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"Remanufactured" Ink and Toner Cartridges - Worth It?

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  • Printers
  • Peripherals
Last response: in Computer Peripherals
March 11, 2011 6:24:50 PM

If you've ever run out of ink (and who hasn't?) you know that printer ink and toner cartridges can get very expensive, very fast. An option many folks take is to buy remanufactured or refilled catridges to cut down on the cost of replacement. Some of these work magnificently, good as new. Others - not so much.

What are some useful hints, tips and advice to use when going for new ink? Are there any pitfalls to avoid royally messing up one's printer with a badly assembled cartridge?

More about : remanufactured ink toner cartridges worth

March 14, 2011 8:26:21 AM

Nothing to worry about at all! Of course the manufacturers are going to tell people otherwise, they are making an absolute killing on ink cartridges.

Just don't go for the cheapest on ebay or amazon, there's usually a reason they are that cheap and basically it's you get what you pay for!

I use for my compatible ink cartridges. They may not be the first company that you'd have thought of, but they've never let me down. I buy their PGI-5 and CLI-8 multipack for my canon printer and it's saved me an absolute fortune. I can't afford to buy the originals all the time to print off my photos, but these do the exact same job but for well over half the cost of a genuine Canon cartridge. But be careful with refills, or re-manufactured cartridges! They can leak, where as the ones I buy from the cobrainks website are brand new compatible inks.

Hope this helps you :) 
Anonymous
July 19, 2011 12:09:44 PM

Hello everybody!!!
I buy all components for my computer in on-line shop REDACTED - SS. Here I bought my Printer Ink & Toner too. I am very happy. It's cheap and has a very good properties.
Related resources
July 26, 2011 4:59:48 AM

first off, don't bump 4 month old dead threads. secondly, can you be a more obvious shill, Anonymous?
August 10, 2011 11:42:13 AM

cheap generic ink = broken printer.
February 16, 2012 11:26:09 PM

make sure you check the return policy. There are many good ink refillers out there, but there are some bad ones (what else is new). Many use generic ink (dye based). If your printer uses pigmented ink, the generic can mess up the print head.
January 12, 2013 1:48:42 PM

I have had 15 refilled cartridges for my HP printer 5 or more have failed, worth it? I don't think so, mind you nor are the originals from the printer manufacturer, they are far too expensive, it is almost cheaper to buy a new printer, except for the bother of setting it up!
April 21, 2013 4:49:24 AM

Well unlike some here I have no relation to any ink or ink cartridge supplier. Don't get me wrong I have no problem with them letting everyone know their out their but, their opinion can only be considered a biased one.

Besides the Lexmark I got for free with my first new PC I have used only Epson printers with 6 separate ink cartridges. All these have been "Epson Stylus Photo" printers, 7 in total, 3-R200's, 2-R220's, 1-R300 and I just picked up a brand new R280 minus the ink cartridges at a garage sale for $10.

@ $17 apiece pr ink cartridge that's $102 for all 6 when bought separately. After I bought a few new cartridges from Epson I saw that they had a refurbished R200 on sale for $75 So I bought it mainly for the ink, Which is exactly why I ended up with brand new R280 minus the ink cartridges at a garage sale for only $10

Since I do allot of printing and the Epson Stylus Photo printers make a real nice quality print for everything including CD's and DVD's I had to find a cheaper supply of ink. I finally settled on compatible inkjet cartridges from imarketcity ( http://www.imarketcity.com/coinca.html ) These worked great and a complete set of 6 only cost $19.50 or $3.25 apiece if bought separately. If I bought over $100 worth (equivalent to $375 in Epson ink) they used to even throw in free shipping although I don't think they do anymore.

imarketcity's ink is good quality ink. Not as good as Epson but close. All the R200's, R220's and the R300's used the same ink carts and they would last a fairly long time (comparatively) but, my new R280 uses smaller ink carts and plows through ink like there's no tomorrow. like the rest of my Epson Stylus Photo printers the print quality is great but after printing just 10 Music CD's for an independent artist friend of mine, complete with front/back/insert and printed CD's the black cart (the CD had more black than any other color) was almost empty. My other Epson's could print about 30 copy's before the black was low.

