Toner cartridge is the component of a printer that stores and transfers ink to the paper when printing. The toner ink is made of carbon, coloring agents and powder contained within a plastic casing. The cartridge is a consumable component and usually constitutes the highest costs of running the printer. Most businesses order cartridges frequently to replace used ones and this can be quite a significant cost to many small and medium sized businesses.
There are different alternatives available for printer cartridge to help in keeping the costs lower. One of these alternatives is using compatible toner.
Compatible Toner Cartridge
Manufactures of printers also manufacture and supply toner cartridges for replacing used up ones. These cartridges are referred to as Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) toners. However, there are also other suppliers who are not the printer manufacturers but manufacture toners compatible with various printers. These types of cartridges are referred to as generic, compatible or alternatives. There are both advantages and disadvantages of using compatible toners as compared to their OEM counterparts.
Advantages of Compatible Option
The main advantage of using compatibles is that they cost lower than the OEM. Since the cartridge cost is a recurring cost, the multiplier effect of saving a small amount every time you buy toner can translate to huge savings. This is especially the case for businesses that print a lot and spend much on replacing the toners.
Compatible toners, when bought from the right place, can come with a better warranty then their counterpart OEM. Cannon for instance generally gives a 60 day guarantee on cannon toners, whereas compatible manufacturers may give a year or lifetime warranty.
It is also argued that compatible toners are more environmentally friendly as compared to OEM especially when it comes to disposal. This is mainly because the OEM options are manufactured from high quality and tougher materials that may translate to being less decomposable. On the other hand, the cheaper materials used to manufacture the generics will tend to decompose faster thus more friendly to the environment.
Disadvantages of Generic Toners
One of the major demerits of alternative brand toners is that many tend to be of a lower quality. Since keeping costs low is important to remain competitive, some of the compatible toner manufacturers may compromise a lot on quality and this may even lead to the damage of the printer. You therefore need to carefully select your compatible toner supplier to ensure that their quality is at least good enough to keep your printer in good condition.
The generic options may also come with less ink and therefore last for a shorter time as compared to the OEM option. You therefore need to check the details of the compatible cartridge to ensure that the product is real value – all factors taken into consideration.
Given the high risks associated with the compatible cartridges, it may be advisable to consider other options of keeping your toner costs low. One way is to seek out suppliers with value add contracts. For example, as opposed to paying for disposal of used cartridges or even disposing used toners for free, some suppliers will pay you to collect the used up OEM toners. This is because such used up toners are usually recycled. This can work towards reducing your overall cost of toners.
Another alternative to keeping your costs low is purchasing recycled cartridges. The toner re-cycling manufacturers will replace the ink components in the toner and repair any damaged parts and then offer the recycled pieces for sale. These recycled toners cost much lower than the OEM options and will normally cost lower than the generics. In fact, the cost of the recycled toner will normally be 30% to 60% lower than OEMs. Besides the lower costs, the recycled toners are also more eco-friendly as they recycle used cartridges that would have otherwise been disposed. A cartridge can be recycled up to 4 times and therefore saving much on the environmental impact of the waste.
Consideration for Recycled Option
However, just as in the case of the compatible cartridges, the recycled options also depend on the manufacturer recycling them and if the manufacturer does a poor job, the recycled toners will be of a low quality and potentially damage your printer. You therefore need to identify a quality recycling company to provide you with the best value for your printer’s running costs.