Compatible Toner and Compatible Ink Cartridges

Expect big savings if you buy a Compatible Cartridge instead of the printer makers expensive original cartridges.

Third party ink and toner vendors have broken up the mini-monopolies of the printer makers. With a compatible cartridge you will have the possibility to continue printing with great results and save big bucks at the same time. 

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Other Cartridge Types:
Remanufactured Cartridges | OEM Cartridges

Compatible Cartridges and Remanufactured Cartridges are historically often grouped as Non Branded Cartridges. Nowadays, this distinction is not as important as compatible cartridges also often are remanufactured. The main advantage of buying non branded cartridges is that you can save up to 30-70 % in reduced cost compared to buying OEM / Original cartridges.

Compatible Cartridges FAQ:

1. What is a compatible cartridge?
2. How much can I save buying compatible cartridges?
3. Are you allowed to use a compatible cartridge in your printer?
4. What about the quality of compatible cartridges?
5. For what type of printing is compatible cartridges recommended?

What is a compatible cartridge?

A compatible cartridge is a cartridge that is not produced by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). These cartridges are designed to meet or in best case even exceed the standards set by the OEM in terms of performance, print quality and page yield. To achieve this, the making and quality level of the inkjet ink or laser toner is crucial.

Up until a couple of years ago, finding compatible cartridges for Epson, HP and Lexmark printers was hard. The reason was that printheads was costly and not all that easy to integrate into the cartridge making few compatible Epson cartridges to come out on the market. HP and Lexmark on the other hand had their cartridge design patented which effectively hindered cartridge copies to come out.

Nowadays, compatible cartridges are easy to find for all the larger printer brands such as Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Lexmark, Samsung and Xerox.

How much can I save buying compatible cartridges?

Huge savings can be done on printer cartridge costs by buying compatible cartridges instead of OEM cartridges. Compatible cartridges are also in general a bit cheaper than remanufactured cartridges.

InkGuides indexes well over 10.000 ink and toner cartridges from over 10 well known online ink stores. By segmenting cartridges into OEM/Compatible cartridges and printer brands we get the following results:

» Compatible ink are between 30%-70% cheaper compared to OEM ink
» Compatible toner are between 30%-60% cheaper compared to OEM toner

Individual results per printer brand follows below. Only the largest brands in terms of number of offered cartridges are listed.

Ink Cartridges
Printer Brand Cost Savings Compatible over OEM
Brother 73 %
Canon 72 %
HP 64 %
Epson 64 %
Lexmark 29 %

Toner Cartridges
Printer Brand Cost Savings Compatible over OEM
Canon 62 %
Lexmark 59 %
Xerox 47 %
HP 46 %
Konica Minolta 33 %

Source: InkGuides (Aug 2009)

Are you allowed to use a compatible cartridge in your printer?

You are allowed to use them in your printer and you will not void your warranty by using them.

This is clearly stated in the Magnusson-Moss Warranty act issued by the Federal Trade Commission. The printer maker cannot force you into only buying their cartridges, it’s up to you as a consumer to make the choice on what you want to buy.

What about the quality of compatible cartridges?

Third party ink producers don't have the financial resources to invest as heavily in R&D as the big printer manufacturers. Still, compatible cartridges holds good standard nowadays as independent research shows. A test by TrustedReviews showed that many users actually prefers the printing results from compatible cartridges while PC World showed that compatible cartridges most often yields more printouts than OEM cartridges. 

If you are worried over the quality of the compatible ink or toner please remember that it is not the only factor affecting the print quality. The capabilities of the printer and the quality of the printing paper also have significant impact on the end results.

Be sure to buy from ink stores that have a generous refund policy and back up your buy with a product guarantee.

For what type of printing is compatible cartridges recommended?

InkGuides general recommendation is to go with compatible cartridges if:

  • you mainly print text and graphics in black
  • you don't need to long term archive your printouts
  • you print in full color and does not strive for a 100% perfect print quality
  • a low cartridge price is of importance to you

Read about other available types of Ink Cartridges and Toner Cartridges:

 

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