The Difference Between a Toner Cartridge and a Drum Unit

Feb 07, 2020

The Difference Between a Toner Cartridge and a Drum Unit

We know that when we send a print job to a printer, we get whatever we requested on the page—but how? Well, two primary components of the printer are the toner cartridge and the drum unit—and no, it’s not a percussive instrument. So, let’s get into the difference between a toner cartridge and a drum unit.

A Brief Explanation of How Laser Printers Work

Laser printers operate by static electricity which signals to the drum unit to begin rolling. From there, the laser begins to draw the print job using a small beam of light. Once drawn, the printer will coat the drum with the powder—toner. The drum then rotates and pulls a page through to press the toner into the desired drawing from the laser to create the print. In very simple terms, that’s how laser printers do their job. So, what’s the deal with these drum units and toner cartridges?

The Toner Cartridge

These cartridges contain a powder that ultimately becomes your text or image. The powder is primarily plastic particles that remain in a reservoir until an electrostatic charge attracts the particles to the paper. The toner cartridge is the part you’ll replace on your printer because it’s consumable, while you don’t change the drum unit nearly as often.

The Drum Unit

While it’s not the component with the color, the drum unit is the component that makes the text or image stick to the page. For instance, the drum unit is the width of the printer—usually the width of a standard piece of paper. Once it triggers the static electricity, the laser can perform its sketch. From here, the drum has a rolling mechanism that attracts toner particles to appropriate spots on the page based on the static electricity formed by the laser’s sketch.

In general, the toner particles are a negative charge while the drum unit is a positive charge. Hence the attraction through electrostatic charges. Most individuals aren’t familiar with the drum unit since it lasts longer than toner cartridges, but that’s because the cartridges have a limited amount of toner inside them. In other words, toner cartridges are consumables while drum units aren’t. However, toner cartridges are expensive if you’re getting them from the manufacturer or office stores, and they take a toll on the environment. That’s why creates remanufactured toner cartridges that are just as good as the manufacturer’s, but a fraction of the cost. If you need to replace your Dell, HP, Brother, Epson, or Samsung toner cartridge, we have them all!