The question you should be asking: Why did I spend so much on brand name cartridges?
It’s happening to a lot of people, after what seems to be a few weeks of using your printer, your cartridges are starting to run dry. Do you pay full price and buy name brand ink? Or save and go with remanufactured ink cartridges? Name brand manufacturers will be the first to claim that their product is the superior choice and that a remanufactured alternative will only cause trouble for your new machine. That was years ago. Remanufactured ink and toner manufacturers have come a long way and the “drill and fill” process used in years past is no longer routine. Although ink refill kits are still widely available, more advanced technologies used by custom designed remanufacturing facilities have perfected the remanufacturing process. Dedicated to matching the high standards of quality and reliability of the name brand, these facilities are changing the public perception of an aftermarket printer cartridge and saving customers a ton of money too. With this article we hope to ease your reservations about aftermarket ink and toner, and tackle the myths surrounding the remanufacturing process. Let’s start with the basics.
What is a remanufactured printer cartridge?
Remanufactured ink or toner: An original name brand cartridge that has been professionally cleaned, refilled with similar quality ink, and then tested to make sure you get the same print quality as the original cartridge.
Where do remanufactured cartridges come from?
Remanufactured inkjet and laser toner cartridges are commonly collected from community recycling programs and fundraising initiatives. Earth 911 is a great resource for locating recycling services in your area.
How is an ink or toner cartridge remanufactured?
One of the leading remanufacturing companies in the country, Clover Technologies has broken down the process in a few easy steps:
- Once received, the cartridges are sorted by part number and stored in a temperature controlled environment to prevent them from drying out
- Quality control professionals visually inspect each cartridge for damages. They are then tested for peak performance with an electrical tester.
- Any remaining ink is then emptied from the cartridge and a thorough cleaning process is completed by a high power cleaning system using demineralized water
- A custom built ink filling machine fills each cartridge to their exact OEM specifications. After cleaning, each cartridge is dried and vacuum filled with high quality ink. The ink formula used is as close as possible to the name brand without violating patents. If a cartridge uses a smart chip, a new smart chip is applied which allows it to be recognized by the printer and display a proper working ink level monitor.
- The cartridges are checked to make sure they have the correct internal atmospheric pressure and are then carefully sealed to prevent leakage
- Each cartridge goes through the same page yield testing as an original brand cartridge. Cartridges are tested for page yield using ISO/IEC 24712 standards, an industry wide standard used to ensure optimum performance and quality. Every test is conducted with at least three printers. A series of five test pages are printed consecutively in order followed by a diagnostic page.
- Once a cartridge has passed the test, it’s cleaned once again, polished, heat-sealed in a vapor resistant bag and boxed for shipment.
Compatible vs Remanufactured Cartridges
Unlike remanufactured cartridges which are essentially professionally reused OEM cartridges, compatible cartridges are made of 100% brand new materials. They are built with all new materials (new cartridge, new parts, fresh ink) and undergo a thorough testing process to ensure they meet the same standards as OEM cartridges. You can learn more about the difference between compatible, remanufactured and OEM cartridges in our comprehensive guide.
Does remanufactured ink or toner void my printer’s warranty?
This is a common concern, and understandably so.
A printer’s warranty cannot be voided if you choose to use a remanufactured ink or toner cartridge.
No one can deny you service or a refund that would otherwise be covered under a warranty program simply because you use a remanufactured product. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act protects your right to use aftermarket products in your machine without penalty by the original manufacturer. Manufacturers cannot force you to buy their cartridges. You have a right to choose what you put in your printer!
Is a remanufactured ink cartridge just as reliable as the original brand?
Reliability is only as good as the seller. If you buy from a reputable seller with proven results you really can’t go wrong. Look for highly rated reviews, consistently positive customer feedback and a strong product guarantee. A remanufacturing company that offers a high quality product backed by a sophisticated manufacturing process is sure to produce an ink cartridge that rivals the original!
Will I get the same page yield as an original brand cartridge?
Remanufactured ink cartridges are tested for page yield using ISO/IEC 24712 standards, the leading standard in the industry. Both name brand and remanufactured cartridges use this standard to determine the accurate yield of an ink cartridge. Every test is conducted with at least three printers in order to account for differences across machines. A series of five test pages are printed consecutively in order followed by a print diagnostic page. If a cartridge passes the page yield test it is good to go and is guaranteed to produce an equal number of prints to the original.
Is the print quality just as good as the original brand?
Remanufactured cartridges are tested against the print quality of name cartridges when they go through the initial remanufacturing process. They also go through a lifecycle quality analysis test that takes into account both the page yield and shelf life the cartridge, ensuring the quality lasts throughout the entire life of the cartridge. Keep in mind any ink cartridge, remanufactured or otherwise, is not 100% foolproof. Remanufactured and name brand sellers alike back their cartridges with a warranty. Every once in awhile there might be a bad apple in the bunch, which is why it’s equally important to go with a seller that backs their products with a generous guarantee. We, at LD Products, take pride in how much work and time we put in to make sure our customers are happy with the quality of our products.
Here’s a side by side comparison of an OEM HP 564 cartridge versus an LD brand remanufactured HP 564 cartridge.
Here’s a print comparison video of an OEM HP 312X versus an LD remanufactured HP 312X cartridge.
And a print comparison video of an OEM HP 564 ink cartridge versus an LD remaufactured HP 564 ink cartridge.
Today’s remanufactured ink cartridges truly do rival the original in both performance and reliability. More often than not it is hard to tell the difference between the two and many are satisfied with the results of the alternative. Now that you’ve learned a bit about how the remanufacturing process works, you can make an informed decision about what works best for you!
*Print quality diagnostic reports printed using a HP Photosmart Premium Fax All-In-One Printer – C309a. OEM diagnostic report printed using an OEM HP 564XL on the left, and a LD-brand equivalent on the right. Diagnostic reports photographed using a Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18.0 MP Digital SLR Camera.