As printer cartridge prices continue to soar, it’s no wonder that people are investing more in refilled toner cartridges than the manufacturer’s OEM cartridges. However, the question of whether the quality of a refilled cartridge is comparable to that of the OEM cartridge is one that comes up often.
The printer manufacturers are downplaying the idea of refilled cartridges, stating that they do not work with their products. Users, however, are proving that these refilled cartridges are working. So, who is right?
Today, we are going to take a closer analysis of the true answer. But, before we can start talking about the quality of cartridges, you need to get your back story on how the printer manufacturers work. Have you ever noticed how OEM, original equipment manufacturer, cartridges are almost as expensive as the printer itself?
The Sales Tactic Of Printer Manufacturers
Printer manufacturers, such as HP, will sell printers at a very low-profit margin. They want to get consumers to buy their product so that they are committed to purchasing ink cartridges to specially fit that printer. The ink cartridges are where the manufacturers make their real money.
This fact leads many consumers to the assumption that places like HP are not condoning the use of refilled cartridges simply for the reason that they don’t want to lose money. This seems completely feasible, however, are refilled cartridges really working?
What Are Consumers Saying?
All it takes is a simple search on Google to find tons of places selling refilled cartridges or do-it-yourself refilling kits. These aren’t too difficult to use and if you have a problem there are a plethora of videos on Youtube that can easily walk you through the process.
Many consumers are standing by the fact that these cartridges work just like the manufacturers OEM cartridges. They say that refilling your own cartridges can save you a ton of money as compared to the OEM cartridges by the manufacturers. A simple comparison in price between refilled cartridges and OEM cartridges can prove this point.
How Do Refilled Cartridges Work?
Refilled cartridges are based on the logic of simply fixing what a spent printer cartridge is lacking, the ink. By injecting more ink into the cartridge that is out of ink, you can essentially give it life again. This seems pretty simple, but is there more to it?
The cartridges that you will be refilling are typically those that you originally got from the manufacturer. This means that by refilling the ink that was low, the cartridge still works the same so you should get the same high-quality print job. This refilling process assumes that all other parts of the cartridge are in working condition.
It’s possible that another component of the printer cartridge may fail after the cartridge is refilled. Each printer cartridge comes with many parts, including the OPC drum, transfer roller, magnetic roller, primary charge roller, and sensor bar, just to name a few. It’s very likely these parts will eventually fail.
Should You Refill
The choice of whether to refill your ink cartridge or not is really up to you. It’s likely that you can get away with refilling your cartridge a time or two before the internal components of the toner cartridge malfunction. However, realize that you are always taking a risk of the cartridge failing at some point while it is using the refilled ink.
By refilling your OEM cartridges you can save yourself a lot of money and stop the cartridge from going to the landfill. Just be sure you understand the fact that you are not likely going to be able to continue to refill your OEM cartridge forever.
The price of printer cartridges is getting extravagantly high as manufacturers continue to exploit consumers who have opted for purchasing their printers. In fact, most consumers can purchase a printer for less than the cost of the toner cartridge that it uses.
If you take a look at the cost of home printers, they typically range in the $30 to $50 range. If you look at the cost of the printer cartridge that the printer uses, you will see a price tag between $50 and $80. That’s just for one printer cartridge, not both the black and color cartridges. The price comparison of the printer to the cartridges of the commercial printing machines are even more drastically different.
This has led many to question the use of refilling cartridges as compared to purchasing new ones. We are going to look deeper into the advantages and disadvantages of refilling old printer cartridges below.
What Are The Advantages?
- Save Money When you opt to buy a refilled ink cartridge you can get it for a small price as compared to that of the original toner cartridge for sale by the manufacturer. This is the biggest reason why consumers are swaying more towards refilled cartridges as compared to the original equipment. In addition, those who opt for refilling kits can save even more money. With at home refilling kits it’s possible to refill the same cartridges many times. This will save you a bundle of money in the long run as compared to purchasing new cartridges every time you run out.
- More Environmentally Friendly When you opt for refilling your toner cartridge, you are saving it from the landfill. Think of refilling a toner cartridge as simply recycling it for your own use. While some companies will offer recyclable bags for their toner cartridges, many consumers will not take the time to properly dispose of the cartridge. Most people who don’t refill their cartridges just chuck the old cartridge in the trash and buy a new one. This creates a lot of cartridge waste in the landfill that can be avoided with simply refilling and reusing the cartridges.
What Are The Disadvantages?
While there are many benefits to refilling ink cartridges, there are some downfalls to this process as well. Let’s take a look at these below.
- Can Be Unreliable While refilling ink cartridges can save a consumer a great deal of money as compared to buying new OEM cartridges, there is always the possibility the refill will not work. In some cases, the internal parts of the cartridge can malfunction or break leading to a cartridge that doesn’t effectively work. Some cartridges will allow for a good four to five refills before ever needing to be replaced, assuming no internal parts fail. Others you may have to replace after one refill. The reliability of whether the refill will last long enough for the ink to be used or not is somewhat questionable.