Even with cheap ink carts I had to find a better way for the R280 so, I just bought a CISS (Continuous Ink Supply System) from inkxpro. I bought this one here http://www.inkxpro.com/Continuous-Ink-System-Epson-R260... Like aftermarket ink carts all Continuous Ink Supply Systems are not created equal, Some have crappy carts and some have crappy inks. Just because the systems look the same does not mean they have the same ink either. I did allot of research before settling on my system and you should too. There are some very good CISS that have great quality inks that are just as good as oem inks and there are also some real duds.

With Epson printers the print heads are in the printer so even though the cart is important the ink is the most important factor. With most other printers the print heads are in the ink carts so both the carts and the ink are of equal importance.

I once bought 14 carts from a disreputable dealer and the ink clogged one of my printers beyond repair so, you do have to be careful whom you buy from but, as long as you do your research first you should be OK.

I have not bought any Epson ink for about 8yrs and I never will again. I am very pleased with my aftermarket ink choices.

IMO research first then go for it! Compatible / Remanufactured / Aftermarket is the only way to go!



April 23, 2013 12:45:44 AM

A link to my tutorial.

After Market Inkjet Ink Supplies
I often see people asking about cheaper alternatives to buying OEM ink supplies and just as often they get incorrect responses, So hopefully I can clear a few thing up here. THE INKJET PRINTER MANUFACTURERS The makers of inkjet printers are... See full content
February 28, 2014 3:24:06 AM

InkJets use ink.

Ink can be tricky, as it can screw up Your printheads. I find a good ink seller by testing their ink. Then, I buy a bunch of it (up to a 2-year supply.) After 2 years the ink may have dried out.

Worst case, I need a new ($50-$100) printhead. Since I saved more than that on each (of 10) sets of generic ink carts I'm willing to take the risk once every 2 years.



Lasers use toner.

All refilled toners work, but some produce better image quality than others. Other just have a weird tint to the color.

I get the cheapest remanufactured toners I can find on eBay.
March 3, 2014 12:22:29 PM

INK:
-refilled/compatible: absolutely YES, unless you get a bad one.
-DIY: it may not be worth the mess... up to you. (also keep in mind, a cartridge won't last forever... you can get up to ten cycles out of it. then it will die, and... off to the shop to boy the cheapest one. yup.)
-CISS: big mess to set up, but once you do... almost free printing (except for paper). something like... 30€/10K pages. (but REALLY BIG MESS to set up, and needs fine-tuning every now and then.... )
*note: print quality will never be the same. you can't have jet black prints with refilled cartridges, and even less with diy refills. but it will still be legible, so, who cares? (I mean, for home usage... )

TONER: have yet to try it (my printer arrived a few days ago, lol), but I bet the short answer is YES.
but as a guide (of my expectations): compatible/refilled yes, DIY up to you.

**sources: my experience. I've been refilling cartridges myself for a while. while the quality is not the same, the price per copy can be as low as 1/10th of original ink, or even less. (and that's for HP, other brands are even pricy-er for their originals... ugh. I remember when it was cheaper to buy a new printer than to buy a new cartridge)

** bottomline: money-wise is really worth it. but DIY implies a lot of work. and quality will never be the same.

PS: I have no relationship with any seller. I'm just kinda cheap, and don't like to pay 8cents/page when I can pay less than one, for just a few hours of work.
March 3, 2014 7:06:40 PM

I agree with everything NIKY45 said.
March 16, 2014 3:54:47 AM

niky45 said:

-CISS: big mess to set up, but once you do... almost free printing (except for paper). something like... 30€/10K pages. (but REALLY BIG MESS to set up, and needs fine-tuning every now and then.... )


This is just not true. A pre-filled CISS (as many are) is completely self contained at the time of purchase. When I set up mine I have never gotten even one drop of ink on my fingers or anywhere else for that matter.

