The Three Major Problems with Refilled Toner Cartridges


The Three Major Problems with Refilled Toner Cartridges

For most businesses, printing is a critical element of day-to-day operations. Today, many devices come with a low cost-of-entry, and that can be an attractive draw for business owners.

However, toner is often a “hidden” cost that many businesses don’t anticipate until they’ve had to replace a cartridge. While manufacturers typically suggest that you use OEM (original equipment manufacturer) cartridges, today you have three lower-cost options that can help you control your overall print costs – new compatible, remanufactured and refilled cartridges.

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the issues surrounding refilled cartridges.

Remanufactured and Refilled Cartridges, what’s the difference?

Today, many businesses are looking for ways to lower print costs. While it’s always a safe bet to purchase an OEM print cartridge, which comes with quality guarantees, they are also the most expensive type of toner cartridge.

As a result, many businesses turn to remanufactured, compatible, or refilled cartridges as viable ways to cut print costs.  Let’s look at the differences between these three lower-cost options.

  • New Compatible CartridgesNew compatible cartridges are built by third-party manufacturers. They may or may not come with guarantees and warranties. They are typically lower cost than OEM cartridges but can cost more than remanufactured or refilled cartridges.
  • Remanufactured CartridgesRemanufactured cartridges are made from recycled cartridges that have been thoroughly checked, had any worn parts replaced, and then refilled. They typically cost less than OEM, are priced in the same range as compatible cartridges, and often come with warranties or guarantees. 
  • Refilled Cartridges – A refilled cartridge is a used cartridge that has been refilled with new toner. They are typically the lowest cost option and do not come with guarantees or warranties. The main reason people consider refilled cartridges is that some providers offer them at a significantly cheaper price point than any other option.

The Three Major Problems with Refilled Cartridges

While many people base their decision to use refilled cartridges based solely on price, refilled cartridges can actually cost users more in the long run. Read on to learn more:

1. Refilled Cartridges aren’t durable. 

No matter how carefully your used cartridge was refilled, it’s still an old cartridge. The only thing new in it is the toner.

Toner cartridges are a complex mix of components that vary from brand to brand and are designed to last for a predefined period. When they exceed these limits, the risk of failure rises exponentially. 

When compared to refilled cartridges, remanufactured cartridges are much more reliable. They are refurbished with new components and tested before they are refilled. Their cost is slightly higher than refilled cartridges, but many come with guarantees and are significantly less prone to failure.

2. The print quality from a refilled cartridge can vary.

No matter who does the refilling, the print quality will typically not match the print quality from a remanufactured or new compatible cartridge. The print quality from a refilled cartridge can even differ from document to document.

Often with a refilled cartridge, you will create more waste because you may have to print a document multiple times to get an acceptable output. Streaking, smudging, fading and other quality issues are common.

3. A poor-quality refilled cartridge can damage your printer.

Refilled cartridges require that the inside chamber is made accessible. Whether this is accomplished through injection, or dismantling the cartridge, the bottom line is the seal is compromised.

If the resealing process isn’t completed correctly, the cartridge can leak, coating the components in your device. These particles can cause damage, sometimes irreversible damage, to your machine.

So, Are Refilled Cartridges Worth the Cost Savings?

Using a refilled toner cartridge can be risky business. It may appear that you’ll realize significant cost savings at the onset, but if you need to reprint your documents because of poor quality or need to have your machine cleaned or repaired because of a toner spill, those cost savings will quickly disappear.

Refilled toner cartridges are only one alternative to more expensive toner cartridges. Remanufactured toner cartridges and new compatible toner cartridges are more reliable alternatives that also offer significant cost savings over OEM cartridges.

You may find that the lower price is worth the risk in your small convenience or home office printer, which can be inexpensively replaced if damaged, but if you rely on your device to operate your business, or you have invested in a valuable multifunction printer (MFP) we never recommend the purchase or use of refilled toner cartridges to our customers.

Looking for a convenient place to order paper, staples, ink, toner and many more office supplies? Take a look at our Supplies page!

Cory Porteous
Director of Marketing & Inbound Business Development
Office Interiors

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