Toner Cartridges - OEM, Compatible or Remanufactured?
If you own a laser printer, you have already taken a step in the right direction towards lower cost printing. Laser printers consistently produce prints at the lowest cost per page in the market. However, what you might not know is that laser printers can work with OEM brand toners as well as compatible and re-manufactured toners. But which one is best for YOU?
In this hub, I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each of the types of toner cartridges available, and hopefully provide you the information you need to make better informed buying decisions for your laser printer.
What is Toner?
Toner is made up of an electrically charged powder that contains pigment and plastic components that melt when the two drums constituting the fuser are heated and binds pigment on the paper. The toner does not smudge or bleed and can be used on all types of paper. Toner Wikipedia
Toner Cartridge Definitions
OEM Cartridge - An OEM Cartridge is one made by the Original Equipment Manufacturer, or OEM. If you own a Hewlett-Packard Laserjet printer, then the Hewlett-Packard brand is the OEM cartridge for your printer.
Compatible Toner Cartridge - A compatible toner cartridge is made by a 3rd party manufacturer and is made up of all new compatible parts. It is similar in quality to a OEM cartridge.
Remanufactured Toner Cartridge - A remanufactured toner cartridge is when a remanufacturer takes an original oem cartridge, disassembles it, tests and replaces any worn parts, fills it with toner and re-assembles.
There are many different levels and qualities of remanufactured toner cartridges and the terms compatible and remanufactured are often mistakenly interchanged. Some manufacturers will replace a few parts and call it compatible. Some manufacturers will drill a hole fill it with toner and call it remanufactured. Just be sure to purchase your toner cartridges from a reputable dealer that has a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Advantages of Buying OEM Toner Cartridges
OEM Toners are manufactured to the highest level of precision. These toners are ideal for providing the best print quality. They have a lower fail rate and have a lower probability of leaking toner in your printer. Printer manufacturers recommend that you use their toner cartridges and claim that the printer functions will be affected by other toner cartridges. They also claim the life of the laser printer is shortened by usage of unbranded toner cartridges. If your projects demand the absolute highest quality prints you should break out your pocketbook and spring for the OEM brand toner cartridges.
Disadvantages of Buying OEM Toner
The main disadvantage of buying OEM branded toner cartridges is the high cost.While they are economical because the cost per page is low, purchasing an OEM toner might cost you anywhere from $75 - $300. The initial cost of laser printers has come down but printer makers make up their low initial profit by in the cost of consumables, mainly toner and paper.
Another problem with OEM toner cartridges is the fact that we live in an Eco conscious world and discarding toner cartridges which are not biodegradable is an environmental hazard. Buying a remanufactured toner is more enviornmentally friendly.
Compatible and Remanufactured Cartridges - The Advantages
The biggest advantage of using compatible toner cartridges is they are low cost consumables. Compatible and Remanufactured toner cartridges are available for laser printers and give good quality printing at a lower cost often half the cost of the branded cartridge.
These recycled cartridges are eco friendly and do not render the non biodegradable cartridges useless. They are easily available online and there are online trade portals that specifically sell compatible toner cartridges.
All reputable online stores offer guarantees and warranties. There are compatible toner cartridges for most brands of laser printers and give good value for money. Print quality of both compatible and remanufactured toner cartridges is right up there just under the OEM brand toners.
Compatible and Remanufactured Cartridges - The Disadvantages
One of the major disadvantage of compatible and re-manufactured toner cartridges is quality control during the manufacturing processes. These cartridges are easy to re-manufacture and can be done in your own garage. When buying them online from an auction site or a less than reputable dealer, you never really know what you're going to get. Was the cartridge completely re-manufactured, or did they just "drill and fill" it? This disadvantage can be overcome buy buying from a reputable online store with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get references and buy from someone you can trust to back up their product.
So what do I choose?
The choice is yours. If you demand the highest quality 100% of the time, and it is within your budget, then by all means, purchase the OEM Toner cartridges for your printer.
However if replacing the toner cartridge with a compatible or remanufactured cartridge is more budget friendly, then feel confident that you can get nearly the same quailty, do something good for the environment and save a little money at the same time. OEM Brands are grand, but buying toner cartridges that are cheap doesn't have to make you weep. Go Green and save some Green.