The ink-cart exit ports (where the ink leaves the cart to enter the printer) are taped closed. You just remove the tape and plug them in. NO MESS. They can't leak at this point unless you are holding the carts lower than the tanks which should already be be placed next to (and at the same level as) your printer.

The breather holes on the top of the tanks are also taped shut, so you just remove the tape and insert the little air filters. Again, NO MESS, WHAT_SO_EVER.

If you print allot you will need to re-fill the tanks every year or so. If you buy empty tanks you will need to fill them before using them. Either way if you are just a little bit careful you should be able to accomplish this with little to no mess also. If you buy inks with a narrow fill nozzle, you just insert the nozzle in the fill hole and squeeze. The tanks are clear so its easy not to over-fill.

Some of the more expensive higher quality inks come in a bottle with a wide mouth. These will take a little more care as you will need to use the included (or purchased separately, usually from the same suppler) syringe, but still with a little care it's not messy.

As far as the "fine-tuning" thing goes, other than initial color setting/matching I don't even know what you are talking about? If you are talking about ink settling? That has more to do with the quality of the ink you choose to use than anything else, but even with moderate quality ink a little swirl of the ink tanks every 3 or so months will solve that issue. The only "fine-tuning" I have ever had to do is raise my tanks 1/4in to eliminate back-feed from the ink-carts.

niky45 said:
*note: print quality will never be the same. you can't have jet black prints with refilled cartridges, and even less with diy refills. but it will still be legible, so, who cares? (I mean, for home usage... )


Again this is absolutely NOT TRUE! While it is true that cheap $3 Epson compatible ink carts bought from a reputable dealer can give decent prints, they generally won't give you as good a quality prints that OEM carts will give. In fact I don't know of any NON-OEM that will, although some come close and there might be some that do.

But aftermarket ink is a completely different story. You can buy some real dirt cheap crap off of ebay or some very good (6 separate color or more) ink for around $30-$45 that will last you for about 1yr of heavy printing. If your really anal about print quality you can spend $90-$110 on some of the best professional quality inks that have blacker blacks and far better UV resistance than anything Epson offers and still save an ungodly amount of money over OEM costs. You just can't buy the cheapest junk and expect the best quality.




March 29, 2014 10:32:38 PM

Wow...Idonno...I respect Your coordination and neatness. If I tried that I would dump a quart of ink on my carpet.
April 16, 2014 7:59:19 PM

QUOTED SPAM REDACTED - SS

I use the Brother multi-function printers.( $100.00 wireless ) . .. and i get my ink in a 8- or 10 pack off amazon.com last box i got was $40. and they last for ever...i've never bought an original since.....if i bought the original's , it'd be 3 x's that price, I used my printer alot , being in college at the time....... worked great , and printed MANY reports and homework on it............
Aftermarket Inkjet Print Cartridges
I often see people asking about cheaper alternatives to buying OEM ink supplies and just as often they get incorrect responses, So hopefully I can clear a few thing up here. THE INKJET PRINTER MANUFACTURERS The makers of inkjet printers are... See full content
July 26, 2014 11:01:20 PM

I spent years as a wholesale buyer in this industry. On my wife's site REDACTED - SS she sells both OEM and remans/compatibles so I wrote this for her customers:

Generic toner and ink vs OEM - The Truth About Generic Ink, Toner and Drum Cartridges.

A lot of suppliers use the terms generic, compatible and remanufactured or "reman" too freely and interchangeably. This is wholly inaccurate and you need to know the differences and what you are getting when you purchase these items rather than the OEM.

Q - Should I buy generic and not the genuine OEM? Will it perform the same?
A - It depends on what your printing goals are. If you are printing quality photos to display, a presentation meant to impress or something you are selling we recommend using the genuine OEM brand. These have been fine-tuned to work with your machine and the color and quality will be sharp and consistent. If quality needs to be high but not absolutely perfect or you are doing every day printing, a generic will be more cost effective and you may not notice the difference.

