What are the differences between a toner and a drum

More and more questions are asked by users to differentiate drum toner and vice versa in laser printers. We do not know when to change each one or what is the function of both. And is that although the toner and the drum have a similar function is necessary to differentiate to know how and what we have to buy.

When should I buy the toner or the drum?

When buying a new toner or a new drum we have to take into account where and how the print deficiency is found. If spots or lines appear on our printed sheet it is a clear warning that we should change the drum. Instead it is convenient to change the toner if we see that our sheet is missing some letters, that is, if we find white spaces on the sheet.


We should know that there are several types of cartridges, those that carry the built-in drum and those that do not. Those who have it incorporated form a single spare part so simply buy the toner and we would get the toner + drum.

In some brands of printers like OKI, Brother and Lexmark usually sell the pieces separately, so we will have to change both when necessary. Normally we will change the toner more than the drum since the latter has a longer duration.

In the case of printers like HP, Canon and Samsung, both the toner and the drum come together in one piece so it will be necessary to replace the entire cartridge when we fail the printing. It is the combined toner and drum cartridge units that offer the highest quality and least packaging waste.

What is the difference between toner and drum?

Toner is a powder that places the image or characters on the drum by means of static electricity. Since the toner powder is electrically charged, rotating the roller (drum) will attract some particles to the points previously drawn by the laser and will form what we wanted on the sheet. The toner is recommended to change it when we notice a deterioration in the quality of the printing. The drum is a rotating roller that is electrically charged. It is the drum that turns on itself receiving the impacts of the laser that draws on the roller the image with electropositive points.

  1. The drum of the printer prepares the paper so that the laser can act.
  2. The laser draws the image on the paper.
  3. The toner remains attached to the drawn image.


The laser printer was invented by Gary Starkweather during the 1970s and first marketed in 1977. Since then many improvements have been made to make them more efficient and of better quality. With the laser printer we can increase productivity or save money because of its low power consumption.

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