Manufacturer vs compatible toner cartridges – what’s the difference?

Need a new toner cartridge for your printer? Before you buy a pricey manufacturer toner, find out why compatible toners are a cost-effective alternative. 

If you’ve ever needed to buy toner supplies for your laser printer – either at work, home or both – you may have noticed terms like OEM, compatible, manufacturer-made, original and re-manufactured.

What do they all mean? Which types of toner cartridge are safe to use, while offering the best value for money? And which ones should you avoid?

The easiest solution is just to stick to the toner cartridges made by the company that made your printer – you can be certain they’ll work. But you’ll pay much more for this peace of mind.

To help you find the right toner cartridge for your printer without blowing your budget, here’s what you need to know about manufacturer vs compatible toners.

Original toner cartridges can be expensive

You know this. The manufacturer knows this. And, even though toner is cheaper than inkjet ink, it can still represent a sizeable portion of your monthly admin budget, especially if you print often.

One of the reasons original manufacturer toner is more expensive, is that the company invests a significant amount of money into the research and development of new formulations, colours etc.

While this is actually fair enough initially, eventually, surely they’ve recouped the initial outlay? The original manufacturer also has to cover the expenses of promoting its new inks, storing them and shipping worldwide from its factories.

The upside to paying more for manufacturer toners is that you know you’re buying a high quality toner that’s formulated to work perfectly with their printer.

This is all great, but are you really tied to your original manufacturer just because you bought one of its printers?

Compatible toners are a cost-effective alternative

Compatible toners, like those by the Cartridge People are made by companies that can analyse the composition and formulations of the original toners, and replicate them almost perfectly.

They can also manufacture the cases and chips to exactly the same specifications as the originals, offering you, the end user, a cheaper alternative to the more expensive own-brand toner.

So, if compatible toners are so brilliant, what don’t the companies who manufacture them charge as much, or nearly as much, as the originals?

Well, the compatible company doesn’t have the added expense of R&D and product testing, which can be expensive in an industry that’s as competitive as printing.

Obviously compatible toners still need to be promoted, stored and shipped, but these are overheads rather than big investments. Plus, these companies want to attract custom, and a lower price point is one of the best ways to do that.

The main difference is in the price

In short, the key differences between an original toner cartridge and a compatible is the brand and the price.

When it comes to using the cartridges, you’ll see no difference – until you come to print out your monthly expenses!

This is a collaborative post in association with the Cartridge People.