Original, Compatible or Refurbished Ink and Toner Cartridges

Often in the world of inks and toners things aren’t as simple as they could be. In fact, you’ll probably find there are a few grey areas! (pun intended)

In this article we’ll try to bust a few myths about the cartridge supplies industry, explore the different types of ink and toner cartridges available and explain how they can help your business.

Original Toners and Ink Cartridges

Original toners and ink are, as the name suggests, “original” and made by the original manufacturer of the equipment or OEM, if you want to sound really smart at dinner parties.

These types of cartridge will often have a live patent protecting the cartridge’s design which means other manufacturers won’t be able to make copies of the cartridge.

As a general rule you can’t go wrong with original inks and toners. They’re reliable, offer good toner yield however are considerably more expensive than their compatible and remanufactured counterparts.

Tip: When ordering ink or toner cartridges online check your cartridge arrives wrapped in the manufacturer’s original packaging. If it doesn’t then it’s probably not an original product.

Compatible Toners and Ink Cartridges

Compatible cartridges, otherwise known as generic cartridges will also work with your equipment. Just like original cartridges, compatible cartridges are made from new, however they’ve not been made by the original equipment manufacturer.

Compatible cartridges are often produced when the original equipment manufacturer fails to secure a patent or their current patent expires. This allows other manufacturers to design and release compatible cartridges onto the market.

You’re far more likely to find compatible inks and toner cartridges of equipment that’s been on the market for a few years.

Compatible inks and toners are a considerably more cost effective option when compared to original cartridges. The majority of companies in the print industry claim you can save up to 30% on your printing costs, so it’s definitely worth looking into.

Quality and toner yield can vary with compatible cartridges. To combat this some compatible manufacturers offer a warranty or quality guarantee giving you reassurance that you’re buying a quality product.

Remanufactured Toners and Ink Cartridges

Remember that “grey area” we spoke about earlier? Well, this is it! Remanufactured toner cartridges, also know as recycled or refilled cartridges are the “second hand car sale” of the cartridge world.

What I mean by that is you can still get very good value for money however quality does vary so there are a few things you’ll have to look out for.

Remanufactured, recycled and refilled cartridges are not a new original product.

Recycled cartridges are made from reusing the parts and components of pre existing toner cartridges. There is no specific remanufacturing process used to create a recycled toner cartridge.

Refilled cartridges are named after the remanufacturing process used to make them. To refill a cartridge the manufacturer will drill or punch a hole to gain access to the toner or ink container. They then refill the container with new ink or toner. Once the container is refilled the last step is to seal the hole. Some manufacturers will replace components in a refilled cartridge to help extend its duty cycle.

Cheap ink and toner cartridges will often be a refilled cartridge as they’re relatively inexpensive to manufacture when compared to making originals. You can see significant savings, however quality and reliability can be compromised. Remember, the original cartridge was never designed for remanufacturing or to exceed its original duty cycle.

Managed Print Service – MPS

Tip: If you have a contract or managed print service (MPS) agreement for the printers and photocopiers in your office we suggest you read the terms and conditions of your service agreement as these will often dictate the type of consumables you’re permitted to use in your equipment.

Frequently asked questions:

Should I use original toner and ink cartridges in my printer?
Can I use compatible toners in my printer?
Which type of ink or toner cartridge is best for my business?
Should I use cheap ink and toner in my printer?