All‐in‐One (AIO): An inkjet printer that offers multiple functions. All‐in‐one printers can scan, copy, fax and print and are commonly used in a home office or small business.
Capacity: The amount of ink or toner that is contained within a cartridge.
Charging Roller: A long cylinder inside of toner drums that transfers an electrical charge to the photoconductor.
Chip: A small board of circuits that stores information for communication between the cartridge and the printer.
Clip: A plastic holder that protects the contacts or printhead of a cartridge during transit. You will need to remove the clip before installing your cartridge.
CMY: stands for cyan, magenta and yellow. These three colors work together to create color prints. A lot of printer manufacturers will sell a three pack of CMY ink cartridges, which typically includes one of each color.
CMYK: stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black, and are the four most common inks used in the majority of printers. Black is typically abbreviated as “K” in the printer business. A lot of printer manufacturers will sell a four pack of CMYK ink cartridges, which typically includes one of each color.
Combo Pack: A package of ink or toner that includes multiple cartridges.
Compatible: A brand new cartridge built by a third party manufacturer that’s designed to fit and function in a certain printer. Due to patent laws on OEM cartridges, some compatible cartridges may look structurally different than an original cartridge, but they are designed to work with your machine.
Contacts: The copper dots on the cartridge printhead or chip that communicate with the printer when it makes contact inside the machine. These contacts are very sensitive and you should avoid touching them.
Corona Wire: The wires in a printer that project an electrostatic charge onto the photoconductor unit to attract laser toner to each sheet of paper.
Carriage: A cradle in an inkjet printer where the inkjet cartridges are loaded. The carriage keeps the cartridges in place while moving horizontally them across the page.
Cyan (C): A shade of blue.
Dots Per Inch (DPI): The number of individual dots of ink that an inkjet printer can distribute within a square inch of paper.
Driver: Printer, scanner or copier software that makes communication between the device and computer possible.
Drum: A large cylinder in a laser printer that transfers the toner to the paper. Some drums are incorporated with the toner cartridge while others are sold separately as a drum unit.
Duplex: Double‐sided printing.
Duty Cycle: The maximum number of pages you can print in a given month.
Dye Based Ink: Water‐based ink used in inkjet printers that is more susceptible to damage from water and light than pigment‐based ink but that mixes more easily for more accurate colors.
Firmware: Software that runs in a printer, scanner, or copier and controls the device’s operation.
Font: A set of characters that are same size and style.
Fuser Roller: A laser printer’s cylindrical roller that applies heat to the toner so that the text or image sticks to the page.
Ghosting: Refers to the repeated appearance of an image or text several times on a printed page.
High Yield: The higher capacity version of an ink or toner cartridge. High yield cartridges contain more ink than a standard cartridge, giving you more prints.
Ink Tank: An ink cartridge with no printhead or chip. The printhead is a part of the printer itself and works with the ink tank to produce a print.
Inkjet Cartridge: A cartridge that works with an inkjet printer to deliver drops of ink onto paper to produce images and text.
Inkjet Printer: A printer that uses inkjet cartridges to produce a print.
Integrated Cartridge: An ink cartridge in which the printhead is found on the cartridge itself instead of being located within the printer.
ISO: stands for International Organization for Standardization. Printer manufacturers base their page yield on print standards developed by the ISO in order to ensure fairness across all makes and models.
Label Printer: a compact printer that only prints on label stock.
Laser Printer: A printer that uses static electricity and heat to bond particles of toner to a page.
Light Black: A shade of black typically used in photo printers that require different gradations of black.
Maintenance Kit: A kit that includes specific replacement parts for your printer. Certain parts in your printer can get worn over time. To continue getting a desired quality, you will need to replace these parts with a maintenance kit. Your printer will usually prompt you when a part needs to be replaced. Depending on your printer, your maintenance kit might include a fuser assembly, transfer rollers, pickup rollers, separation pads, corona assembly, and a fan assembly.
Matte Black: A shade of black typically used in photo printers that require different gradations of black.
Magenta (M): Shade of red.
Monochrome Printer: A printer that prints in only one color; usually black.
