Laser printer users need not worry when their toner runs dry. Why? They can easily buy new cartridges – the all so important elements during the printing process. Cartridges come in three types: original equipment manufacturer (OEM), remanufactured, and compatible cartridges. The original (OEM) cartridges are manufactured by the printer’s manufacturer. On the other hand, compatible cartridges are manufactured by 3rd party companies.
The compatible cartridges are also referred to as alternative brand cartridges. As such, they are packaged and sold with different brand names. On the other hand, remanufactured cartridges can be considered as “originals”. In a sense, they’ve been brought apart, fixed, and refilled with toner.
That said, it is worth mentioning that, as expected, original cartridges are rather costlier than the others. The laser printers’ parts market can be traced back to the ’80s. During this period the replacement cartridges were quite expensive. The high cost had some negative implications. Users had to buy new laser printers instead of purchasing the highly-priced toners.
Laser printer users will either get the compatible cartridges or remanufactured cartridges. This allows them to save money! The next best option for the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is the compatible cartridges. They are cheaper than the OEM cartridges and come with an extended lifeline, unlike the remanufactured ones.
Furthermore, compatible cartridge’s performance is almost similar or better than the OEM cartridges. Understandably, users are worried about the implications of the warranty when they use alternatives brands cartridges. However, consumers are protected by the Magnason-Moss warranty act.
This act protects against any illegalities they may face from Original manufactures concerning the warranty. Some original manufacturers will discourage their consumers from purchasing compatible cartridges. They argue that they will inhibit the performance of laser printers.
Laser printer consumers’ biggest concern is printers producing lower print quality. However, this issue can be easily fixed by cleaning the cartridges. It’s good to mention that the price of alternative brand cartridges is quite favorable in comparison to the original ones.
It is a bargain, considering that some of the compatible cartridges are cheaper by a whopping 60%. For instance, Brother DCP-L2550DW toner is guaranteed to meet or exceed the print quality of the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Brother laser toner cartridge. And, it is relatively cheaper than the original one!
The remanufactured units gained popularity during the 1980s. It is during this period that an industry was born through recycling the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) cartridges. To make the OEMs useful again, they drilled holes and filled them with toner. As innovative as it may sound, this had its downside.
For one, it’s fairly hard to restore the functionality of a product to its original state. Therefore, there was an outcry within the remanufactured industry because of the large collection of lower standards cartridges. This in effect brought with it bad press for this industry.
It is through innovative companies that the remanufactured cartridges industry got a boost. These companies could build necessary spare parts that the industry needed. The parts were used to rebuild the toner cartridges at an affordable rate. The two major differences between the cartridges and OEMs and remanufactured units are the use of recycled products and the less dependency on petroleum products by the latter.
It is for this reason Industry observers believe that remanufactured cartridges are more environmentally friendly than OEM. The use of readily available parts helped the manufacturer offer better quality cartridges.
This can be further explained by the amount of oil needed to produce one cartridge. An original cartridge requires two quarts of oil. The manufacturing of a single cartridge leads to the production of 10.6 lbs. of Carbon dioxide. On the other hand, the remanufactured cartridges production are less polluting. As such, they play a key role in the reduction of greenhouse emissions.
Even with all the benefits of using remanufactured and compatible cartridges, the consumer is encouraged to be careful when choosing laser toners. Ideally, it’s agreed, they should look out for well-known retailers. In most cases, these retailers are concerned about the standards of the product they are offering to consumers.
Additionally, they’ll be more concerned about the environmental impact of their products. Most of them tend to play an active role in sustainable environmental programs regarding their products.