Other questions you may have around inks and toners are;
OEM - This is just an abbreviation for ‘Original Equipment Manufacturer’ Or Original for short. For example HP, Brother or Xerox is the OEM. OEM Cartridges are broadly considered to be the most consistent in terms of reliability and print quality, particularly when looking at colour reproduction.
Remanufactured – Or Recycled, depending on your perspective. By either measure these are cartridges that were originally manufactured by the OEM, collected after they were exhausted and went to a remanufacturer. The cartridges get a freshen up and get refilled with toner or ink before being repackaged as a ‘reman’ product. The variable with this choice (as the cartridge itself is an OEM part) is the quality of the ink or toner within. Much improvement has been made since the early days of remanufacturing and the quality and reliability has broadly improved over the years. So what is the difference in quality. We’ll cover that a little further on.
Compatible – None of this product is originally from the manufacturer of the printer. The product is a copy or a pattern design copy of the original from the ground up. Like the remanufactured product the ink or toner is not from the OEM nor is the cartridge that it sits in. In terms of quality these can vary and finding a manufacturer you are comfortable with is crucial. If you do find a manufacturer who provides a cartridge of good quality, this is a great way to run your printer at less cost.
If the highest quality print output is important to you and your office supply budget allows for the higher price, go for OEM or Original ink and toners. You are guaranteed a high level of quality and in the event of failure will have a simple returns process. If your devices are under a warranty, there will be no dispute over the liability or the cost of repairing a device with the manufacturer if you use genuine original parts. You may sometimes hear that if you use a reman or compatible consumable, then your printer warranty is always invalidated. However, we have seen some cases where this is not always true.
Some manufacturers of printers have developed technology to determine the status of your ink or toner cartridge and more recently evolved firmware to prevent the device from printing without the genuine consumable being installed. The manufacturers will have a policy on this for sure. The more suspicious amongst you might think this is a clever ploy to lockout competition and ensure the revenue from the sale of genuine consumables. We couldn’t possibly comment. What we do see is a game of cat n mouse between the OEM’s and compatible manufacturers who replicate the technology in their products to ensure they work. If you buy a remanufactured or compatible cartridge and it doesn’t work in your printer, you will be reliant on the good will of your supplier to get a refund unless you can prove their guarantee of the operation of the cartridge in your printer.
Some printers will warn you consistently which might range from mildly irritating to annoyingly repetitive, to others that will point blank refuse to print with until the original consumable is installed. For sure the way to skip this problem is to buy OEM genuine consumables.
Buying a new printer can be quite a rewarding and satisfying task if you get the right deal. The sting in the tail is the cost of replacing the consumables, right? It’s a fine line between throwing your printer away when it runs out of juice and just buying the next model. But how do you imagine the manufacturers fund the development of these new and improved devices? Which revenue stream is the most reliable for them? If a manufacturer releases a printer that tanks, they can still derive revenue from the consumables enabling them to recover the losses in developing a bad model. If they get it right, the consumable revenue is consistent and funds research into the next generation of device. A remanufacturer or manufacturer of compatibles are not concerned with these incumbencies and just turn out cartridges for less cost as they do not have the overheads of an OEM. There remains the issue of quality.
If you have an hour or two of your life that you are not concerned about losing reading some scientific data, you can read why the manufacturers put so much emphasis on their inks. To be fair they do spend a ton of time and money developing inks and toners that render the best quality image possible for the device. Manufacturers will also maintain that for the best output quality you should use their products. Overall these statements are wholly correct and in buying OEM you can feel good about yourself keeping the guys who make really good printers in a job.
It’s a choice thing that is driven on the one hand by cost and the other by quality and (if you are lucky enough to have three hands) by peace of mind. An example may be that you have many devices in your possession that are used for different purposes. If you are in a marketing or content driven environment that requires consistent and quality output printing, OEM would probably suit you best. Another example is that you have an old mono device that prints dull and lengthy reports in only black. A question might be “Can I justify the extra cost for a device that makes reports all day?” In this circumstance a remanufactured or compatible consumable may give you the better value.
It’s a personal choice and not one you should be spending too much time worrying about. If you don’t get the results from a Reman or Compatible you like or expect go back to OEM original. You will soon find out if it works for you and in any event the manufactures of Remans & compatibles offer warranties that should cover you if anything goes wrong. There are more important decisions in life we are sure you will agree, but we hope this has shed a little light on these frequently asked questions.
Also if you really want to step it up a gear and use our managed services you can absolve yourself of any of these tedious issues and let us take care of the whole consumable, maintenance and print management piece. Contact us to find out how our Managed Services can really take the headache out of printing.