Where should you go to buy remanufactured ink or toner cartridges?
You may have seen and heard many printer suppliers offer their ‘own brand’ ink and toner cartridges as an alternative to the original manufacturers product. Maybe you’ve even considered buying remanufactured cartridges yourself?
The big question is, are they actually any good and are they worth the risk? Do they produce the same level of quality as cartridges built by the original manufacturer? We’re going to answer all your questions and more.
Here’s what you’ll learn on this page:
- What does Original, OEM, remanufactured, own brand and compatible mean?
- Should you take the risk and buy a compatible ink or toner cartridge?
- In truth, how reliable are compatible / remanufactured inks or toners?
Before we begin, it’s useful to define some of the terminology that’ll be used in this post:
Original/Original Manufacturers’ Product/OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)– this is a cartridge that is produced by the same manufacturer as your printer. So if your printer is a HP machine, this cartridge will be made by HP.
Remanufactured/Own Brand/Compatible– these are remanufactured from previously used original ink and toner cartridges. The empty cartridges are sent back to a remanufacturing plant, where the cartridge housing is refurbished. Most of the internal components are replaced and the cartridge is refilled with new ink toner. They’re often sold under the retailers own brand label. They may also be referred to as compatible i.e. they’re compatible with your HP/Brother/Canon etc. printer. Lastly, compatible can be used to describe a third party toner cartridge where the whole product is brand new including toner / ink housing but was not made by the original printer manufacturer.
Let’s look at your printing requirements…
If you are considering buying a compatible ink or toner then think about what you will be printing and what result you would like. Below you’ll find some examples of printer usage. Have a look and see which one applies to you the most and whether a remanufactured/compatible cartridge will be up to the job.
Do you print in mono (black only)?
If you only print in mono, own brand ink and toner is very much a match for the original. Mono printing is less demanding, especially if you are only printing text on the page ad if what you’re printing out doesn’t need to be flawless then a compatible is a good choice.
Is your printer only used for internal communications?
If this is the case, then an own brand ink and toner would be perfect and a more cost effective option.
Do you print letters or documents for external communication purposes?
If you do, and these have blocks of colour such as a letterhead, or they contain some colour images, using a good quality own brand cartridge will give you good results providing that you purchase one from a reputable supplier with an acceptable guarantee of quality.
What if you print full colour documents, including flyers or brochures?
This is trickier. I certainly know of customers that print high quality documents using a remanufactured cartridge but I’d always recommend that you run a small trial before producing thousands of pages of output.
When it comes to the highest quality printing or where you are printing for commercial purposes, it’s a real challenge to match the consistency of colour output which you get from the original manufacturers’ product.
If you answered yes to most of these a lot of the time then you should have considered buying remanufactured cartridges a lot sooner!
Compatible/remanufactured/own brand ink and toner cartridges aren’t ‘better than’ their OEM counterparts. However, they do offer a high quality, cost effective alternative and, in most print applications, will do a great job for you.
Source: Toner Giant