Q - Will a generic void my machine warranty?
A - No. 100% no. It is illegal per the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act to not cover a warranty based on the consumer using a generic cartridge despite what an authorized dealer may tell you. Keep in mind that often the dealer sells the machine and continues to supply the toner (OEM) and perform the service. Buying a generic takes business away from them.

Q - What is meant by generic?
A - We use the term generic here, but not in everyday practice since it provides no true information. A generic is either 100% compatible - meaning it is new in every sense or remanufactured where the original core or shell are used and then reconditioned. A 100% compatible sold in the U.S. market is more likely to be made in China or Mexico where as a remanufactured cartridge is more likely to be "made" in the U.S.A.

Q - Are all compatibles the same?
A - No and Yes. Quality varies greatly between manufacturers and if the materials are of a lower grade or the ink formulation is off you will see it in the results or perhaps a leaking cartridge. Why yes? While there is great disparity between factories, the compatibles you will see in the store or catalog are not actually manufactured by the brand on the box. They are outsourced, sometimes through multiple companies and you don't quite know which company or factory made it. Further, switching suppliers happens often and the cartridge you buy could be different than the time before.

Q - Are all remans the same?
A - Yes and No. See above for "yes". The reason for no, is again quality, parts and the expertise. However a different element is involved due to the fact that some original parts are used. The quality of the product will be determined by which items were replaced how much time was put into cleaning what was kept and which new parts were added. It also matters how many times the original shell has been used. The best remanufacturers use only "virgin" cores - meaning only used once when it was a new OEM and contain mostly new parts especially the drum and cleaning blades/brushes. You also want to make sure a toner or ink cartridge includes the "chip" that was on the original which the printer or copier reads to give technical information like remaining yield.

Q - Should I use a reman vs compatible?
A- Remanufactured will sometimes give better results as it has a closer starting point to the original and does not have to work around as many patent issues. This can be less of an issue for the smaller ink tanks that you often find with Brother and Canon color machines. The compatible is often cheaper. A lot of times only the reman is available from reliable sources as the compatible version has not avoided patent violations. Illegal cartridges are still out there though.

Q - How "Green" is a generic?
A - A compatible offers no recycling at the manufacture point. In addition, since they are made overseas where the factories have less environmental restrictions as compared to the U.S. or an overseas OEM factory, it could be worse. A remanufactured cartridge though does offer earth friendly benefits and is what an environmentally conscious user should look for.

Hope this helps!
February 7, 2015 6:00:59 AM

AdamDeP said:
I spent years as a wholesale buyer in this industry. On my wife's site REDACTED - SS she sells both OEM and remans/compatibles so I wrote this for her customers:

Generic toner and ink vs OEM - The Truth About Generic Ink, Toner and Drum Cartridges.

A lot of suppliers use the terms generic, compatible and remanufactured or "reman" too freely and interchangeably. This is wholly inaccurate and you need to know the differences and what you are getting when you purchase these items rather than the OEM.

Q - Should I buy generic and not the genuine OEM? Will it perform the same?
A - It depends on what your printing goals are. If you are printing quality photos to display, a presentation meant to impress or something you are selling we recommend using the genuine OEM brand. These have been fine-tuned to work with your machine and the color and quality will be sharp and consistent. If quality needs to be high but not absolutely perfect or you are doing every day printing, a generic will be more cost effective and you may not notice the difference.

Q - Will a generic void my machine warranty?
A - No. 100% no. It is illegal per the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act to not cover a warranty based on the consumer using a generic cartridge despite what an authorized dealer may tell you. Keep in mind that often the dealer sells the machine and continues to supply the toner (OEM) and perform the service. Buying a generic takes business away from them.

Q - What is meant by generic?
A - We use the term generic here, but not in everyday practice since it provides no true information. A generic is either 100% compatible - meaning it is new in every sense or remanufactured where the original core or shell are used and then reconditioned. A 100% compatible sold in the U.S. market is more likely to be made in China or Mexico where as a remanufactured cartridge is more likely to be "made" in the U.S.A.

