Different Types of Toner: Why Costs Can Vary Wildly


types of tonerAs the owner of a commercial printer or multifunctional machine, you have no doubt noticed the cost of toner can add up quickly. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Understanding the difference between types of toner, and the various cases in which they can or should be used, can help you make smarter decisions when it comes time to buy your next refill.

This article will help educate you on the different types of toner you can buy for your machine, and why the costs can vary so wildly between them. Read through to the end and you’ll find a special offer which can help you reduce costs considerably.

Why Certain Types of Toner Are Recommended Above Others

You can be sure that companies will always recommend their own brand of toner for the machines they manufacture. HP will recommend using HP toner cartridges, Lexmark will recommend using Lexmark cartridges, and so on. Manufacturers will likely never recommend or even acknowledge that other types of toner exist.

The reason for this is two-fold. An OEM (original equipment manufacturer) toner cartridge is guaranteed to work in the machine. If your printer malfunctions while using other types of toner, the company will likely not honor the warranty. That’s one reason why companies recommend their own toner.

The main reason why companies recommend their own toner is because of profits. Since toner is needed throughout the life of the machine, the markup on it is extremely high. It’s something you can’t live without, so companies know they can charge an exorbitant amount for it. It’s in their best interest to recommend their own toner because they make so much money from selling it.

However, just because manufacturers will not recommend other types of toner it does not mean other toner cartridges cannot be used.

Types of Toner Cartridges

Now that you know why companies recommend their own toner, let’s compare and contrast all types so you can formulate your own buying decisions.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Cartridges
As mentioned in the previous section, OEM cartridges are those created by the manufacturer of the printer, copier, or multifunctional machine. They also come backed by a guarantee from the manufacturer. These are almost always the most expensive cartridges available. Unless you’re in the business of printing high quality photographs, you don’t necessarily need to buy OEM cartridges. You can save yourself a lot of money by going another route.

Generic Cartridges
Generic toner cartridges, also known as compatible cartridges, are produced by a third party. Save for a few patents and other restrictions, they are modeled to match OEM cartridges as closely as possible. Since they are constructed from all-new material, they can produce the same level of high-quality prints as an OEM cartridge.

Of course, since anyone can manufacture generic cartridges, the quality will vary depending on who you buy from. It’s recommended that you only buy generic cartridges from reputable and trustworthy dealers (like Dean Office Solutions). Top dealers are usually able to offer their own guarantees and warranties on generic cartridges, which means they come with the same peace of mind as OEM cartridges.   

Generic cartridges can be bought for a significantly lower price than OEM cartridges. Although they are not recommended by the manufacturer, they can work just as well.

Remanufactured Cartridges
Remanufactured cartridges are the ones you want to steer clear from. You typically don’t know what’s going into them, how old the parts are, or how well they’re going to work. They are produced using recycled cartridges, which have been disassembled and reconstructed. In some cases, producers of these cartridges will even drill a hole into a used cartridge, refill it with toner, and patch it back up to be used again.

Due to being recycled, these are marketed as being as being environmentally friendly. However, they come with a lot of risks. Not only do they produce very low quality prints, but they are prone to leakage which can damage your machine. You can bet they don’t come with any guarantees either. They’re usually cheaper than OEM cartridges, but they’re not worth it in the long run.

Buying Compatible Cartridges from Dean Office Solutions

At Dean Office Solutions we sell compatible cartridges for HP printers, and a few other brands such as Lexmark and Brother. In addition to saving you money up front, if you buy toner from us we can also offer you free service on your printer. In some cases we can cut costs down by nearly 50%. If you’re paying $175 for toner from HP, we can get that cost down to $100 or less.

Our compatible cartridges have the same yield as OEM cartridges. Above all, they’re guaranteed to work or else we fix your machine. It’s as simple as that. We are able to sell our toner cheaper because it does not come with the manufacturer’s markup. If you experience any problems using our toner, we will service your printer free of charge. That includes the cost of labor as well as travel time.

To inquire about our compatible cartridge program, or if you have any other questions about types of toner, please contact us directly.

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