Different types of printers and print jobs require different types of ink. As a result, there are several types of printer ink available, giving consumers a wide variety of choices based on what kind of printer they own and what they are planning to print with it. In addition, different companies make ink and ink cartridges, providing less expensive alternatives than name brands, though of course, the printer manufacturing companies recommend using name brand cartridges for the best results.
Ink cartridges are used only in inkjet printers — laser printers use toner, a powdery substance that is fused to the paper during the printing process. Cartridges come in different sizes and configurations, all designed to fit different models of printers. Many companies produce ink cartridges, including recycled, refilled cartridges or cartridges designed to work with brand name printers but at a lower cost. It is important for consumers to purchase the right kind of ink and the right size of cartridge for a particular printer, because printers have different sizes of apertures in which the ink cartridges must fit.