%

Key

Member Content

How does laser toner work?

The best way to think of laser toner is a bit like powdered ink. Each toner cartridge contains a fine powder that’s mostly superfine milled plastic and polymers, but also with some carbon, colouring agents and other ingredients that the manufacturers have developed.

During the printing process, a laser beam scans back and forth across the imaging drum. This charges the powder toner with static electricity and attracts it to the page. Finally, heated rollers then fuse the toner to the page, giving you a crisp print in the paper tray.

The most common problems with laser toner are the quality of printing dropping more quickly than expected (31%), followed by the cartridge leaking (19%) and the cartridge not working in the printer (12%).

However, some 89% of respondents in our survey had never experienced problems with their toner cartridges.

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