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Ask the Expert

"I’ve been ‘burned’ in the past by ‘saving money’ on ‘recycled’ toner cartridges. Now, I’m reluctant to give them another opportunity. My last experience was both frustrating and embarrassing."

Jim Jordan


Some “recycled” toner cartridges are nothing but a disaster but don’t be reluctant to give them another try. There are many things to consider when purchasing a non-OEM cartridge that may have an effect on the quality of the cartridge you receive.

First, it is important to remember that not all non-OEM toner cartridges are created equally. Refilled cartridges are ONLY drilled to make a hole, filled with toner and then “plugged up.” When the cartridge is only refilled many important internal components are not replaced, causing the quality of the refilled cartridge unreliable.

Refurbished cartridges, however, do include more testing than cartridges that are just refilled, but they still include all the original parts from the original cartridge. Reconditioned cartridges go through additional processes of servicing, readjusting, and recalibrating to bring them to near-new original operation level, but many of the original parts are still used.

Remanufacturing is the highest quality restoration process. The only item reused in remanufacturing is the plastic shell of the cartridge. With today’s technology, remanufactured cartridges normally come close to the success rate of OEM cartridges.

When purchasing non-OEM cartridges, one should ask the following questions: Are these cartridges truly remanufactured? Is every cartridge manufactured in a setting with high-quality control, tested, and given a unique serial number? Is this brand imported and in violation of any U.S. patents? “What is the failure rate for this cartridge?

Finally, good remanufactured cartridges aren’t the least expensive of the non-OEM cartridges, yet cost approximately 30% less than OEM cartridges, making them worth consideration.