Are Compatible Ink Cartridges Any Good?

More than 1 in 5 people are printing more now than they were before the pandemic. With working from home becoming the new day-to-day life, the demand for printers has been high in the past year.

Families, businesses, and individuals depend on printers for documents, tickets, bills, and receipt printing. Despite the new shift, there is a lack of understanding around which consumables to use.

Alarmingly, more than one in ten printer owners find it challenging to choose the right compatible ink cartridges. That can lead to damaged printers resulting in increased operational costs.

When reading on, you’ll find out tips and some facts about printable ink cartridges.

Let’s get started. 

Types of cartridges


To help you understand your cartridges better, it’s first better to acquaint yourself with the various options in the market. Below are the four types.

Original cartridges

They’re also known as Name Brand, Genuine, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).

A genuine cartridge is a brand new cartridge manufactured by the same brand that made your printer. For example, an original cartridge for an HP printer is manufactured by HP.

Compatible cartridges

They can be referred to as third-party cartridges.

Compatibles are brand new cartridges made by a third-party manufacturer. Meaning, your printer, and cartridge have different manufacturers. E.g., a cartridge for an HP printer, but not made by HP.

Remanufactured cartridges

A remanufactured ink cartridge or toner cartridges have been recycled, remade, and refilled to replace the original cartridge.

The remanufactured cartridge damaged parts will have been replaced and cleaned to make a brand new ink cartridge or toner cartridge work with your printer, like a new cartridge.

Refilled cartridges

These are original cartridges that have been used once, returned, cleaned, and refilled. Typically ink cartridges are refilled.

What is an ink cartridge?

Ink cartridges are printer cartridges that contain ink and are used by inkjet printers. Your printer needs ink cartridges to print.

Originals vs. Compatibles How do you know which ink cartridges are compatible?

Originals Compatibles
They are manufactured by the same company that manufactured the printer. Are manufactured by a different company from the one that made the printer.
Have slightly better functionality alongside its printer. Have high-quality functionality though manufactured by a different supplier.
Higher price points. Lower price points.
When an original cartridge messes up with your printer, the manufacturer has to honor its warranty. When a compatible cartridge messes your printer up, your supplier warranty covers the damages accrued from using their ink.
They’re recognized as ‘genuine’ products and promise relatively better functionality.  They’re still new and possess a similar print quality and quantity of printer pages as the original.
They’re a waste of natural resources. They cause a redundant drain on the Earth’s resources.   Compatible cartridges are built from recycled parts of old cartridges. This helps to conserve the planet’s resources and lower landfill waste.

If you’re new to the printing world, you might not know that every printer prints with a specific printer cartridge series. You can know the cartridge series by looking at the printer brand name, followed by a cartridge number.

  1. The easiest way to figure out what cartridges work with your printer is by opening up the printer. This is to see what cartridges are currently inside the machine. 
  1.  If there are no cartridges inside the printer, you can search for the printer model on the manufacturer’s website.  You can get a list of compatible cartridges included on the manufacturer page of your printer. 
  1. You can also confirm the cartridge series by referencing the printer’s user guide with the machine.

Benefits of compatible ink cartridges

For many, compatible cartridges are the favored option. Here are some pros that should be considered when it comes to purchasing and using compatible cartridges.

  • One of the greatest advantages is, that pigment or dye-based ink dries almost immediately. Hence, there’s no dealing with smudges.
  • One other advantage of compatible inks is that they usually contain more ink. In the end, this means more pages of printing for a cheaper price.
  • Another benefit of purchasing these cheaper products is that there are often far more options available in the industry. When you get brand-name merchandise, there’s usually only one crucial pick for your specific sort of printer. It isn’t the situation when purchasing other choices.
  • Compatible cartridges are often cheaper – sometimes more than 50% less than genuine cartridges – saving you a significant amount of money in the long run.
  • Print quality is rarely different from that of genuine cartridges. More often than not, compatible cartridges offer the same value as genuine.
  • Compatible cartridges are often made using refurbished cartridges, making them the most sustainable option. This is something that many businesses see as important and are working on implementing. 

FAQs of compatible cartridges

Between original and compatible, which one works best?

It depends on how often and what you print.

How often do you print? 

The main concern here is ink drying up and causing blockages in the printer head. So if you are printing a few sheets or less a month, it’s probably worth sticking to originals. This is because they contain a chemical to prevent ink from drying up.

If you find yourself printing regularly, then purchasing compatibles will be a far superior choice, cheaper than the originals and typically containing more ink. These will cut the cost of printing significantly.

What do you print?

If you print many text documents, we strongly recommend trying our Internet-ink compatible ink or compatible toner.

You should stick to originals for professional photos since compatible photos can fade within a few years, especially if exposed to harsh lighting.

In everyday photos, compatibles are brilliant for photo printing, and telling the difference is nigh on impossible for most printouts. However, Original cartridges with original photo paper will always give you the best results.

Will compatible cartridges damage my printer?

With a good quality compatible cartridge, there won’t be any effects on your machine. Sometimes suppliers will give a money-back guarantee or even a guarantee on your printer if anything does go wrong.

Is there any difference in and print quality?

There shouldn’t be. An aftermarket cartridge from a reputable supplier will offer a similar print quality as a brand-name cartridge.

Between original and compatibles, which one is cheaper?

Original ink cartridges are so expensive due to the high cost of production. On the other hand, compatible ink cartridges don’t have the overheads genuine manufacturers do. So manufacturers charge a much lower price for the products.

Why are Compatible Ink Cartridges physically different both in size or shape?

They are different because compatible manufacturers cannot copy them due to copyright laws and need to make them differently. They are designed to perform and work in the same manner. It does not affect the fitting or functionally of the cartridges in any way.

Will Compatibles Void My Printers Warranty?

No. Using compatible printer consumables won’t void your warranty. Thanks to The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act that was set to prevent the manufacturers from forcing clients to use their products to keep the warranty.

The only time a compatible can void a warranty is if it directly damages the printer in some manner. It only tends to be a problem if you buy the bottom-end compatibles from dealers.

Buyer Tips and tricks

Here are a few things worth considering when deciding whether to buy genuine or compatible toners:

  • When trailing these compatible toner cartridges, stick to one brand. If they work well, then carry on using them. The explanation for this is when you use original toners, the toner source or the toner mix doesn’t change. This only happens when the printer changes.
  • Always check your printer warranties from the manufacturer, as it can be void if your printer breaks when using compatible cartridges.
  • Try avoiding the cheapest cartridge you can find.
  • Stick with one supplier as changing suppliers could give your printer problems.
  • When buying compatible toners, always look at these T’s & C’s, as a good supplier will have a returns policy or even guarantee your printer.

Print Away!

Now that you’ve learned a bit about the differences between name brands and remanufactured cartridges, you can make a great buy for your machine.

Compatible ink cartridges are worth a go. so don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from crucial savings.

Let this guide help you make an informed decision when planning to purchase cartridges. Remember, it all comes down to your need and the type of consumable in question. 

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