Are Compatible Toner Cartridges as Good as OEM Cartridges?

2 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful
Are Compatible Toner Cartridges as Good as OEM Cartridges?

Toner cartridges are the devices that supply printers with toner, the kind of ink used by laser printers. The plastic containers hold toner powder, carbon, and colouring agents. The ingredients are then transferred onto paper and fused onto it with heated rollers.

The cost of purchasing replacement toner cartridges can add up quickly, especially for businesses that have to print a lot of documents. Many companies go through such large amounts of printer supplies that they have a contract with a supplier who regularly ships toner cartridges to them and then sometimes pick up the old ones to dispose of them or recycle them.

One way that people can cut costs is to order compatible cartridges, ones that are produced by different brands other than the printer's manufacturer, but made to fit the particular printer.

A Detailed Look at Compatible Toner Cartridges

Compatible cartridges, also known as generic or alternative brand, are made by companies other than the manufacturers of the printer. They cost a little less than the name brand products and they are not made from recycled parts. While they are also considered to be less reliable than the brand name products, because they are usually not as high quality, there are some advantages of using compatible toner cartridges.

Benefits of Using Compatible Toner Cartridges

There are two advantages of using compatible toner cartridges over OEM ones. The first, is that they are priced lower than the OEM ones. Compatible toner manufacturers do not usually take the time to perfect the toners for the specific printer model. This is because they mass produce cartridges for many different printer brands and models. They do not want to spend a lot of time and money researching each individual printer model because this would raise the cost of the toners.

The second benefit is that they are more economically friendly for the environment. Unfortunately, this is only because they use lower quality products that do not require as much resources to build.

When it comes to purchasing compatible cartridges, the key is to find a manufacturer that guarantees a quality product. Also be sure to read the full description of the toner because they may not have as much ink or last as long as the OEM ones. If the cartridges hold less ink, the cost of purchasing an OEM cartridge may end up being the same in the long run.

A Detailed Look at OEM Toner Cartridges

Name brand companies spend a lot time perfecting the toners for their printers. Because of this they are guaranteed to work and usually last longer than other cartridges. However they are also priced much higher than the compatible toners made by third party companies. They are also considered to be less eco friendly because they use higher quality parts.

There are ways to cut costs with OEM toner cartridges, though. Some companies that businesses contract with to supply their toners charge a fee to remove the empty toners. However, there are ones that remove the toners for free and even some that pay to collect the empty ones so that they can recycle them.

Another way to get OEM cartridges for cheaper prices is to find recycled ones. Re-manufactured toner cartridges are the name brand toners that have been used, and then recycled. They have been taken apart by the manufacturer, had any worn out pieces replaced, been refilled with the toner components, and then put back together. They are the cheapest solution and can be just as reliable as the brand new toners as long as they are remanufactured by a trustworthy company.

Benefits of Using Re-Manufactured OEM Cartridges

Without a doubt, re-manufactured cartridges cost less than the brand new ones. Just purchasing one black toner cartridge can cost over several hundred pounds, depending on the toner. The high-yielding cartridges that can print up to 45 pages per minute cost even more than that.

Toners can print an average of 25,000 page impressions before they run out. Businesses that go through a lot of paper may find that their cartridges only last a month. By using a re-manufactured cartridge over a brand new one, they could potentially cut their costs 30 to 60 per cent.

Quality of Re-Manufactured OEM Cartridges

Many people have avoided using re-manufactured cartridges because the term "recycled" is often associated with being lower quality. However, the quality is dependant upon the manufacturer. The high quality toners are disassembled and each part is inspected. Any broken or worn down pieces are then replaced. The parts are then cleaned, put back together, and the cartridge is refilled. The lower quality products are just refilled without inspecting the integrity of the cartridge.

Environmental Benefits of Re-Manufactured Toner Cartridges

Anytime a product can be reused instead of thrown out, it has a positive impact on the environment. The process of re-manufacturing the OEM cartridges saves thousand of non-decomposing cases from building up in the landfills. Some of the parts used to make the cartridges, such as the plastics and metals, can take up to a thousand years to decompose.

Saving Resources with Re-Manufactured OEM Cartridges

In addition to this, recycling also conserves resources because one new cartridge requires nine pounds of materials to make. A single toner can be recycled up to four times, and 97 per cent of its parts are reusable. This means that buying recycled cartridges over new ones can save around 20 to 35 pounds or raw materials.

Saving Energy with Re-Manufactured OEM Cartridges

Recycling cartridges not only cuts back on the amount of raw materials used, but it also reduces the amount of energy needed to make them. For example, it requires 3 quarts of oil to make a single cartridge. Since the cost of oil is continually going up, reducing the amount needed keeps oil prices down for everyone.

Compatible Toner Cartridges vs. OEM Cartridges

In total, people have the choice of choosing between three kinds of cartridges: OEM, re-manufactured OEM, and compatible cartridges. They each have their disadvantages and advantages, making it difficult to make the decision on which ones to choose. The chart below lists the pros and cons of each.

Type of Toner Cartridge



Compatible Toner Cartridges

Lower cost than new OEM; can be reliable if they are high quality; cost less to make than the new OEM ones; are made with brand new parts

Usually are lower quality and do not last as long, the new parts are lower quality than the new OEM ones; are more expensive than the re-manufactured OEM ones

New OEM Cartridges

Most reliable and longest lasting toner cartridges

Most expensive toner cartridges and least environmentally friendly

Re-Manufactured OEM Cartridges

Most affordable toner cartridges available and the most environmentally friendly

Can be unreliable if purchased from a low quality manufacturer

Overall, the decision of which kind of cartridge to get comes down to budget and quality. Compatible and re-manufactured OEM cartridges are available from higher quality manufacturers that produce more reliable products. It is simply a matter of doing some research about manufacturers to find out how they make their products.

Find Compatible Toner Cartridges and OEM Cartridges on eBay

Since there are not usually local cartridge manufacturers around, finding one can be tricky for those who don't know where to start. Websites like eBay can help with this because they are a central hub for thousands of sellers and manufacturers to list their products. This gives you access to a whole slew of sellers to look at and compare.

Shopping on eBay simple and easy. All you have to do is type the product name into the search bar that's located on every eBay page. For example, enter "compatible toner cartridge", "OEM toner cartridge" or "re-manufactured toner cartridge". After you've done the search, eBay lists several printer brands that you can select. This way you can narrow down the listings according to your printer's specifications. Another way to find the right kinds of cartridge for your printer is to type in its make and model into the search box. An example would be: "Brother HL-2135W cartridge".

Be sure to research each seller to find out if the manufacturer is reputable or not. One way to do this is to read through the seller's feedback to see if their past customers are happy with their products and services.


Even in a world when most documentation is becoming digital, printers and paper documents are still a necessity for the majority of individuals as well as companies. The cost of purchasing a laser printer and constantly supplying it with toner can add up so people need to take a close look at what is available and figure out which toners best fill their needs and match their budget. A company that goes through a lot of paper may find that the higher quality OEM cartridges are more conducive to their needs. However, they may also discover that the re-manufactured cartridges last just as long, cost less, and they can  be sold for recycling once they are used up. The compatible toner cartridges may then be best for smaller business and individuals who are not as hard on their printers and are looking for affordable solutions.

Explore more guides