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Discount Ink Cartridges - Printers and Computers


Discount inkjet cartridges : an explanation

Discount ink cartridges are a very tempting prospect when you see the cost of replacement ink cartridges for your printer. But all replacements are not the same. The following step by step guide explains the standard options available to you.

OEM Cartridges


OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacture. These companies manufacture the ink and cartridges sold under the major printer manufacturers' brand names such as Canon, Lexmark, HP, Epson etc. These are the most expensive cartridges available for your printer but offer the best quality performance and inks. Many manufacturers state that you will void the warranty for their machine if you use anything other than OEM cartridges.

Compatible Cartridges

Compatible ink cartridges are generic brand cartridges made by a company other than the printer manufacturer, often a large stationer or retail chain. These discount ink cartridges are generally substantially cheaper than OEM cartridges. As they are generic cartridges and often fit several models of printer, quality may have been compromised slightly. Inks are not specific to the printer model but are generally of reasonable standards. You should also be aware that compatible cartridges may also contain some recycled parts. Manufactures of these generic equivalents or clones do try to meet or even surpass OEM standards but the quality of the ink can vary greatly.

Remanufactured or Refurbished Cartridges

Another option for discount ink cartridges are refurbished or remanufactured ink cartridges which are built by recycling old cartridges. Spent cartridges are dismantled and cleaned, the components are checked and replaced if necessary, and then the cartridge is reassembled and filled with toner before being tested, sealed and repackaged. It is usually laser cartridges that are remanufactured in this way. The outside casing and some internal parts are usually reused while others are replaced with new parts. Remanufactured cartridges should perform as well as an OEM cartridge if the ink is of good quality. You'd be best advised to find a company that provides a written warranty for their remanufactured cartridges to be sure you really are getting a good value discount ink cartridge.

Refilled cartridges

A discount ink cartridge yes, but a good idea? Refilled cartridges are almost always a bad idea unless they have been professionally refilled. It is usually inkjet cartridges that are refilled but home refill kits are messy and the quality of ink supplied is generally low and may damage your printer nozzles. Ink cartridge refills are a good option if you only print black text; for color printing they are almost always a bad idea. Cartridges have only been refilled with toner or ink and no parts have been replaced. You'll rarely get any kind of guarantee with refilled cartridges and will almost certainly void your printer warranty.