When shopping for ink cartridges for office printers, there are two main options to choose from: original/genuine or third-party cartridges. What are their main differences, and what are the drawbacks of using third-party cartridges compared to genuine ones? Let’s find out.
What are the types of ink cartridges?
- Genuine or original: These are brand-new ink cartridges that have been manufactured and endorsed by printer manufacturers like HP, Lexmark, and Canon for a specific printer model. They are also called OEM, or original equipment manufacturer cartridges, and typically sold at a premium price.
- Third-party: These are brand-new ink cartridges made by a third-party manufacturer. The term may also refer to ink cartridges that have been recycled, remade, and refilled by a third-party entity. Third-party ink cartridges are usually much cheaper than genuine ones.
What are the downsides to using third-party ink cartridges?
Some businesses might think that using third-party cartridges is just the same as using genuine ones and that they are saving money by doing so. However, third-party cartridges have notable drawbacks, such as:
1. Quality inconsistencies
Some third-party ink cartridges pose a risk of producing blurry lines or overspraying. They may also appear to produce decent short-term results, but printed documents or photos may fade or discolor within months.
2. Risk of printer issues
While printer manufacturers permit the use of third-party cartridges, there are cartridges with chips that aren't configured properly to work with certain printers, which can result in compatibility issues. Some third-party ink cartridges can even clog printheads, especially if you don’t use them frequently.
In a study where HP technicians serviced 71,231 printers, 55% of the problems caused by third-party ink cartridges were printer damage and cartridge failures. Furthermore, the study found that third-party ink cartridges needed to be replaced twice as often as genuine parts.
Some printer manufacturers like HP, Lexmark, and Brother do not cover failures caused by remanufactured products, parts, and supplies. This means that if a third-party ink cartridge causes your printer to malfunction, you may have to cover the repair costs — even if the printer is still under warranty.
If a third-party ink cartridge causes your printer to malfunction, you may have to cover the repair costs — even if the printer is still under warranty.
Related article: 6 Ways to properly maintain your office printers
3. Potential health risks
According to a study, third-party ink cartridges emit toxic chemicals such as styrene, ink particles, and total volatile organic compounds. Exposure to excessive amounts of these chemicals may cause cancer.
4. Environmental waste
Nearly all third-party ink cartridges end up in a landfill, a study by Keypoint Intelligence has found. This is because many third-party brands do not have a service for properly collecting and recycling empty ink cartridges. Brands that do recycle only handle a limited amount of cartridges, and dispose of the rest in landfills.
Why should your business use genuine ink cartridges?
Genuine ink cartridges are the products of printer manufacturers’ extensive research and rigorous testing. They are specifically designed for efficiency and to work with your printers. Using them minimizes the risk of ink leakage, blocked printheads, and other printer issues, protecting your business from high repair costs. You’re also likely to get more consistent-quality printouts that won’t fade or discolor quickly.
What’s more, buying genuine ink cartridges helps you save the environment. Printer ink manufacturers and stores will happily recycle empty cartridges for you. Some retailers like Office Depot and Staples will even give in-store credit to customers who turn in qualifying cartridges. This way, cartridges are turned into new products instead of ending up in landfills or the ocean.
Looking for the best place to buy the best printer supplies for your California business? Look no further than Complete Document Solutions. Aside from genuine ink cartridges, we also provide multifunction printers, production printers, scanners, and shredders, among others. Visit our shop today.
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