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Best cheap printer ink

Best laser printer toner

By Andrew Laughlin

Article 3 of 3

We show you the best toner for laser printers and the cheapest places to buy it online to help you avoid a costly mistake. 

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With the cost of buying new laser toner potentially running into hundreds of pounds, if you own a laser printer owner you'll want to get the best possible deal when you re-stock your supply. 

Based on our survey of real customers, below are the five best online retailers for laser toner, rated for service, value and the range of laser toner they offer.

Best places to buy laser toner online

Only logged in Which? members can view the laser toner retailers behind the ratings. If you're not yet a member, you can get instant access by joining Which?.
Brand Text print quality Photo print quality Value for money Customer score
80%
77%
n/a n/a 76%
n/a 74%
72%

Key

Member Content
Table notes: In April 2018, we asked 966 Which? members about their experiences with laser-toner brands, and 556 members about their experiences of buying laser toner online. 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. n/a means we had too few responses to give a rating.

Which? uncovers the laser toner brands to choose

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

While the big names tend to dominate the toner market, one of our top five laser-toner brands sells compatible and remanufactured toner cartridges – sometimes at a fraction of the price of original alternatives.  

Best laser-toner brands

Only logged-in Which? members can view the cartridge brands behind the ratings. If you're not yet a member, you can get instant access by joining Which?.
Brand Text print quality Photo print quality Value for money Customer score
n/a 76%
73%
n/a 70%
70%
n/a 65%

Key

Member Content

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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 lower.

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

Find out more in our inkjet vs laser printers guide. 

How does laser toner work?

The best way to think of laser toner is that it's 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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