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How to Pay Less for Printer Cartridges

These days, you can find a printer for as little as $30. There is a catch — the original ink can be outrageously expensive. If you think you are paying too much for replacement cartridges, use our guide. Discover why OEM (original equipment manufacturer) products are the priciest, and how to get comparable quality for less money.

OEM, Remanufactured, and Compatible — What's the Difference?

All printer brands advise buyers against using third-party products. Many people believe this is due to the so-called “razor and blade” model. While printers can be sold even below their break-even point, the company gains most of its profit from the supplies for them.

Naturally, the brands have a different explanation. They claim their investment into R&D and quality assurance justifies the price of the end product. Whether this is true or not, one thing is certain: original cartridges have affordable alternatives you can buy at a shop like smart ink, and the quality is just as good.

The term “remanufactured cartridge” refers to refilling. Instead of getting a replacement, you take the cartridge to a supplier that fills it with new toner or ink. The company may also fix minor defects. Naturally, there are risks, so choose the refiller carefully based on user feedback.

Compatible cartridges are manufactured by third parties, so they do not contain original parts. The quality of ink and toner may be excellent, but the reputation of the firm is just as important as for remanufacturers. The best companies offer:

- a two-year warranty, and

- a return policy covering delivery of damaged and wrong items.

Does the Printer Match Your Printing Needs?

The frequency of replacement varies from printer to printer. It also depends on the type of documents and the cartridge. Here are three things to know:

- Ink cartridges used in inkjet printers are suitable for occasional use and printing of high-resolution images.

- Toner cartridges used in laser printers are larger and have a bigger capacity. They are suitable for businesses and home offices.

Laser printers cost more than their inkjet counterparts, but they require less frequent replacements. Print value throughout the life of the machine is higher. In addition, toner cartridges do not dry out when idle.

Check Page Yield

This indicator shows how many pages (approximately) you can print with one cartridge. It is calculated for pages with 5% coverage. Some models are available in standard yield and high yield (aka XL size). The latter is more cost-effective, as there is more ink.

To Sum Up

To reduce printing costs, make sure you have the right machine for your needs. Inkjet equipment is only suitable for occasional home printing and photographs. Choose supplies with a higher yield, as they contain more ink. Finally, consider switching to compatible or remanufactured cartridges. Choose a reliable provider to get excellent quality at a lower price

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