Remanufactured Ink Cartridges
Remanufactured ink cartridges are recycled ink cartridges that have been reprocessed by technicians. The remanufacturing procedure involves dismantling the cartridge, inspecting and cleaning each component and replacing any worn parts. The cartridge is then reassembled and refilled before being tested, sealed and repackaged.
If reprocessed by a reliable source these remanufactured ink cartridges should meet or exceed the quality of the manufacturer's own-brand cartridges. The process can be repeated over and over again as any worn out parts are replaced at remanufacture. Typical savings can be up to 60% on the recommended retail price of a new cartridge.
The ink replaced in your cartridge, however, will not be the same as the ink in an Original Equipment Manufacture (OEM) ink cartridge. Each printer uses a specific ink type and every ink is specialized right down to the pH of the water used in it. If this pH balance is wrong the ink may float on the paper or bleed through the paper fibers.
Remanufacturers attempt to match the original manufacture inks as best as possible. A large company will spend thousands of dollars on research for new inks and will produce inks that are of high quality and very similar to the original. Less scrupulous dealers will use cheap, inferior quality inks, use them generically across brands and generally offer a much poorer service. The chemical balance of the inks is also critical as some chemicals can damage the nozzles on your printer heads. Look for personal recommendations if you're considering using remanufactured ink cartridges and opt for a reliable source.
For ink cartridges containing a micro chip such as some Epson, Lexmark, and Canon models, the technology behind the chip has been patented and compatible cartridges can be difficult to come by. A landmark lawsuit taken by Lexmark in the United States saw the courts finding in favour of third party printer manufacturers when it came to the production of cloned cartridges. However, if you own a printer that takes cartridges with a micro chip, a remanufactured ink cartridge may be easier to find than a compatible cartridge.
In all cases, for those most important documents where print quality is a real concern, remanufactured ink cartridges may not live up to your expectations and paying for a new cartridge is really the only way to ensure quality prints.