Just when you thought you’ve put your printing troubles behind now that you’ve finally bought your first printer, you still have to worry about what kind of ink you have to buy! You look it up online and balk at the price of original printer ink, but grow wary at the idea of using generic printing ink, which is much cheaper. Fret not; here is the definitive guide to the differences between original and compatible printer ink so you can come to a final, buying decision.
Let us start with the basics. An original cartridge is what one calls the ink cartridge made by the same company that manufactured your printer. For example, you bought an HP printer; an original cartridge should be one made by HP as well. They are also sometimes called “genuine” cartridges and have the letters “OEM” (Original Equipment Manufacturer) stamped on them.
Meanwhile, a compatible cartridge is manufactured by a third party company for your printer. The only difference is in the branding: with a compatible cartridge you’ll still be getting a new one that should work as well as an original ink cartridge.
What’s the Deal?
The only real difference between an original and compatible printer ink cartridges is the price. The original printer ink cartridge fetches a higher price because of its “premium” quality which is just basically branding. Compatible printer ink cartridges get its “inferior” status for being nameless despite being identical to the original in ink formulation.
Does this all sound a little bit like a consumer trap to you? Because it does. Manufacturers will, of course, want to maximize their profits by pushing more of their own products onto buyers. This results in massive overhead fees that produce a final product that is identical, but far more expensive than its generic counterparts.
There is a myth that compatible printer ink cartridges produce lower quality prints and will eventually ruin your printer. The truth is that the chances of this happening are slim, and it gets even slimmer as printing technology advances. Another factor is widespread customer reviews: if shady retailers keep selling cheap but dodgy products, buyers will always rat these kinds of sellers out through online reviews. It’s simply not a good idea to sell low-quality ink cartridges.
Another reason why people are so wary of buying and using compatible printer ink cartridges is the warranty. The reality is that compatible printer ink cartridges are so reliable that if your printer breaks down within your required one year warranty, and you’re using a generic ink cartridge, you will still be entitled to technical assistance and even complete machine replacement—the exact same treatment you would get as if you used the original printer ink cartridges.
But what if the cause for failure is the generic cartridge itself? Well, the chances of this happening are very slim since it’s very rare that a cartridge could cause direct harm to a machine. Even in the unlikely event of this happening, then you should still be covered by the supplier of the faulty cartridge.
Did you know that using compatible printer ink cartridges would lessen your carbon footprint? Since a majority of these compatibles are made from refilled cartridges, you will definitely be helping out the environment by basically recycling. By opting not to buy into more original printer ink cartridges, you won’t be feeding an entirely new cycle of the plastic production operation.
If you value your budget and the environment, then you should definitely go for compatible printer ink cartridges. If you value quality, then you should be better off buying the original printer ink cartridges for the first few months, especially if you bought yourself a printer that is the first of its kind on the market, and wait for quality generic cartridges for that particular printer to come out.