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Genuine vs. remanufactured vs. compatible cartridges

If from time to time you are buying toner or ink cartridges, you have probably faced the dilemma of buying genuine, remanufactured or compatible product. Remanufactured cartridges are usually way cheaper than the genuine ones, but are they as good? Here are some tips which may help you to decide which one to buy next time.

Remanufactured cartridge – greener and cheaper

Environmentalists would always prefer a remanufactured one as remanufacturing or recycling cartridges is a great way to save the environment. And there is not much to argue about – using remanufactured cartridges is “a greener way” to consume rather than always buying the genuine ones and then just throwing them away. And, yes, it is usually a lot cheaper than the original cartridges. There is always a “but” of course and in this case “but” could mean quality. In short, if you are looking for a “greener” and cheaper option, go with remanufactured cartridges, although many may say you are sacrificing the quality. However, it is not always the case. Even though the same toner cartridges can be remanufactured multiple times, it does not mean it is going to be worse than the genuine one. 

Here are a few reasons you can get some karma points for buying a remanufactured cartridge: 

  • Helping the environment
  • Creating extra jobs (for people who remanufacture them)
  • Giving your money to smaller businesses rather than huge corporations

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Ink and Toner Cartridges

OEM or genuine cartridges are manufactured by the brand of your printer. Buying genuine cartridges is more expensive; however the quality of it will probably be the same as remanufactured one. If you want to save some money and be more eco-friendly you should probably go with a remanufactured cartridge, unless there are no options to choose from.

Remanufactured cartridges – what does it mean?

Buying remanufactured cartridge may sound as a safer option. As you can see, when cartridge is being remanufactured, majority of its parts are being replaced with the new ones and old parts are thoroughly cleaned. So you basically get a new cartridge. One of the cases where you have to be careful is buying a remanufactured (refilled) ink cartridge. Ink cartridges have print head dots which burn down after the cartridge was refilled once or twice. If print heads burn down, the printing quality will obviously get worse.  

If you are willing to see how remanufacturing process looks in more detail, feel free to watch this video.

Compatible cartridges

Compatible (also known as replacement or generic) cartridges are cartridges that are not made by manufacturers, but are still compatible with specific printers or other equipment. You may find that compatible cartridges are cheaper than genuine and even though compatible cartridges are not original, their quality can be as good.

How to make the right choice

It is totally up to you what kind of cartridge you are going to buy. If you are looking for a cheaper option, compatible or remanufactured ink or toner cartridges can be the way to go. However, some companies may sell you something that you are not intending to buy, therefore try to avoid buying products from the suppliers which do not specify toner cartridge condition.


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