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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.

Below, is a comparison between the two alternatives to OEM toner cartridges. As ever, please feel free to share your opinions over on our Facebook and Twitter pages.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Looking to save money on your printing costs? Head to our site and check out the remanufactured toner cartridges:

The Big Debate - Remanufactured vs OEM

There is no denying that consumers are more price conscious, and the days of brand loyalty –although not completely absent – have definitely waned as people come to understand that buying alternative products does not always mean that they have to compromise on quality. This is true of the (almost) age-old debate between buying original (OEM) and remanufactured printer cartridges. There are many consumers who still have doubts about OEM alternatives, so perhaps it is time for The Red Bus Cartridge Company to dispel some of the most common misconceptions surrounding remanufactured cartridges.


Remanufacturers just replace ink and toner in cartridges

There was a time where single re-use remanufacturers (so called ‘drill and fill’ merchants) were abundant, however, the more professional amongst the industry have far more in-depth procedures to ensure a standard of quality is set across all products. Cartridges are cleaned, and components such as rollers, blades and other mechanical parts are replaced to restore full functionality. The cartridges are rigorously tested, and being STMC and ISO 9001 certified confirms that there is a strong system in place to ensure a high quality standard.


Print quality is not as good with remanufactured cartridges compared with OEM’s

Each remanufacturer will use different ink and toner formulations and have various methods of testing print quality. Our cartridges use the highest quality toner powder, and the strict processes applied to our products means that we are able to match the print quality and page yield of the OEM equivalent.


Using a remanufactured cartridge will void my warranty

This is one of the most common misconceptions that consumers have about using remanufactured cartridges with their printers. However, it should be the most straight-forward to dismiss. OEM’s are not allowed to void a printer’s warranty simply because remanufactured cartridges are being used. Most remanufacturers also offer their own guarantees – we have a 100% money back guarantee on our toner cartridges if a customer is not satisfied, although we are confident in the performance of our cartridges.


In summary, of course OEM cartridges will always have a loyal customer base and there will be benefits to purchasing OEM toner products in conjunction with their paper and printers. In reality though, as consumers become more eco-savvy and are able to research and educate themselves about more budget-friendly alternatives, there will most certainly be more opportunities for genuine quality remanufactured products to impress.


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