Printer manufacturers spend a huge amount of time and money ensuring that their cartridges perform faultlessly with their own printing hardware. Hence, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) toner cartridges contain components of the highest quality and are often extremely expensive for consumers.
But what if you don’t have the funds to splash out on an OEM version every time your toner cartridge is running low? Are there any alternatives available?
Well, the answer is yes, and ultimately you have the choice between remanufactured or compatible toner cartridges.
WHAT IS A REMANUFACTURED TONER?
Well, the clue is in the title – they are OEM toner cartridges that have been recycled and then remanufactured, as shown in the video below.
To begin with, the original, newly recycled cartridge is cleaned and examined. If any parts are worn or broken, they are replaced before being filled with brand new toner powder. Finally, the newly remanufactured cartridge is sent for lengthy print testing before being sold.
WHAT IS A COMPATIBLE TONER?
Essentially, a compatible toner cartridge is a ‘mimic’ or ‘copy’ of an OEM version.
Unlike remanufactured versions, a compatible cartridge is made entirely from new parts, which are generally of poor quality in comparison to those used in OEM toner cartridges.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE IN QUALITY?
OEM toner cartridges are made with the highest quality and components to minimise any issues and ultimately, produce the highest quality print.
As remanufactured toner cartridges retain as many of these components as possible, they naturally preserve that high standard of printing.
Compatible cartridges are generally manufactured by those who have one goal – to produce them as cheaply as they physically can.
Naturally, this has a negative effect on quality as no components from an original cartridge are used. Instead, components are created, which mimic the functionality of those found in an original.
CAN EITHER DAMAGE MY PRINTER?
To say that you are much less likely to get damage to your printer when using remanufactured toners is a real understatement.
Remanufactured toner cartridges are made directly from original versions, meaning they preserve the original specifications. They are also tested vigorously (pictured) before being released to the consumer – reducing the chance of damage even further.
However, compatible toner cartridges are made to closely match the original and because of varying degrees of quality, some simply don’t meet (or come close to meeting) the OEM specifications.
In short, this means some compatible cartridges won’t fit your printer correctly, which can cause ink spills, and physically damage your printer.
WHAT ARE THE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF EACH?
45 million printer cartridges are sent to landfill in the UK every year – with a high volume of these being toners.
Recycling cartridges undoubtedly helps this figure, and plays a massive role when it comes to remanufacturing.
Typically, toner cartridges can be remanufactured between three and seven times. Also, 97% of the components within them can be recycled. Thus, when a recycled cartridge is remanufactured, there is a very small impact on the environment in comparison to originals or compatibles.
It is worth noting that remanufactured cartridges use half the amount of oil in their manufacture in comparison to compatibles and that when plastic is remanufactured, 80% less energy is used in comparison to original production.
On the other hand, brand new parts and components are used every time a compatible cartridge is manufactured – even if they are of a lower quality than those used in originals.
No prizes for guessing which is kinder to the environment, right?
The main thing for you to remember, is that at one stage of their existence, remanufactured toners were original versions.
There is absolutely no guess work or copying involved in their manufacture – as we’ve explained, the same simply cannot be said for compatibles.
If you want to avoid damage to your printer and the environment, whilst achieving a print quality which stands up to OEM versions, then remanufactured toners are without doubt, your best bet.
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