Difference between OEM, Compatible and Remanufactured Printer Cartridges

Posted Friday, March 26th, 2010 by .

When  looking to purchase replacements for your printer cartridge, you may notice up to three different options for cartridges, all priced differently but with the same printer compatibility and page yield specifications.   Compatible, Remanufactured and OEM are the three types of cartridges – at Ink Technologies we frequently get questions from customers asking what the differences are between them.

In this blog, we hope to answer those questions as well as give you a little insight into the manufacturing process, environmental effects and the economical implications of each type of cartridge.Printer Cartridge Dilemma

OEM cartridges

OEM cartridges are made by the manufacturer of the printer, such as HP, Dell or Brother.  Because of the premium brand name, the price of OEM toner and ink cartridges is considerably more than other types of cartridges, ranging from 2–5 times higher.

The warranty for OEM cartridges is typically a year or longer, depending on the specific manufacturer policy.  However, since the warranty for a brand name cartridge is set by the manufacturer, you must process any warranty claims through the manufacturer.   This process can sometimes be time consuming.

Unfortunately, nearly a gallon of oil goes into making a new toner cartridge and several ounces of oil to produce a brand new ink cartridge, as well as metal, plastic, foam, rubber, paper and ink/toner.   Check out our cartridge recycling infographic on the benefits of recycling.   If using name-brand products is essential, please recycle the empty cartridges to give others the opportunity to save money.  Ink Technologies also offers a recycling program that makes the recycling process free and simple.

Remanufactured cartridges

The most appealing thing about remanufactured toner and ink cartridges is how it positively effects the environment.  Made entirely of previously used and recycled parts, a remanufactured cartridge not only represents one less product in the landfill, but also provides the economic benefits of recycling.  About 97% of the components that make up printer cartridges are recyclable- hard to believe over 300 million cartridges are thrown away every year in the United States.

Remanufacturing companies rebuild these cartridges by dismantling, cleaning and refilling them.  During the process, moving parts that are worn or damaged are replaced with working components and then checked for quality assurance.  Comparative testing has proven that remanufactured cartridges can and will provide the same quality and yield as an OEM cartridge but can cost 3-5 times less.  Not all vendors are created equal, so be sure to do a little research and make sure that your provider has excellent customer satisfaction ratings for quality.

Compatible cartridges

Compatible cartridges are made from new components but do not carry the name brand and are manufactured by third party factories.  Some consumers are hesitant to buy previously used products but do not want to spend extra money for OEM, so the compatible option offers an alternative cartridge that is more affordable than OEM but is also constructed from new materials.  Once again, the quality of the company making the compatible cartridges is important, so do your research!

Just like with OEM cartridges, compatible cartridges require significant resources in the manufacturing process, resulting in a high impact on the environment, but the price tag for compatible cartridges is generally about 3-5 times less than the OEM alternative.  Like remanufactured cartridges, compatible cartridges are designed to be fully compatible the OEM version of the cartridge, including page yield, and have comparable quality.

The same warranty we offer for remanufactured cartridges applies to compatible cartridges.  DO NOT let the original manufacturer of your printer tell you that third party ink and toner will void your machine’s warranty.  This is simply not true.  In fact, a law has been implemented to enforce a person’s make their own choice in their cartridge purchases without voiding the warranty.

In summary, for buyers who are more brand-oriented and don’t mind paying the price, OEM cartridges are a good option.  For buyers who want “value”, both remanufactured and compatible cartridges provide a good alternative, and have comparable quality to OEM if you purchase from a reputable source.   For buyers who want value and also want to help the environment, remanufactured cartridges are an excellent value-based choice.

At Ink Technologies, we carry only the highest quality compatible and remanufactured products meeting OEM specifications, and offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on the purchase of these products.

Robyn Warner

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Robyn Warner has been writing since she learned how to hold a pen. She wrote her first book of poems before the age of 10 and is currently enrolled in college to learn how to properly structure her natural ability. Though creative writing is her preference, she is enjoying life in the technical blog world. Robyn’s goal entering her 30’s is to use her writing to inspire fellow cancer survivors and have a job that gives her the flexibility to live anywhere and never wear shoes. You can find her on .

One Response to “Difference between OEM, Compatible and Remanufactured Printer Cartridges”

  • […] are a few ways to optimize the dollar for printing, such as seeking reputable third party vendors who reuse recycled cartridges or build compatible cartridges from scratch, equating to a cost 3-5 […]

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