The hard truth: it’s a challenge (if not impossible) to find cheaper prices on expensive OEM or original HP, Epson, Canon or Brother cartridges. Sure, there are ways to get more value out of your money like purchasing OEM bundle sets or purchasing high yield OEM cartridges but unfortunately the amount you save is still negligible.
Another way you can save is by switching to a more economical printer with a lower cost per page. Switching from an inkjet printer to a laser printer can save you lots of money in the long-run. Some inkjet printers are also more economical than others.
But if you don’t want to replace your printer and would simply like to find out if there’s are cheaper ink cartridge replacements for it, the answer is yes–there are cheaper ink replacements.
These more affordable ink replacements go by a few names:
- third-party cartridges
- aftermarket cartridges
- remanufactured cartridges
- non-OEM cartridges
- generic cartridges
They all refer to the same thing: cartridges that are built by a third-party company meant to replace their expensive OEM counterparts.
But first, what does OEM mean?
We’ve been saying OEM since earlier in this article, so let’s define what an OEM is. The acronym “OEM” spells out to Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM brands in this case would be HP, Epson, Canon, Brother, Dell, etc–basically, companies that produce printers as well as the cartridges and supplies used by the printers. Consumers find OEM cartridges and supplies notoriously overpriced and are on the lookout for practical non-OEM alternatives.
Most consumers now use third-party non-OEM products all the time: Target’s Up&Up products are generic alternatives to otherwise pricier household items; Ralph’s Kroger is another generic brand that offers lower-prices on food and kitchen essentials, and Costco’s Kirkland brand is most likely in every household’s pantry shelf. These generic products work for us because they are more affordable and they perform just as well as the original.
The same can be now be said for third-party printer cartridges.
Where to Shop for Non-OEM Ink
There are many options to get third-party cartridges, but of course not all aftermarket brands are the same.
When shopping for third-party cartridges–and you can apply this principle to aftermarket products across the board–it’s always worth the effort to do your homework and know which brand will have your back if you ever have to return or exchange a faulty product.
It’s understandable for consumers who are trying aftermarket cartridges for the first time to have some hesitations about the product, so knowing that there’s a number to call or an email to reach out to can instill valuable peace of mind. Be wary of aftermarket cartridge brands that won’t stand by their product.
LD Products is the leading brand for top-rated non-OEM ink and toner products in the US and they’ve been saving consumers thousands of dollars for 20 years and counting. You can find cartridge replacements for all popular printer brands including HP, Brother, Canon, Epson, Dell, Lexmark, Xerox, as well as the lesser known brands like Kyocera, Fuji, Kodak, etc.
You can shop LD brand aftermarket printer cartridges on their main website LDProducts.com, as well as 4inkjets.com, and InkCartridges.com. You can also find LD brand cartridges on Ebay, Walmart, and Amazon.
Kinds of Aftermarket Cartridges:
There is more than one type of aftermarket printer cartridge.
- Remanufactured Cartridges: Remanufactured, also called refurbished, cartridges are recycled OEM cartridges that are cleaned, refilled with an ink formula similar to the original. These cartridges are then rigorously tested against the same OEM standards for print performance and overall quality so consumers can enjoy print results similar to an OEM cartridge’s. Since remanufactured cartridges use the same shell as an OEM, it fits and installs just like an OEM.
- Compatible Cartridges: Compatible cartridges are made of 100% brand new parts. New shell and everything. Compatible cartridges are engineered to fit and function just like the OEM so they install in the printer perfectly.
Both aftermarket cartridge types come with a new chip to ensure that the printer detects it and the printer is able to track current ink levels.
Do Remanufactured Cartridges Ruin Your Printer?
The short answer: NO. Possibly one of the most common consumer concerns that hinders them from using third party cartridges is the worry that aftermarket products will ruin their printer. This is not true at all.
Most OEMs will say only OEM cartridges will work with your printer as a scare tactic. The truth is, aftermarket cartridges work just as well as the OEM.
Remanufactured cartridges, or all aftermarket cartridges in general –
- will work perfectly fine with your printer. Thousands of reviews will attest to this.
- will NOT VOID your printer’s warranty. Although printer manufacturers say that your warranty will be void when you use non-OEM products, according to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, “Warrantors cannot require that only branded parts be used with the product in order to retain the warranty. ” Warrantors being the printer manufacturers.
Do aftermarket cartridges print the same number of pages as the OEM?
Absolutely! And sometimes, you get even more–and this is according to customer reviews. Usually you’ll find that high yield cartridges cost less than an OEM standard sized cartridge that it makes high yield aftermarket cartridges an obvious choice for smart shoppers.
High yield cartridges. These are cartridges that contain more ink or toner so they last longer and print more pages compared to a standard cartridge. Here’s a link to an article that elaborates further on high yield ink cartridges.
Do aftermarket cartridges produce the same print results as an OEM cartridge?
To answer this question, I’ll grab a few reviews from some popular aftermarket cartridges:
“I personally like LD products. We have a Canon pro-100 printer, and we find that the quality of the ink is very good. We have tried other brands with with poor success. ” – Richard T. left this review on 10/29/2019
“I have a pro printer and have been disappointed with other after market ink, either by color shift or communication problems. The cartridges from LD Products have been working and printing flawlessly.” – David S. left this review on 09/14/2019
“I have used 4inkjets for YEARS. I print loads of documents. I buy several at a time and I test them as soon as I get them to make sure they’re all working good. If there is a problem – these are the folks you want to be doing business with. Easy to reach – user friendly!” – Kathryn S. left this review on 08/23/2019.
” Koated Kernels uses LD printer cartridges for basic office use, but also printing labels for our packages. We are a small local popcorn shoppe with 25+ flavors. Each flavor has 4 sizes, so we are able to print labels for each flavor and size. Due to our size it would be too expensive to run custom labels or bags, so we print every label in-house. The biggest benefit is cost savings. We use all LD compatible toners and have never seen a dip in the print quality. Also, the customer service team has always been very helpful if we had a bad or leaking cartridge. On average, Koated Kernels saves $100 or more per toner cartridge. I would guess that is easily $1,000 per quarter and up to $4,000 or more a year.” – Barbara McClellan, owner of Koated Kernels.
You can find more testimonials here.
It happens once in awhile, a slip of quality here and there due to some unforeseen issues. This is where brand support comes in. Make sure the aftermarket brand you select has strong customer support.
And one last thing —
The surge of people getting wiser and switching to third-party cartridges has made the OEM party not so happy. And so they send out firmware updates (which is essentially printer software updates) that block the use of aftermarket cartridges on their printers.
Which means if you have an aftermarket cartridge in your printer during a firmware update, chances are you won’t be able to print with that cartridge anymore and your printer will complain about it. Sounds unfair, doesn’t it?
Fortunately, this one is an easy fix. As a rule of a thumb, if you purchase an aftermarker printer cartridge, make sure you disable your printer’s automatic update setting. Turning this off will protect your printer and cartridge from unwanted firmware updates.
If you want to learn more about firmware updates, check out this article.
There are still many ways you can save on printing. After taking care of the printer and ink side of things, there are additional ways you can tweak your printer settings to save even more on ink. Check out this article if you’d like to learn more. We hope we were able to help! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us or leave us a comment below!