Despite the prices for original inkjet cartridges, printer ink does not have to be expensive. Products from third-party brands provide comparable quality of printing and let you make impressive savings. Yet, some consumers are still hesitant about using non-original supplies. Find the answers to the most typical questions about cheaper ink in our guide.
How Does It Work?
Suppose you have a Canon TS3300 printer. This model uses a combination of black and colour cartridges, which makes every replacement relatively pricey. The Smart Ink store offers a sustainable replacement for Canon 245 ink with a discount. You can buy original cartridges that have been refilled and thoroughly tested. Such products are referred to as remanufactured cartridges.
The second alternative is buying a compatible product from the same store. This is a new cartridge produced by an independent provider. It is designed to be fully compatible with your machine, but the price is also more attractive. Generally, you can make substantial savings with remanufactured and compatible cartridges alike. They are both parts of the same booming market.
Are These Products Legit?
Yes, absolutely! Compatible cartridges, despite their similarities to the original (OEM) products, are not identical to them. They are also classified as original products, and printer brands have no power to ban them. They have tried to take independent suppliers to court in the past, but those lawsuits have not been successful. Every consumer is free to choose between original and non-original products.
A common concern is that a third-party replacement may void your guarantee for the equipment. This is not true. As long as you buy supplies from reputable stores with certified quality, they will not damage your printer, so you cannot lose your warranty this way. The manufacturers have no right to deny service due to third-party supplies.
How Is the Print Quality?
This market attracts different suppliers, including fly-by-night companies. To make sure you get the best value for money, research the companies first. A low-quality product may cause smudges and even problems with the printheads. Do your homework before ordering a cheaper replacement.
Top-rated providers comply with international quality standards, such as CE, ISO 9001, ISO 14000, Reach, and STMC. The quality of printing may be just as good as with the original supplies. Moreover, you can get a higher page yield if you buy an XL model. Such products offer maximized value.
How Long Do They Last?
High-quality products have the same shelf life as their original counterparts. Generally, they last several years, depending on how you use them. Trusted stores provide full information about the shelf life and give extensive warranties, so their customers have peace of mind. For example, a laser cartridge may have a shelf life of 2 years and come with a warranty covering the entire period.
Why Are OEM Cartridges So Expensive?
If you compare the prices for the original ink and low-end printers, you will see that these consumable supplies can be just as expensive as the machines. Big brands like HP and Canon explain their policies by their massive investment in R&D every year. Still, this does not make consumers feel better about them.
Some models are obviously sold at a loss or their break-even point, so the companies do not make any profit. A cheap printer is an opportunity to attract a new buyer, someone who will use their consumable supplies for years. Fortunately, customers are not that naive anymore, and they research all of their options. Independent suppliers do not invest so much in R&D, as they only produce cartridges.
As manufacturers cannot ban cheaper replacements, they focus on disrupting compatibility. Using firmware updates, they can program their products to reject non-original supplies. This problem has a simple solution: disable the updates, and use any products you like. As we have mentioned, this will not void the warranty as you shop in reliable independent stores.
Can I Refill My Cartridge?
Printer manufacturers warn customers about the dangers of DIY refilling. This is true, as you risk damaging the sensitive elements and spoiling the product beyond repair. Inkjet cartridges have sensitive elements that must not be touched. In the past, you would take your original product to an outlet, where it would be emptied, refilled and tested. Today, this is unnecessary.
Most stores that sell compatible cartridges offer a remanufactured range. Instead of buying a brand-new product, you get a recycled cartridge with the same extensive warranties and free shipping. A certified product from a trusted store is perfectly safe and legit.
How to Choose Suppliers?
As this market is so big and competitive, learn to compare the providers. Do not focus on the price alone, as the reputation of the store is much more important. Compatible products can be excellent or outrageous. Trustworthy providers offer such benefits as:
- Certified quality (see above)
- The latest version of the chip (to guarantee instant recognition)
- XL volume (so you get the best bang for your buck)
- Testing of every product before shipping
- 2-year warranty on both compatible and remanufactured cartridges
- Free shipping
- Responsive customer support,
- Additional discounts to customers who buy 2 or more cartridge packs, and more.
Should I Buy a Compatible or Remanufactured Cartridge?
You will save money either way, and the quality of printing could be excellent. The key difference is sustainability. Compatible products are produced from scratch, so both the shell and the ink are new. Every manufactured product is an original cartridge shell filled with new ink. This is the most sustainable way to replace a cartridge, as plastic waste is reduced. Consumers who want to reduce their carbon footprint are more interested in remanufacturing.
To Sum Up
Big brands like HP offer cheap printers, but their cartridges are outrageously expensive. Consumers do not have to buy the original supplies, as the market offers a plethora of compatible and refilled products. Choose a trusted store and enjoy high-quality printing for years! In the long run, you may save hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on your printer model.