Genuine or compatible ink cartridges.?

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The battle continues to rage over the differences between genuine branded cartridges and non-genuine (generic or third party) printer ink . Many articles have been written on the subject and the average consumer still seems undecided as to the best solution in terms of print quality, overall costs and ensuring the integrity of their printer.

Definition of a compatible cartridge

A compatible or generic ink cartridge is essentially a copy of the original cartridge manufactured by a third party. Although there are hundreds of companies producing compatible cartridges, the most common generic brands are Q-image, Calidad, Print-Rite and Q inks.

The main concerns with generic cartridges are compatibility, print quality, page yield, and the actual quality of the cartridge casting. If any of these qualities are not present, problems of one kind or another will occur. These issues include ink leaks, poor print quality and yield, printer jams or misfeeds, and “unrecognized” cartridges.

The benefits of using non-genuine cartridges

The obvious advantage of a compatible cartridge is its low price. On average, a non-genuine cartridge is 40-90% cheaper than its branded equivalent. Not only are they less expensive, but in most cases the generic cartridge contains significantly more ink than the genuine branded cartridge.

Compatible ink cartridges are usually water-based and contain pigments or dyes to achieve the different colors as well as black. Genuine inks, on the other hand, are oil-based. This can be a problem if you are printing invoices etc as water based inks dry immediately whereas oil based inks take much longer to dry and tend to rub off easily if documents are handled before they have time to dry.

That said, the print quality remains extremely high and it’s nearly impossible to see a major difference between the two. This requires non-genuine cartridges to be of high quality and not the inferior junk that many online stores still sell.

Disadvantages of using non-genuine ink cartridges

The only downside to a generic ink is the high levels of UV exposure. We ran rigorous tests between branded and non-branded cartridges and exposed them to direct sunlight (glued to a window) over a period of months.

We have seen greater deterioration of prints made with compatible printer inks than with branded inks. However, this is not a problem for the majority of consumers, as most images and printed materials are exposed to minimal UV radiation.

In an independent study of print quality between genuine and non-genuine cartridges, generic cartridges scored higher for certain printer brands. Yes, you read that right, the cheaper, non-genuine inks in some cases achieved better print quality than the more expensive, branded cartridges.

What to look for when shopping online

It always amazes me how many people shop online without ever bothering to check a retailer’s reputation before making a purchase. It only takes a few minutes to google a company’s “reviews” and see what previous customer experiences have been. This is especially important when buying a ‘generic’ product, as the differences in quality can be considerable.

Other important factors include the warranty that comes with the product as well as the security of the website. Does the website have a phone number and physical address? No, so be careful because any legitimate online store will have no reason not to provide these details.

More recently, a crucial factor to consider if you own a Brother, HP, or Epson printer is whether your vendor keeps up to date with printer firmware changes. Firmware updates are commonplace these days, and once installed, chances are your printer won’t recognize your generic cartridges . We recommend that you disable all printer software updates to prevent this from happening. Also, if your cartridge supplier is reputable, they will always stock the very latest chip-updated cartridges to avoid compatibility issues.

Will compatible cartridges damage my printer?

The answer is a resounding NO! Unless you buy a cheap, inferior cartridge that has been molded very badly, it is virtually impossible for a generic cartridge to damage your printer.

Unfortunately, many printer vendors will be quick to blame a non-genuine cartridge if a problem arises. Most sellers, however, have only a very limited idea of ​​what causes a printer to fail, and so it’s easier to pin the blame on the cartridges rather than the cheap, nasty printer.

 The modern inkjet printer, regardless of brand, is no longer a quality product, but a throwaway item. You do not believe it ? On average, most modern inkjet printers have a lifespan of 2 years at most. I’m talking about two years of printing and that’s about all you’ll get from them, regardless of the initial cost.

The printhead is usually the first component to fail and once that happens just throw the printer away and get a new one. Modern printheads are manufactured to very low standards and, due to their delicate nature, rarely last more than a few years. They often fail earlier.

What about generic toner cartridges?

Although most consumers are happy to try non-genuine inks, many are hesitant to convert to compatible toners . This may be because a laser printer is more expensive to buy and therefore people are more afraid to try them in case they destroy their printer.

It’s understandable and, to be completely honest, we’ve dealt with non-genuine laser cartridges over the years that were very poorly made. I have always been a little hesitant to sell these products because the return rate was quite high. The point is, there’s no point in selling replacement cartridges if they don’t perform the same as the original cartridges and the customer isn’t satisfied, which is something no business wants.

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