What is the Difference Between a Drum and Toner?

What is the Difference Between a Drum and Toner?

difference between drum and toner

A printer is an essential tool for office workers and students. Knowing the differences between a drum and a toner helps you understand how the consumables work in a printer machine. Also, it allows you to take care of the replacements properly to keep their maintenance under control.

The modern laser printers would always consist of the drum unit and the toner cartridge. However, you must know that some machines have a drum and toner as a single unit, meaning they can’t be separated from each other. And when you need replacement, you’d have to change the entire thing.

On the contrary, some printer machine companies like Brother produce separate consumables. So, you’ll have the toner and drum as two separate parts working together. You can easily replace any of the two when they get damaged or stop functioning up to the mark.

What is toner?

A toner cartridge is the casing that keeps the toner powder (ink) necessary for printing text and images on paper.  

What is a printer drum?

A printer drum is a cylinder-shaped electrically charged unit that uses heat and pressure to transfer the toner (ink) onto the paper.

How do they both work?

A toner cartridge and drum unit go hand in hand. The toner cartridge contains ink powder that’s durable and long-lasting compared to the inks used in traditional printers. Such a toner cartridge is only present in laser printers. Its job is to keep the toner powder the drum unit needs for printing.

The drum unit has a shape of a cylinder. When you give the machine the command to “print,” the “photosensitive drum” (the roller inside the drum unit) receives the toner for printing the image, scanned by the laser. It holds the paper in a fixed place and uses heat and pressure to print the text and images onto it using the toner.

A drum has many terms used for it: drum unit, image drum, printer drum, photoconductor unit, print unit, etc.


Costs of replacing toner cartridges and drum kits:

Changing the combined toner and drum unit might come off as costly. That’s because the toner tends to run out way earlier than the drum. So, it means you’d have to change the entire unit even if the drum is fine. On the contrary, it’s money-saving to buy the consumables separately. If the toner runs out, you can change it without replacing the drum unit.

A drum unit might need replacement after you’ve used at least 3 toner cartridges. When your prints start to show lines, black spots, or other misprinting issues, you can figure that it’s time to change it. Manufacturers like Brother indicate the drum unit replacement message on their printers to let the customers know the right timing.

Typically, you could get one toner cartridge for $55 or more, depending on where you buy it. A drum unit can cost anywhere from $80 to $100. You could get discounts though if you buy from online websites.