You’ve bought a printer and used up the starter ink or toner that came preloaded in the machine; now you’ll need to buy a new cartridge. You could simply purchase a full-sized version of that starter ink or toner made by your printer’s manufacturer, or you could go “generic” and buy a compatible cartridge.
So which to choose?
Getting the best performance out of your printer is important, so our experts at Printzone have come up with a three-step decision guide to help you find the right cartridge.
Step 1: Consider print quality.
Genuine OEM (“original equipment manufacturer”) inks and toners are made by the same company that made your printer. Using these cartridges will always result in the highest quality print. Generic cartridges, alternately, are made by third parties to be compatible with your printer. While these inks and toners can be excellent, they may not have the same precision as ones designed by the printer manufacturer specifically for use in your machine.
BOTTOM LINE: If you need your prints to be as perfect as possible, select a genuine cartridge for superior results; if you’re more flexible, consider a generic compatible ink or toner.
Step 2: Consider colour accuracy.
If you’ve chosen “Genuine” in Step 1, you’re already set. Some prints, like photos, readily reveal incorrect colours. Colour accuracy is more reliable when using the inks or toners recommended and/or made by your printer’s manufacturer.
For mono laser printers and inkjets printing primarily in greyscale, colour isn’t an issue; selecting generic toners and inks, respectively, will not impact the quality of any images in the final print.
BOTTOM LINE: Choose genuine inks and toners when colours must be exact; if most of your printing will be in black-and-white or with incidental colour, a generic cartridge is the smarter choice.
Step 3: Consider your budget.
Printers outlive their cartridges; this means there will be running costs to keep them up. If perfect colour matching and the highest levels of precision aren’t hugely critical in your projected printing, generic compatible inks and toners can offer big savings.
Running costs are defined by cost per print. Cost per print ($/pg) = Cartridge Price (in $) / Cartridge Yield (in pages).
A genuine Brother black ink cartridge (LC-131BK) is $32.23* with a yield of 300 pages; cost per print = $0.11/pg. Its generic compatible ink is double the yield and sold at $9.90*; cost per print = $0.02/pg. Savings: 69% on the ink; 81% in running costs.
A genuine mono toner cartridge for an HP Laserjet (CE505A) is $141.90* with a yield of 2300 pages; cost per print = $0.06/pg. Its generic compatible toner has the same yield and is sold at $59.00*; cost per print = $0.025/pg. Savings: 58% on the toner; over 50% in running costs.
Keep in mind that using inferior compatibles (often reflected by their deeply-discounted sticker prices) will not save money and may even damage your printer. Printzone stocks only premium generic inks and toners that can stand up to their genuine counterparts; this ensures that your printer isn’t harmed and your savings remain true.**
BOTTOM LINE: High-quality generic compatible inks and toners are good workhorse cartridges that lead to long-run savings; genuine cartridges can also be selected if your budget permits.
Our experts hope this guide was useful. If you still need assistance in selecting the best ink or toner model or variety, contact us.
* - Prices as of November 2017
** - All of our premium compatible inks and toners come with a full Replace, Refund or Credit Guarantee. If you aren’t entirely satisfied, or the cartridge does not live up to your expectations, we will provide a replacement, refund your money, or credit the value towards the purchase of a genuine cartridge.