Q - Are all compatibles the same?
A - No and Yes. Quality varies greatly between manufacturers and if the materials are of a lower grade or the ink formulation is off you will see it in the results or perhaps a leaking cartridge. Why yes? While there is great disparity between factories, the compatibles you will see in the store or catalog are not actually manufactured by the brand on the box. They are outsourced, sometimes through multiple companies and you don't quite know which company or factory made it. Further, switching suppliers happens often and the cartridge you buy could be different than the time before.

Q - Are all remans the same?
A - Yes and No. See above for "yes". The reason for no, is again quality, parts and the expertise. However a different element is involved due to the fact that some original parts are used. The quality of the product will be determined by which items were replaced how much time was put into cleaning what was kept and which new parts were added. It also matters how many times the original shell has been used. The best remanufacturers use only "virgin" cores - meaning only used once when it was a new OEM and contain mostly new parts especially the drum and cleaning blades/brushes. You also want to make sure a toner or ink cartridge includes the "chip" that was on the original which the printer or copier reads to give technical information like remaining yield.

Q - Should I use a reman vs compatible?
A- Remanufactured will sometimes give better results as it has a closer starting point to the original and does not have to work around as many patent issues. This can be less of an issue for the smaller ink tanks that you often find with Brother and Canon color machines. The compatible is often cheaper. A lot of times only the reman is available from reliable sources as the compatible version has not avoided patent violations. Illegal cartridges are still out there though.

Q - How "Green" is a generic?
A - A compatible offers no recycling at the manufacture point. In addition, since they are made overseas where the factories have less environmental restrictions as compared to the U.S. or an overseas OEM factory, it could be worse. A remanufactured cartridge though does offer earth friendly benefits and is what an environmentally conscious user should look for.

Hope this helps!


Excellent write up. I agree with all your points. I've been repairing Laser printers for several years.
April 12, 2015 1:29:14 PM

Idonno said:
Well unlike some here I have no relation to any ink or ink cartridge supplier. Don't get me wrong I have no problem with them letting everyone know their out their but, their opinion can only be considered a biased one.

Besides the Lexmark I got for free with my first new PC I have used only Epson printers with 6 separate ink cartridges. All these have been "Epson Stylus Photo" printers, 7 in total, 3-R200's, 2-R220's, 1-R300 and I just picked up a brand new R280 minus the ink cartridges at a garage sale for $10.

@ $17 apiece pr ink cartridge that's $102 for all 6 when bought separately. After I bought a few new cartridges from Epson I saw that they had a refurbished R200 on sale for $75 So I bought it mainly for the ink, Which is exactly why I ended up with brand new R280 minus the ink cartridges at a garage sale for only $10

Since I do allot of printing and the Epson Stylus Photo printers make a real nice quality print for everything including CD's and DVD's I had to find a cheaper supply of ink. I finally settled on compatible inkjet cartridges from imarketcity ( http://www.imarketcity.com/coinca.html ) These worked great and a complete set of 6 only cost $19.50 or $3.25 apiece if bought separately. If I bought over $100 worth (equivalent to $375 in Epson ink) they used to even throw in free shipping although I don't think they do anymore.

imarketcity's ink is good quality ink. Not as good as Epson but close. All the R200's, R220's and the R300's used the same ink carts and they would last a fairly long time (comparatively) but, my new R280 uses smaller ink carts and plows through ink like there's no tomorrow. like the rest of my Epson Stylus Photo printers the print quality is great but after printing just 10 Music CD's for an independent artist friend of mine, complete with front/back/insert and printed CD's the black cart (the CD had more black than any other color) was almost empty. My other Epson's could print about 30 copy's before the black was low.

Even with cheap ink carts I had to find a better way for the R280 so, I just bought a CISS (Continuous Ink Supply System) from inkxpro. I bought this one here http://www.inkxpro.com/Continuous-Ink-System-Epson-R260... Like aftermarket ink carts all Continuous Ink Supply Systems are not created equal, Some have crappy carts and some have crappy inks. Just because the systems look the same does not mean they have the same ink either. I did allot of research before settling on my system and you should too. There are some very good CISS that have great quality inks that are just as good as oem inks and there are also some real duds.

