Toner Cartridges: Should you use Remanufactured or Compatibles?


Toner cartridges come in a variety of flavours now under the banner of original and non-original with all kinds of claims on both sides so which one is right for you?


Brief History of Toner Cartridges


The initial creation that gave rise to the laser printer and toner cartridge was patented in 1938. Dry printing was utilized in the “electro photography” process, which is not all that dissimilar from modern laser printing. However, it wasn’t until 1948 that electro photography was usable for commercial purposes.


The Xerox 914, the first automatic copy machine, which employed dry printing, was introduced in 1959. The perfected technology was put to use in 1978 to meet the demands of both businesses and individuals for computer printing. The Xerox 9700 laser printer, which required a toner cartridge, was physically enormous and expensive, making it unaffordable for everyone but the wealthy.


In 1984, when Hewlett Packard started selling the “LaserJet” printer, everything changed. Although it could occasionally be a little dirty, the changeable toner cartridge that came with this printer was simple to change. The true issue was that users of LaserJet printers had heaps of pricey but empty toners heaped wherever they could find a place to store the toner cartridges.


Environmentally conscious designers rapidly found a solution to this issue by remanufacturing the laser toner cartridge. As a result, employing laser printers became much less expensive.


What’s happening today?….

Nowadays we have the luxury of having a laser printer on our desk at home if we want that type of printing. The as well as the initial outlay for the printer has become quite affordable and provides a unique, very professional looking print out.


Today, several businesses produce laser printers, and their cost is just somewhat higher than that of the typical ink printer (though colour laser printers are still quite expensive the gap is getting smaller). The price of laser toner cartridges has decreased, making it affordable to operate a laser printer both at home and at the office. When you consider the greater number of pages you receive for your money (the industry refers to this as “cents per page,” or CPP), the toners are typically substantially less expensive.


Basically there are 2 types of cartridges, originals and non-originals and there are 2 types of non-originals being compatibles and remanufactured (this goes for inks also as does the information below). Otherwise known as non genuine, after market this is how they work:-


Compatibles are actually a brand new cartridge manufactured to work in the same way (without breaking the trademark, copy protection laws) as the same original cartridge with the same machines. The benefit you gain from these is obviously cost savings with at times massive savings up to around 50%. The downside is they are not as environmentally friendly as remanufactured toners and there are the occasional failures and complaints about lower quality (though failure rates for the top companies making these are within industry norms and not significantly higher than those of the original manufacturers themselves).


Remanufactured toners, on the other hand, are a little different since they take an empty original (which ought to have been used just ONCE) and fill it with toner. If you purchase it from a reliable shop, it will have also been inspected to see if any parts or toner need to be refilled or changed. Like with compatibles, you can save money by utilizing an empty original, but the environment benefits greatly from this as well because you are helping to “close the loop.” The same rules that apply above also apply to quality and mistakes (both negligible in my experience as a retailer in this industry).


NOTE: Empty toner cartridge disposal is a problem everywhere because the plastic they are constructed of takes so long to degrade and because of the toxicity of the toner they contain. There are programs accessible in many nations today that allow you to get rid of your empties without simply dumping them in the trash. In fact, if you look about, you may find that a business will pay you for them since they want a steady flow of empty containers so they can remanufacture them.


Something to keep in mind….

Make sure you choose the correct laser toner cartridge when you buy a remanufactured laser toner cartridge by carefully reading the box. Remanufactured toner cartridges are frequently not wrapped in flashy, colorful boxes like major brands, so the first time you buy one, the box can seem completely different or quite basic. However, they are also less expensive than toners with the name brands.


The bottom line….

If you purchase your home/office supplies from a reputable merchant, they should have a clear policy in place that addresses both defective toners and what happens if a cartridge somehow damages your machine (this would be very unusual by the way). This policy should provide you with a full guarantee to have the equipment repaired as soon as possible at no cost to you in certain instances.


When my clients ask me for advice, I always propose they try a non-original to judge the quality, etc. for themselves. The key, in any case, is to be able to discuss your options with a person you can trust so that, at the very least, if something goes wrong, the folks you bought from won’t have fled the country.


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