The Difference Between Toner and Ink


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When it comes to digital printing, there are many options you may not be familiar with. One common question you might have is, “What’s the difference between toner and ink?” As part of Onestopdp’ wide range of online printing services, we offer both toner and Electroink. See how they compare before designing your project and placing your order. 

Printing Toner

When we mention toner in the online printing industry, we’re talking about a powder-based print medium made from granulated plastics.


  • Powder-based rather than liquid-based like most inks
  • Tends to be more opaque, thus “hiding” the surface sheen and properties of the paper stock or substrate
  • There are fewer steps in the print process than Electroink
  • Shelf life of the ink is greater than Electroink


  • Generally stored in a cartridge
  • Toner powder is collected and then transferred to paper by the charged printing drum
  • The paper is heated by a “fuser” to melt the toner particles and help make sure your print sets properly
  • Printing toner can be applied to:
    Projects designed with a 20# paper weight
    Carbonless Forms


When we talk about toner and ink, the ink we’re referring to is Electroink. It’s a liquid ink used in all HP Indigo presses. It’s unique in that it features electrically-charged pigmented particles in a liquid form.


  • More translucent which allows the surface sheen and properties of the  stock or substrate to be more visible
  • Ink particles as small as 1-2 microns for high resolution, uniform gloss and sharp images
  • Better lightfastness (fade-resistance)
  • More rub-resistant than printing toner
  • It’s possible to apply a coating to many substrates that allow the ink to bond to the substrate, even if the substrate wasn’t created with Electroink in mind  


  • A laser array composes your image onto a Photo Imaging Plate (PIP)
  • This creates a road map for the electrically-charged inks to transfer from the developer rollers onto the PIP
  • Ink is transferred in direct contact to a heated blanket which melts the pigmented particles into a smooth, tacky film
  • Film of developed ink is transferred to your media that’s gripped onto the impression drum
  • Media is sent through the press
  • Substrates must be made or primed to accept the Electroink for proper bonding
  • Can be applied to any substrate weight between 70# text to 24pt cardstock
  • Can be applied to any small format product except Carbonless Forms and Envelopes: 
  • Cannot be applied to projects designed with 20# paper weight

Onestopdp is your online printer for high-quality custom projects. If you have questions about printing toner and ink or any other printing services, please contact customer service.


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