There is a lot of debate surrounding the myths and facts regarding the use of refilled and remanufactured or non-OEM (original equipment manufacturer) toner cartidges. While most of our clients use HP, Xerox, and other OEM toners, some use compatible cartridges very successfully, while others have had significant issues using them.
On the surface refilled or remanufactured print cartridges at lower price points might seem like a cheap alternative to the use of OEM print cartridges. But in the long run, they may end up costing more. From Hewlett Packard's perspective, here are four common myths surrounding remanufactured print cartridges, and then decide for yourself which is the better bargain.
Myth #1: Refilled or remanufactured cartridges save money
Fact: While it’s true that the initial purchase price may be less, unreliable cartridges can waste supplies because many may quit working, stranding toner in the cartridge. "Bargain" cartridges may produce lower quality prints: smudging, streaking and ghosting are not uncommon. This may force reprinting or replacing cartridges, causing a drain on productivity and creating hidden costs that add up.
In fact, non-HP LaserJet cartridge(s) can cost more than double the price of an Original HP LaserJet print cartridge. When you take into account the extra costs associated with inferior reliability and being forced to reprint poor-quality pages, it’s easy to see how Original HP LaserJet print cartridges can lower your total cost of printing.
Myth #2: Alternative cartridges are just as reliable as Original HP cartridges
Fact: Remanufacturing and refilling start with the shell of a used cartridge. For a refill cartridge, a used cartridge is punctured and generic toner is inserted and then the cartridge is resealed. With a remanufactured cartridge, a used cartridge is split in two, some components are replaced, generic toner is inserted and then the cartridge is put back together again with clamps or screws. Cartridges that are handled in such a manner can lead to structural damage, alignment issues and may cause performance and print-quality problems. The generic toner and aftermarket replacement components can create charging issues that impact performance.
Certain non-HP cartridges are more likely to fail out of the box, fail after installation, and may leak into the printer:
- More than 40 percent of all non-HP toner print cartridges tested exhibited some kind of problem.
- Only the Original HP LaserJet toner print cartridges tested worked every time, with no reliability problems.
Myth #3: Remanufactured cartridge print quality consistently equals that of Original HP cartridges
Fact: Sometimes the quality of remanufactured cartridges is “good enough.” But often, the print quality degrades, resulting in pages that are not fit for use:
- In tests, Original HP LaserJet print cartridges delivered pages that were acceptable for all uses an average of 97 percent of the time.
- More than 35 percent of the pages produced by the tested non-HP toner cartridges were of limited or no use.
Myth #4: Remanufactured cartridges are better for the environment
Fact: Using remanufactured cartridges can lead to wasted paper and energy. Every time you print an unusable page, or one that is not up to your business’ professional standards for distribution, you will need to reprint it.
With the exceptional reliability and print quality of Original HP Lase rJet print cartridges, you may not need to produce as many reprints. And Original HP LaserJet print cartridges use up to 6-7 times less energy and paper for reprinting than tested non-HP toner cartridges.
In addition, HP offers its customers — and the environment — the benefit of HP Planet Partners, a worldwide take-back and recycling program. This program provides free and convenient recycling of HP print cartridges: through postage-paid envelopes and boxes, scheduled pickups, and authorized retail recycling locations, including more than 1500 Staples U.S. locations.
Empty remanufactured cartridges and used cartridge components, on the other hand, frequently end up in landfills. In fact, 94 percent of remanufactured cartridges sold will ultimately be thrown away due to the remanufacturers’ preference to work with cartridges that have never been remanufactured and the unavailability of recycling for non-usable cartridges and replaced parts. 
In this tough economy, it’s not surprising that businesses and organizations are looking for ways to cut costs. Some think they can get the same high HP quality and save money by using generic cartridges, but we say, “Think again.”
The Computing Center is happy to work with all our clients to decide which toner cartridge is best for your printers, whether it be OEM, high capacity, multi-pack or whatever. Through our programs we've saved Cornell University and all of our our clients thousands of dollars annually
HP has published a more detailed brochure outlining the benefits of using OEM toner cartidges. It's located at: www.