With Epson printers the print heads are in the printer so even though the cart is important the ink is the most important factor. With most other printers the print heads are in the ink carts so both the carts and the ink are of equal importance.

I once bought 14 carts from a disreputable dealer and the ink clogged one of my printers beyond repair so, you do have to be careful whom you buy from but, as long as you do your research first you should be OK.

I have not bought any Epson ink for about 8yrs and I never will again. I am very pleased with my aftermarket ink choices.

IMO research first then go for it! Compatible / Remanufactured / Aftermarket is the only way to go!

I believe the print heads in Epson machines are in the machine, vs HP which are in the cartridge. If you happen to be an occasional user, then be careful about letting the Epson sit too long without using. The ink will dry up clogging the head and the only real way to replace the head is to replace the machine. I had this happen once and I had to throw the machine out. With HP the print head is in the cartridge so if the ink dries up clogging the head, all you need to do is replace the cartridge and not the entire machine. That is probably one of the reasons behind the cost differential. The other of course is that HP makes a lot of money on the ink.




April 12, 2015 1:34:21 PM

Be careful about letting Epson ink jet printers sit too long between uses. The ink will dry up clogging the print head and if the clog is bad you have a problem. The print head in Epson is in the machine so if you cannot clean the head, the machine is toast. You have to replace the head or the machine and replacing the head is a major job. You might as well replace the machine. With HP the print head is in the cartridge so if the print head clogs, you just need to replace the cartridge and not the whole head. That is part of what makes them more expensive. I am neither for or against any brand since I use a laser printer. This is FYI only.
April 29, 2015 5:00:05 AM

Hello everyone!

I found on ebay a cartridge chip set for Epson SureColor F6000/F7000/F7100. Check it!
June 30, 2015 5:35:45 AM

jpishgar said:
If you've ever run out of ink (and who hasn't?) you know that printer ink and toner cartridges can get very expensive, very fast. An option many folks take is to buy remanufactured or refilled catridges to cut down on the cost of replacement. Some of these work magnificently, good as new. Others - not so much.

What are some useful hints, tips and advice to use when going for new ink? Are there any pitfalls to avoid royally messing up one's printer with a badly assembled cartridge?


August 13, 2015 9:42:58 AM

I have been using compatibles both ink, solid ink and laser toner ever since they came on the scene, with little or no problems until recently. My toner use is pretty low so a compliment of four will last about two years. I have almost reached the end of the last batch and replaced a Magenta. The results were feint but visible horizontal lines spaces about 2 inches apart.

I contacted the supplier (internet-ink.co.uk). Their response was that they only support their products for 18 months. No commercial sense, like we'll give you 10% off your next purchase, so I have gone elsewhere. My advice is check what kind of support you will get from your supplier before you buy.
September 30, 2015 9:35:12 PM

AdamDeP is Spot one

I’m in the industry and rarely use OEM cartridges. I use two printers a Canon ImageClass MF4150 I’ve had for years and each toner cartridge yields around 4k pages and is cheap around $18.00 retail vs the oem for around $80. I also use a Brother MFC-490 and it uses the LC61 series cartridges.
Not one of the remanufactured compatible cartage I’ve put in my Canon has been defective, can’t say the same for the ink but if an ink cartridge is bad I just throw it out and put another one in. The cost is a fraction of the OEM so I don’t mind the occasional bad cartridge, OEM’s have defects as well.
The industry has come a long way over the years and the quality is similar to OEM. Most of the small remanufactures are gone and have been replaced by the likes of companies like Clover Technologies or the large Chinese remanufactures. Purchasing a compatible clone or a remanufactured is relatively safe in my opinion.
The OEM’s like HP, Samsung and Lexmark to name a few are manufacturing their printers and cartridges with reset chips trying to stay 1 step ahead of the aftermarket industry. If you purchase an aftermarket toner or ink cartridge with a chip and it doesn’t work in your printer the problem is usually a firmware issue, either you updated your printer firmware or the cartridge has been on the shelf to long.