- Time Consuming For Newbies For those who are new to refilling toner cartridges, the process can take a good fifteen minutes plus cleanup time. While some of the more modern refill kits fit better with the brand, allowing for less of a mess, there is still a learning curve. If you don’t have a lot of patience, you may be better off spending the extra money for OEM cartridges instead of messing around refilling the ones you have got.
As you have seen above, the practice of refilling toner cartridges has its advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your lifestyle and the way your printer gets used, refilling or buying OEM cartridges may be better for you.
We’ve all been there. You finally figure out the number on the printer cartridge that you need to replace. Now, it’s smooth sailing as you jump online to enter the cartridge number and the brand name. Then suddenly you’re bombarded with choices. Should you get OEM, compatible, refilled, or remanufactured toner cartridges?
If you are like most people, you probably have no real idea what the difference is between these cartridges. Should you go with the cheapest, or will it not work right? Well, we are going to help you better understand what all of these options are and assist you in discovering the perfect cartridge for your printing needs.
What Is An OEM Cartridge?
Most people have heard this term used for car parts, but not in the toner world. OEM simply stands for original equipment manufacturer. If you purchased an HP printer, then the OEM cartridge would be manufactured by HP to specifically go with that printer. These cartridges operate in accordance with the printer to bring you the most precise and high-quality print job possible.
The OEM cartridges may be the best quality to put in your printer, however, they are the most expensive. Other generic brands can provide close to the same quality level of printing for much less than the cost of the OEM cartridges. It’s important to realize how the printer manufacturer strategies their income from their products.
A manufacturer, such as HP or Brother, will typically sell a printer for a low price. Their profit margin is very slim on the selling of these printers. They bank on the fact that you, as the printer owner, will be back to purchase many cartridges in the future. This is why the printer cartridges are typically priced extremely high as compared to the original cost of the printer.
What Is A Compatible Cartridge?
Compatible cartridges are the cheaper, generic versions of the OEM cartridges. This is like buying the off-brand of any other product at the store. As with most generic products, your choice can be hit or miss. Some may come with good quality printing comparable to the OEM cartridge, while others may come with a less than satisfactory printing job.
It’s important to opt for a brand that has a good history of compatible cartridges. Brands like inkpal.com have shown their ability to produce high-quality toner cartridges that are comparable to the OEM cartridges. If you can find the right compatible brand then you can save yourself a fortune on printer cartridges as you don’t have to buy the expensive OEM cartridges.
What Is A Remanufactured Cartridge?
A remanufactured cartridge is provided by a company who simply refills the OEM plastic printer cartridge shell with more ink for printing. The best remanufacturing companies will disassemble, clean out, and then test the cartridge before they refill it.
Other companies will simply drill a hole in the top of the cartridge and put in more ink. This can work for a while, however, the quality of the parts withholding another round of printing is dependent on the original manufacturer’s quality of the printer cartridge shell.
These remanufactured cartridges typically provide a printing quality that is even with the OEM cartridge. You can buy these cartridges for much cheaper than the OEM cartridges. This is a more environmentally friendly way of recycling old printer cartridges.
What Is A Refilled Printer Cartridge?
As we discussed with the remanufactured cartridges above, some companies will simply inject new toner into the printer cartridge and resell it. Companies that openly admit to doing this sell what are known as refilled printer cartridge. These are much cheaper than all the other printer cartridge options that we have discussed.
However, with the lower price comes lower quality. Some of these cartridges fail before ever printing, while others may only print a few times before they stop working. Refilled printer cartridges are not always reliable to use, however, due to their cheap price some individuals opt for using these. They find that if one doesn’t work they will still be spending less money by purchasing an extra refilled cartridge as compared to a remanufactured, OEM, or comparable cartridges.
What Should You Buy?
The answer to this question is really up to you. We’ve discussed each cartridge’s positives and negatives. To find the best toner cartridge you will need to fit the type to your lifestyle.
For those who rely heavily on their printer’s quality and efficiency, you should go strictly with OEM cartridges. This will ensure you get the best quality print job that your printer is capable of. In addition, you can be assured that your printer cartridge will not have any malfunctions which could slow down your printer jobs.
For those who need a reliable cartridge but don’t require extremely high quality, you can benefit more for the compatible cartridges. These will allow you to get a nice print job without ever having to worry about a failure of the printing cartridge. You will also get to save some money in the process.
For those who are more worried about price and don’t heavily rely on their printer, the remanufactured option is best. This will allow you to save money on the printer cartridges while only dealing with a few hiccups if you purchase a remanufactured cartridge from a non-reputable dealer.
For those who are strictly worried about price and don’t mind dealing with some printing problems, the refilled ink cartridges are right for you. These are extremely cheap as compared to all the other options. However, realize that you may have to deal with broken cartridges more often than you would with the other options.