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 user 2013-06-23 at 10:51:49 pm Views: 92
  • #2236

    As "Generic", "remanufactured", and "new compatible" inkjet printer cartridges and laser toner cartridges creep deeper into the printer accessories market, the choices become varied and often confusing. It is estimated that by the year 2004 the aftermarket share of the inkjet and toner cartridge market will exceed 11% of the estimated 12 billion dollar printer accessory market [source: CART magazine, March 2001] Here's a look at what all these terms mean, and an examination of the upside and downside of using non-"brand name" printer cartridge products in your printer.


    First, let's examine the terminology. When shopping online for a new inkjet or toner cartridge for your printer, you'll likely encounter these terms:

    • OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or brand name products
      A "brand name" inkjet or toner cartridge is just that – it's a printer cartridge that carries the brand name of the manufacturer on it, usually the same as the printer manufacturer, for example, Epson, Canon, Hewlett Packard, etc.
    • New compatible, off-brand or generic products
      A "new compatible", "off-brand" or "generic" inkjet or toner cartridge is manufactured by a company other than the original printer manufacturer. There are a large number of these "new compatible" manufacturers, and it's quite true that the quality of their product can vary (more on that a bit later). In the case of inkjet cartridges, "generic" cartridges are completely new. In the case of toner cartridges, to qualify as "new compatible" the toner drum must be replaced with a brand new drum, as well as all major parts serviced and replaced as needed.
    • Remanufactured products
      A "remanufactured" inkjet or toner cartridge, by definition, is a cartridge which has been serviced, cleaned, refilled with toner or ink and possibly had a few component parts repaired or replaced. In many cases, remanufactured toner cartridges do not have new drums; they instead refurbish the original drum and send it out for another cycle.

    An Important Note About Toner Cartridges

    The relatively unknown truth is that almost all laser toner cartridges, including most of the original brand name "new" cartridges, have been remanufactured to some extent. The defining point is to what degree they have had component parts repaired and/or replaced. For example: check the box for a brand new Hewlett Packard Laser Jet 4000/27X. Brand new, right? Well, it is. But check the fine print, which says:

    This newly manufactured product may contain parts and materials recovered from the HP planet partners recycling program.

    This means that the product, while "new", is possibly not completely new; it's quite probable that components of this cartridge have been used before, and have been recycled.

    Quality vs. Cost

    It's a fact: the cost of brand name inkjet and toner cartridges can be exceedingly high in comparison to generic or remanufactured inkjet or toner cartridges. In many cases, new compatible inkjet cartridges can be as much as 70% less than the cost of brand name cartridges. New compatible or remanufactured toner cartridges on the whole tend to be as much as 50% less in cost than their brand name counterparts.

    What's the catch?

    Well, there really isn't one, if you find a quality off-brand product you can purchase from an online merchant you can trust, one who stands by their product in those rare cases that generic or remanufactured products don't perform as well as you expect. Brand name cartridges cost much more than generics primarily because of the marketing and advertising budgets most OEM manufacturers spend in promoting their products; a cost most smaller manufacturers don't have.

    * Post was edited: 2004-10-14 10:31:00