What is the difference between New and Remanufactured toner cartridges?

Technology

Printers have been a popular topic for us recently, and that’s why we’re continuing the trend of comparing your options for toner cartridges and which might be the best option for you. Today we’re contrasting new and remanufactured toner. Although there is some controversy online and the topic can be easily biased, we’re going to try to keep it as neutral as possible while explaining the pros and cons of each, and who they might be the best option for.

New toner is exactly that, a brand new toner cartridge directly from the factory. Within the category of new toner cartridges, you have two options, either new compatible or OEM.  We aren’t going to break down the difference between OEM and new compatible in this post but you can read our recent blog post to learn about it in more detail.

New Pros: High quality and reliability.  With a new toner cartridge, almost any reputable manufacturer will issue a guarantee or warranty on their product and you know that all the parts and pieces have not gone through any wear and tear.
New Cons: More expensive.  

Remanufactured toners are used toner cartridges. The empty cartridges are sent back to a remanufacturing plant, where the cartridge housing is then refurbished.  Internal components are evaluated and some may be replaced before the cartridge is refilled with new toner.  When buying remanufactured toner you should always enquire as to whether or not the remanufacturer has “re-chipped” the cartridges.  Toner cartridges contain a chip that tracks how many print jobs have been done and is used by your device to estimate how many impressions are remaining before you need to replace your toner, if this chip has not been replaced your low toner warnings may not be reliable.  There is a wide range of manufacturers of remanufactured toners, some of which will offer a guarantee that their product will work, some of which will not.  

It is important to note that there is also a second type of used toner cartridge; refilled.  The main danger with refilled toner cartridges is that, while they are far and away the cheapest option, there is no remanufacturing process… they simply take an old toner bottle and refill it.  Since there is no actual assessment of cartridges condition we do not believe it is ever a good idea to use refilled toner cartridges and as such do not include it in the pros vs cons evaluation of new vs remanufactured toner debate.

Remanufactured Pros: Significantly cheaper and may hold more toner than some OEM cartridges.
Remanufactured Cons: Can be a bit of a gamble; some company’s ship these products in from abroad with inferior replacement springs and gears which can cause them to fail.

So what’s the best option?

Well, new toner is a good choice for you if you rely heavily on printing and it needs to consistently be done correctly, as with remanufactured you do run a higher risk of faulty cartridges or inconsistent toner application. If you or your team rely on your device to keep workflows moving smoothly, print consumer-facing documents in-house, lease your device or do a large monthly volume of printing we recommend using either OEM or new compatible toners.

Remanufactured toner is a viable alternative for people with small monthly volumes or running inexpensive to repair/replace devices such as a home office printer.   Just be sure that if you do purchase remanufactured toner that you find a reputable reseller or remanufacturer who will offer a guarantee of their product.  If they won’t provide a guarantee they probably aren’t worth your hard-earned dollars.  

Ultimately, the best toner cartridge to use depends on your situation.  If you value reliability and consistency you likely want to go with new toner.  However, if you’re just looking for a bargain for your desktop printer there is some money to be saved by using remanufactured toner.

Have any more toner related questions you would like us to answer?  Let us know!

Cory Porteous
Marketing Manager
Office Interiors