MICR Toner: MICR stands for magnetic ink character recognition. It is a special magnetic toner used by banks to process routing and account numbers on checks.
Non‐Integrated Cartridge: A cartridge that serves simply as a housing for ink and does not include a printhead. The printhead is built into the printer and the cartridge communicates to the printhead via a chip.
Nozzle plate: A plate containing a series of small holes that eject ink to form text or an image.
Network Printer: A printer that is connected to multiple workstations on a network.
OEM: stands Original Equipment Manufacturer. It is the brand new, name‐brand version of a particular cartridge (like HP, Canon or Brother).
Old Generation/New Generation: In order to make aftermarket cartridges difficult to use, certain manufacturers will attempt to do a firmware update on your printer. This update might cause some cartridges to no longer work in your printer. If an “older generation cartridge installed” message on your printer is preventing you from printing, contact the supplier. If you ordered a compatible cartridge, you may need to request a “second generation” cartridge in order to continue printing. The second generation cartridge will have an updated chip that is designed to work around the firmware update and counteract the “old generation” error message.
PPI: stands for pixels per inch. The more pixels you have in a given area, the finer the detail.
Pages Per Minute (PPM): the number of pages a printer can completely print within 60 seconds. Print speeds are based on the type of document you are printing.
Paper Capacity: The number of sheets of paper that a printer tray can hold.
Paper Guides: Plastic dividers that hold the paper in a printer’s paper tray. These can be adjusted to fit different paper sizes and types.
Page Yield: The estimated number of pages that can be printed from a cartridge under specific conditions. Every ink cartridge is subjected to page yield testing based on ISO/IEC 24711 specifications. This test helps determine what the page yield of an ink cartridge will be, giving customers a reliable way to compare competing products.
Photo Black (PBk): Shades of black used for photographs which allow for variable color combinations.
Photo Cyan (PC)/ Light Cyan (LC): Lighter shades of blue which allow for more color combinations when printing photographs.
Photo Magenta (PM)/ Light Magenta (LM): Lighter shades of red which allow for more color combinations when printing photographs.
Pigment Based Ink: Ink that is water resistant and fade resistant. Pigment based ink is typically found in black cartridges but there are a number of professional grade photo printers that also use pigment based color ink cartridges as well.
Postage Meter: A printer that prints paid postage labels on envelopes and packages, eliminating the need for individual stamps.
Prime: The process of preparing the cartridges for printing by pulling the ink from the foam or ink reservoir to the nozzles; a regular operation within the printer that can also be manually performed.
Print Driver: The software that enables the operating system to operate the printer.
Printhead: A board of electronic circuits and nozzles that control the ejection of ink drops.
Print Quality: A description of how the quality of the printed pages appears.
Print Resolution: The quantity of data capable of being printed; measured in dots per inch (dpi).
Queue: A temporary lineup of print requests waiting to be printed on a printer.
Refill Kit: Refill kits allow you to personally refill an OEM (printer brand) cartridge with ink so it can be used again. Not all cartridges can be refilled, be sure to double check your printer compatibility before purchasing a refill kit.
Remanufactured: A remanufactured inkjet or toner cartridge is a cartridge which has been serviced, cleaned, refilled with toner or ink and possibly had a few component parts repaired or replaced.
Shelf Life: The estimated length of time a cartridge will last in its sealed package.
Speed: How quickly black or color text is printed or copied. Copy speed is measured in copies per minute (cpm). Print speed is measured in pages per minute (ppm).
Standard Yield: The standard capacity version of an ink or toner cartridge. Standard cartridges contain less ink than ink than a high yield cartridge and are less expensive.
Solid Ink Sticks: An ink product that is similar to a crayon. Used primarily in specially designed Xerox printers, it prints vibrant colors without the potential mess of an inkjet cartridge.
Tank: A cartridge that does not have foam inside and consists either of a bag/lining or a series of channels and canals.
Toner: A powder used in laser printers for form printed text and images on the paper.
Tri‐Color: A cartridge that contains 3 different colors of ink in one cartridge; typically cyan, magenta and yellow.
Wide‐format Printer: A printer designed to handle paper sizes of 11x17 inches or larger. It is commonly used by designers or professional photographers.