OEM vs. New Compatible toner – What’s the difference and which to buy?

Technology

In many other blog posts we’ve discussed how printing costs are a significant part of your office expenses and, as such, they need to be actively controlled. In this post, we’ll be discussing ink and toner options, more specifically, the difference between OEM and New Compatible toner cartridges – and which is the best option for you. Let’s start by explaining what each one is, and the benefits/drawbacks of each option.

OEM Toner Cartridges
An OEM Cartridge is made by the Original Equipment Manufacturer, in other words, the company that made your printer also made the cartridge. For example, if you own a Dell printer, then the Dell brand is the maker of OEM cartridges for your device.

New Compatible Toner Cartridges
A compatible toner cartridge is made by a third party manufacturer than your printer and is made up of all compatible parts. It is very similar to the OEM cartridges however it can be used in a variety of different printers. We recommend that when buying compatible toner cartridges you always buy New Compatible toner as some less reputable manufacturers will simply refill old OEM cartridges with toner and slap a new label on it.

How do they stack up?
OEM Toner cartridges are manufactured specifically for your device and can therefore usually be relied upon to be high quality. These toners generally have low failure rates and provide high print quality as they’re specifically designed for that particular printer or copier.

Printer manufacturers recommend that you use their toner cartridges as they claim that the printer functions can be affected by other toner cartridges. They also suggest that the life of a laser printer can be shortened by using unbranded toner cartridges.

The downsides to OEM toners is that they are significantly more expensive than a compatible cartridge and their production and disposal isn’t very eco-friendly.

New compatible toner cartridges offer good quality printing for a much lower cost than OEM cartridges; some sources even assert that they can provide better quality than certain OEMs. These cartridges are often also more eco-friendly in their production and disposal (some are biodegradable!).

The downside to new compatible cartridges is that you must get them from a reputable source. If buying from something like an auction site you don’t really know what you are going to get, if it is simply a refilled used cartridge, or if it may not even be compatible with your device at all.

So what’s the best option?
The better option here is pretty clear, new compatible cartridges are cheaper, can work just as well and are more eco-friendly than their counterpart OEM cartridges. In fact, by using new compatible cartridges you can see average savings from 30-40% per toner… sometimes even more than 50%!  A reputable dealer of new compatible toners tests their toners to know what brands of new compatible toner are manufactured to a high standard of quality and will work with your various devices.  

So what’s the tl:dr? Buy new compatible toner cartridges, but only from a reputable source.

Cory Porteous
Marketing Manager
Office Interiors