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A toner cartridge is the part of a laser printer that stores the toner that is used to create text and images on the printed page. Toner cartridges come in four colors – cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
Toner is a dry powder with plastic components that is able to adhere to the drum and to the page once it is given an electrical charge. Each color of toner is stored in a separate cartridge that needs to be replaced every few thousand pages, depending on the page coverage, the average print load and the size of the cartridge.
Most cartridges are available in two versions – OEM and compatible. OEM is an abbreviation for original equipment manufacturer and means that the cartridge comes from the same manufacturer as the printer. Compatible cartridges are made by a third-party manufacturer to reduce costs.
When you are running low on toner, your printer will let you know by each color. Output pages will appear faded and spots may appear as the toner becomes low.