Seven Myths About Third-Party Printer Ink

by Rich on January 10, 2009

Apprehensive about buying third-party ink, despite the savings you could see in your print consumables bill? You’re not alone. Original printer manufacturers work hard to encourage the perception that third-party ink is low-quality and can damage your printer irrepairably. However, the truth is not nearly so dire—and if you believe the original manufacturers, your bottom line could suffer.  Here are a few common myths about third-party compatible and remanufactured cartridges—and the truth behind them.

Third party ink will wreck your printer. Printer manufacturers are very fond of claiming that third-party ink can completely ruin your printer. However, in practice this is a fairly rare occurrence. A printer cartridge may not print successfully if it’s defective, or it may leak ink—but neither of these things permanently damages printers and ink can be cleaned with a damp sponge or cloth.  These defects are known to occur sometimes in original manufactured in addition to third-party remanufactured or compatible cartridges.

Third party ink will void your warranty. This is another myth perpetuated by the printer manufacturers. It’s actually illegal for any company to force users to use a specific accessory product as part of the warranty. Particularly if the damage wasn’t caused by the use of third party ink, companies have no right to void warranties based on that.

Third party cartridges are of lower quality than original cartridges. While there are some bad companies out there—as there are in any industry—many third-party compatible and remanufactured cartridge companies adhere to high standards. Compatible cartridges are usually engineered using the original manufacturer’s specifications. Many companies adhere to stringent ISO standards for cartridge manufacturing—standards that are also followed by original manufacturers.

Remanufactured cartridges are just old, refilled cartridges. Companies that sell remanufactured cartridges do more than just inject old cartridges with new ink. They also inspect each cartridge, make repairs when needed, and replace old and worn out components. Microchips are replaced, and all cartridges are run through a print test to ensure functionality before heading out the door. This is why remanufactured cartridges are much less likely to fail than the cartridges customers refill themselves using ink refill kits.

Remanufacturing companies reuse old ink and toner. This would be impossible—ink and toner is contaminated during the printing process by paper, dust and other contaminants.  Remanufacturers make their own ink using original manufacturers’ specifications. In most cases, the ink from a remanufactured cartridge is tailored to the specific brand and model of printer you’re using. Printer ink from these companies is not one-size-fits-all, and it’s never combined or recycled.

Third party ink has a lower page yield than original ink. Actually, some compatible and remanufactured cartridges have higher page yields than the originals. This information can be found in product specifications and documentations, and a good third-party company should make it available to you up front. Before buying, compare your third party cartridge yield with that of original manufacturers’ products.

All third party cartridges are the same. It’s true that all original manufacturers’ cartridges are the same, but third-party cartridges range in make and quality. Remanufacturers inject third-party ink into original cartridges; this ink is made by the third-party company and its quality varies depending on the company’s technical skills. Compatible cartridge companies build new cartridges from the ground up. Although they’re usually based on original specifications, they are made differently by different companies.  If you have a bad experience with one third-party cartridge company, it’s not necessarily a good idea to give up on third-party cartridges altogether—there are many third-party companies that make excellent products.

Original ink is expensive, and third-party ink and toner can save you significant money. Still, manufacturers make the bulk of their profits through sale of consumables, and they work hard to protect their market by encouraging consumers to believe that third-party ink is low-quality and dangerous to their printers.  But many third-party remanufacturers and compatible cartridge companies produce well-made products that deliver the same or similar print quality to what you’d expect from an original cartridge. Do some research and buy from an established company, and you’re sure to find a good source of dependable third-party cartridges that save you money without compromising on quality.

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