Auto-Toner or Buying My Own- Which is Right for Me?

Submitted by Magye Swenson on Mon, 10/04/2021 - 09:43
xerox toner shipments

Buying copier/printer toner can be confusing. Most boxes look the same, there are so many different types, and it’s hard to keep track of when you’re running low, leaving you with an empty cartridge in the middle of a workday.  

After being in the copier/printer industry for over 35 years, we’ve seen all of the different problems and mistakes that can be made when it comes to buying toner- and we’ve seen the best ways to ensure your organization will have exactly what it needs.  

Deciding whether or not to sign a maintenance agreement can be a big decision for some businesses, but having toner automatically shipped straight to your door is oftentimes the biggest deciding factor. We’ve written this article to help you figure out if auto-toner shipments make sense for your printing needs, or if you’d rather just go out and buy your own toner.  

What Are Auto-Toner Shipments? 

Auto-toner shipments are a service that comes with most maintenance plans, in order to make sure that you always have toner when you need it. Instead of having to go out and buy your own toner, it’s automatically shipped right to your doorstep whenever your toner levels are running low. This way you also don’t have to worry about keeping track of your toner levels yourself, which can be a hassle, especially if you have more than one machine.  

For auto-toner shipments to work, an app is installed onto a computer, which is programmed to read the amount of toner left in the machine. When the toner runs low, the manufacturer will be alerted, and the toner will be shipped straight to your door.  


The biggest pro with auto-toner shipment is that you don’t have to worry about replenishing your toner supplies yourself. You don’t need someone to keep track and monitor toner levels, and you don’t need to go out and find toner yourself and figure out the part numbers (which is confusing, to say the least).  

Having auto-toner shipments also ensures that you’re getting the highest quality toner available, and it will always be the correct one for your machines. Toner shipments include OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) toner, which are made and tested to work for your machine specifically, so you won’t have to worry that you’re buying the wrong toner as well. Here’s a great article to understand the different types of toners, and why OEM is the best option. 

Finally, auto-toner shipments will save you money in the long run by eliminating costly ordering mistakes and having toner that sits on a shelf, never to be used.   


The drawback with auto-toner shipments is that they do require you to sign a contract, which will last for the duration of your lease. Some businesses might be hesitant of signing contracts, for a variety of reasons, but we can assure you that working with an experienced business consultant will ensure you get the contract length that best suits your needs.  

Leasing contracts also include maintenance plans, which cover the costs of parts and labor for all machine-related services, so not only are you getting toner shipped to you, but you also have the security of knowing an experienced technician will be able to help you if anything goes wrong.  

When Would It Make Sense for Me to Enroll?

Just about everyone can benefit from auto-toner shipments, but it’s especially useful for organizations with more than one device, and with a high monthly print volume. This way you don’t have to log each machine’s toner levels and keep track of all the different toner types that each machine needs.  

If you’re unfamiliar with copier/printer toner and all the different types that correspond with certain devices, then it might be easier to enroll in auto-toner shipments so that you don’t have to worry about purchasing the wrong toner for your machine, or even running out in the middle of a workday.  

When Should I Just Buy My Own?

If your organization has some big print jobs coming up, or you know that your print volume is increasing rapidly, then you might feel secure owning some backup toner, just to make sure you have enough to finish the job. This is a pretty rare scenario however and can usually be accounted for through most auto-toner shipment plans.  

If you only have one desktop-sized printer, with a low monthly print volume, then it’s likely that you’ll be just fine purchasing your own toner, as long as you’re familiar with the four types of toners, and which one is right for your device.  

What's Next?

Now that you know the benefits and drawbacks of auto-toner shipments, you can have a better idea of which options are best suited for your printing needs. If you’re curious and want to learn more on auto-toner shipments, then you can read our articles Auto-Toner Shipments Explained: What is On-Hand Balance, and Benefits of Investing in a Maintenance Plan for Your Multifunction Printer.  

New call-to-action