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Should I buy compatible or genuine toner?

Sunday, 11 November 2018  |  Karheena

Should I buy compatible or original ink cartridges?

Much like with mobile devices, there are two definite camps when it comes to buying ink and toner for printers.  Some people swear by compatibles, whereas others will only use genuine manufacturer cartridges.  Hopefully we can help you decide what works best for you and your printer.

What is the difference between Ink and Toner?

You will see both terms on our website.  Ink and Toner are two completely different things, and they are not interchangeable.  If you have an inkjet printer, then your printer uses Ink Cartridges, if you have a laser printer, you need Toner.

Ink - ink is in liquid form, and your inkjet produces the text or image by placing droplets of the ink onto the paper.

Toner - toner is a powder.  Using technology that is complicated enough to fill a complete blog post itself, the printer fuses the print onto the paper.  It tends to be more water resistant and durable than ink, but is more expensive to buy upfront.  Laser printers offer a higher yield than inkjet, meaning you get more pages printed per equivalent cartridge compared to inkjet versions.

Types of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Genuine/Original/OEM - these are the ink and toner created and sold by the manufacturer of your printer.  For example buy an HP toner cartridge, and it is made by the same people as your HP printer.

Compatible - these are made by any third party that is not the manufacturer of your printer.  They are compatible with your printer, hence the name.  They tend to be cheaper than Genuine ink cartridges.

HP 124A Black Toner Cartridge (Q6000A)

HP 124A Black Toner Cartridge (Q6000A)£87.01£72.51 (ex VAT)

  8 in stock

PrintMaster Compatible HP 124A Black Toner Cartridge (Q6000A)

PrintMaster Compatible HP 124A Black Toner Cartridge (Q6000A)£27.24£22.70 (ex VAT)

  2 in stock

Many manufacturers offer the option to return spent ink and toner, and they recycle them.  It helps the environment and prevents wastage of the plastic casing and components.  They tend to resell them under two types:

Refilled - these are ink and toner cartridges that have been used once, returned, cleaned, and refilled.

Remanufactured - these tend to be toner rather than ink cartridges as there are lots of working parts on them.  Some parts get more worn than others.  The returned cartridge gets cleaned and refilled, but also components are replaced or serviced too.

The big question is, are compatibles any good?

If you have never used a compatible toner cartridge before, your main concerns will probably be:

Will it damage my printer?
Will the finished product be any good?
Will the printed text or image be durable?
What if it doesn’t work in my printer?

Printer errors that may come up when using a compatible are chip not recognised, a clogged print head, the cartridge doesn’t physically fit, or the ink spontaneously drains away.

Much like anything in life, you get what you pay for.  Compatibles are generally the cheaper option when compared to Originals, but there will be huge price variances once you start shopping around. We suggest choosing your Compatible supplier carefully.  Any website that has confidence in their products will offer a guarantee on the products they sell.  At Crazy Toners, we offer a 24 Month Money Back Guarantee on our compatible toners. 

Don’t go for the clearly very, very cheap option on compatibles.  At the end of the day you need to choose a compatible manufacturer that takes care to produce excellent quality, reliable cartridges.  Those that cut costs in order to keep the price down may not take the same care and attention to detail as a mid-range supplier. 

We have carefully selected our range of compatible toners to ensure you have complete satisfaction and confidence in their reliability.  The yield of a cartridge is how many standard pages you can print per cartridge before you need to buy a replacement.  Our compatibles have as good a yield as the Genuine ones we sell.

How often do you print, and what do you print?

One thing to note is that printers need to keep clean, and generally that is done through use.  Ink that has sat for a long time inside a printer can dry out.  Ink contains agents to keep your print head clean.  Many inkjets use ink to clean the heads at regular intervals. 

If you don’t use your inkjet printer regularly, we recommend only using Genuine Ink Cartridges.  It means your ink has everything in it that the printer manufacturer feels is necessary to keep your printer running at its optimum level. 

If you are a more regular user, you can use Compatibles, but we suggest you use a Genuine Ink Cartridge every three or four ink replacements to help keep your printer running smoothly. 

Genuine ink and toner tends to have a longer life once it has been printed, so you need to consider what you are going to print.  Text or casual photos can happily be printed using compatibles.  However, if you want to print a proper professional quality photo, then Genuine is the way to go.  The colours will last longer and remain more vibrant, especially if the photo is going to be displayed somewhere where there is a lot of light.

Still undecided if you want to try a compatible?

With Crazy Toners it is risk free as we guarantee all our compatibles. If you are not happy, you can return them for a refund or exchange. Why not try one and see?