Inkjet Cartridges - Buying Brand Name vs. Compatible Cartridges

Apr 30


Chris Roman

Chris Roman

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You may find that purchasing new brand name ink cartridges for your inkjet color printer quickly becomes very costly, but there are alternative ways to get the same quality standard for a lower price. Your primary options are: brand name (OEM) cartridges, compatible cartridges or remanufactured cartridges.


As a consumer you have a choice when it comes to buying replacement inkjet cartridges. It is a common belief that consumers are obligated to purchase expensive brand name ink cartridges from the manufacturer,Inkjet Cartridges - Buying Brand Name vs. Compatible Cartridges Articles or the printer's warranty will be voided. This is not true - by law, the use of compatible replacement cartridges does not void the printer's warranty. You can in fact opt to buy less expensive compatible ink cartridges or remanufactured cartridges, often realizing a savings of between 50% and 75%. All major inkjet cartridge brands have compatible versions, including Apple, Canon, Hewlett Packard, Lexmark, Brother, Epson, IBM and Xerox.

Brand Name Cartridges

Most of the printer manufacturers make the replacement printer cartridges that are best suited for their printers. This is the most expensive option, and in some cases the only option if you purchase a newer printer whose manufacturer embedded computer chips inside the ink cartridge. The purpose of this may be to regulate the ink, limit the cartridge to one use or to a certain number of pages, or to keep the cartridge in alignment. However if you use a compatible or remanufactured ink cartridge and it can't communicate with the printer, or if they speak a different language, your printer won't recognize the cartridge and it may damage the printer or not work at all.

Compatible Cartridges

When you consider buying an ink cartridge for your printer, the primary factor that you need to think about is how much you want to spend. Buying a new inkjet cartridge will depend upon how much you want to pay. You can purchase a new brand name ink cartridge, or you can buy a new compatible ink cartridge. Both types of inkjet cartridges will give you the same quality, quantity and performance you have come to expect from your printer. The difference is in price: a brand name cartridge can cost about twice the price you would pay for a compatible ink cartridge.

Compatible ink cartridges are specially manufactured to meet OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) specifications. They usually set very high standards of quality and reliability and offer high quality printing results, often exceeding the quality specification set by the OEM. These cartridges are manufactured with brand new components and are an economical alternative to expensive brand name cartridges.

You may also be pleasantly surprised to notice that the compatible cartridge will print as many or more pages than your original OEM cartridge. This mainly happens because some original OEM ink cartridges were not filled to capacity. In this case a compatible inkjet cartridge may give you double advantage: it can reduce your cost per cartridge and reduce your cost per page by printing more pages.

Remanufactured Cartridges

As the name suggests remanufactured cartridges are rebuilt from used empty cartridges. The remanufacturing process is not just about refilling the cartridges; they are taken apart, repaired, new parts are used if needed, and than they are refilled with ink.

High quality standards are maintained during the remanufacturing process so that the quality of the ink and any replaced part is the same as the original equipment manufacturer's (OEM) quality. They go through various recycling and reprocessing steps to ensure their quality, and are tested after manufacturing in real time printing.

If processed correctly, remanufactured cartridges have the ability to meet or exceed OEM specifications.

Ordering Ink Cartridges

Quite often generic ink cartridges are the same cartridges you buy with a brand name on the packaging. There are entrepreneurs who buy ink cartridges from the major companies and then repackage them under a different name. Because they buy the cartridges in large quantities, they get them for a lower price which allows them to pass the savings on to consumers.

Be sure to select the correct compatible or remanufactured ink cartridge for your printer. To decrease the chances of selecting the wrong ink cartridge there are several things that you need to know before you shop for replacement cartridges:

  • You must know the brand and model type of your printer.
  • Be sure to find out if your printer has chips embedded in the ink cartridges that prohibit the use of compatible ink cartridges.

The Internet is a good source for purchasing printer ink cartridges. Millions of customers worldwide reduce their printing costs by buying high quality compatible inkjet cartridges and OEM printer supplies online, saving time and money. The best option is to spend some time comparison shopping before you purchase your replacement cartridges. A reputable online merchant will sell high quality replacement cartridges and offer fast shipping with a 100% guarantee so there is no risk to you. Once you have found a reliable vendor you can trust, always order in advance and keep spare cartridges on hand.

Storing Ink Cartridges

Depending upon certain factors the life of an ink cartridge varies from a few months to a couple of years. The most important factor is whether the cartridge is opened or sealed. Cartridges sealed in the original packaging and stored in a cool dry place should last up to two years. However the cartridges must be sufficiently protected while in storage, because even a small pin prick in the packaging will break the seal and the ink will start to dry out.

The life of a cartridge also depends on the kind of wear and tear it gets over the time period it is in use. If you do a lot of color printing obviously the ink cartridges will become empty much quicker. The life span of ink cartridges can be increased by refilling, recycling or refurbishing them.

The ink which flows through each nozzle assembly functions as a lubricant and coolant for the nozzle so does not get damaged. It is very important never to attempt to print with an empty ink cartridge. The print head can burn out if the ink cartridge is not refilled or replaced promptly. The effect of the damage may range from poor print quality that will show up in the form of lines across the print page, blurring and light or dark patches on the page. Eventually, this can be fatal for the printer.


Personally I prefer to use brand name cartridges when I am printing very high quality color photos, and compatible ink cartridges for other creative projects (such as color presentations, business documents, cards, pamphlets, logos etc.) where the color quality is important but does not require photo quality.

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