Today, compatible printer ink cartridges and toners are so advanced that the only difference most people will notice is the money you can save. This guide will cover everything you need to know so you can make an informed choice, saving money while keeping quality high.
The first step is to understand the terminology. A genuine (or branded or original) printer ink cartridge or toner is one made by the printer manufacturer itself. For example, if the brand of your printer is Epson, a genuine printer cartridge would be an Epson cartridge. You can often verify genuine printer cartridges as they are branded with an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). On the other hand, a compatible (or unbranded or third-party) cartridge or toner is not made by the printer manufacturer. Instead, it's made by a third-party company like Cartridge Save.
When delving into the world of genuine vs compatible cartridges, you may also come across the term ‘remanufactured cartridges’. Unlike genuine or compatible cartridges - which have never been used before - remanufactured cartridges have been used, returned, cleaned and refilled to produce a ‘new’ cartridge. Often a remanufactured cartridge is still referred to as a 'compatible' cartridge.
Are compatible printer cartridges any good?
The biggest difference between original and compatible print cartridges and toners is price. This is because well-known brands have substantial overheads, such as marketing and branding, they have to pass onto the customer. Compatible manufacturers don’t incur these costs. Meaning they can afford to charge much less.
Our top tip though is to make sure you find out about the company who manufactures the compatible cartridge first, before hitting buy. Especially if the price seems too good to be true. Check their Trustpilot and Facebook pages: do they feel like a company you can trust?
So why are people still buying genuine cartridges and toners? One of the main reasons is perception. People often perceive own brand as better quality but it isn’t true. Results show compatible cartridges often have the same printing quality as the genuine cartridges, with compatible cartridges much lower in cost.
The quality of your printing does not have to decrease alongside the price. Compatible cartridges are a cost-effective way of fulfilling your printing needs; on average an office worker will print 10,000 pages per year so by switching from genuine to compatible ink and toner cartridges, the savings made can be huge!
Trouble using compatible cartridges?
There is a common misconception that using compatible cartridges can affect your printer and it’s warranty. However, if your machine breaks or faults within warranty and you were using a compatible cartridge, you’d have just as much of a right to technical assistance as a person using a genuine cartridge.
If you’re having trouble using compatible cartridges, there could be numerous reasons why...
Cartridge protection is enabled: Some printers have ‘cartridge protection’ enabled, meaning any compatible cartridge is prevented from working. This is a feature that can be switched off and will allow a compatible cartridge to be used.
The cartridge hasn’t been inserted correctly: There is a slim chance your ink cartridge wasn’t inserted into the printer correctly. Simply lift the cartridge cover, ensure your cartridge has been properly clicked into place, close the cover and try once again.
Internal memory reset needed: When a new cartridge is inserted into your printer, it should be automatically recognised and reset the printer’s internal memory; meaning full ink and toner levels are displayed. If this has not happened, an internal memory reset will be needed.
As previously mentioned, saving on the cost should not come at the cost of compromising the quality of your printing.