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Remanufactured Toner vs. Original Equipment Manufacturer Cartridges

It’s important to understand exactly what to look at when you compare remanufactured toner cartridges vs. OEM cartridges. Toner cartridges are the devices that supply printers with toner, the kind of ink used by laser printers. The plastic containers hold toner powder, carbon, and coloring agents. The ingredients are then transferred onto paper and fused onto it with heated rollers.

Toner cartridges are something that every business needs, but the cost of purchasing replacement toner cartridges can add up quickly, especially for businesses that have to print a lot of documents. Many companies go through such large amounts of printer supplies that they have a contract with a supplier who regularly ships toner cartridges to them and then sometimes pick up the old ones to dispose of them or recycle them.

A Detailed Look at Access Remanufactured Toner Cartridges vs. OEM Cartridges

Name brand companies, like HP, Lexmark, and Brother, make cartridges that work specifically for their printers.  Although these Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) cartridges are custom-built to fit their brand’s printers, their unique parts also come at a greater cost for the consumer.  In addition to the extra cost, because these cartridges are built for just one type of printer, these specialty cartridges aren’t considered to be eco-friendly.

In order to alleviate the cost of OEM cartridges for their customers, some suppliers will remove empty toners for free, and some even pay to collect the empty cartridges in order to recycle them.  On the other end, there are some businesses that charge a fee for the removal of empty cartridges by the supplier.

Businesses can save money by finding suppliers that sell recycled and remanufactured toner cartridges.  The supplier takes apart the cartridge, has the worn out pieces replaced, and then refills the cartridge with the toner components.  After this process is completed, the toner cartridge is as good as new.  As long as the cartridge supplier is reliable, these remanufactured toner cartridges can be just as reliable as the OEM cartridges, but come at a fraction of the cost.

Benefits of Using Remanufactured Toner Cartridges

A reliable remanufactured toner cartridge supplier can save a business quite a bit of money.  Just one OEM black toner cartridge will print an average of 25.000 page impressions before it runs out, and can cost over several hundred dollars, depending on the toner.  For businesses that go through a lot of paper, making the switch to remanufactured toner cartridges can cut costs by anywhere from 30-60%.

Quality of Remanufactured Toner Cartridges

Many avoid using remanufactured toner cartridges because the term “recycled” is often associated with being lower quality. The toner quality, however, is largely dependent upon the manufacturer.  High quality remanufactured toners are disassembled and each part is inspected. Any broken or worn down pieces are then replaced. The parts are then cleaned, put back together, and the cartridge is refilled. The lower quality products are just refilled without inspecting the integrity of the cartridge.

Environmental Benefits of Remanufactured Toner Cartridges

Because these cartridges are being reused rather than original, by nature, they are better for the environment.  The use of remanufactured cartridges slows the production of OEM cartridges, and saves thousands of non-decomposing cases from building up in landfills.

In addition to this, recycling also conserves resources because one new cartridge requires nine pounds of materials to make. A single toner can be recycled up to four times, and 97% of its parts are reusable. This means that buying recycled cartridges over new ones can save around 20 to 35 pounds of raw materials.

Recycling cartridges not only cuts back on the amount of raw materials used, but it also reduces the amount of energy needed to make them. For example, it requires 3 quarts of oil to make a single cartridge. The conservation of these materials has a positive and long lasting impact on the environment.

Remanufactured Toner Cartridges vs. OEM Cartridges

Businesses have the option between OEM and remanufactured cartridges.  The following chart details the pros and cons of each type of cartridge.

Type of Toner Cartridge Pros Cons
New OEM Cartridges Most reliable and longest lasting toner cartridges Most expensive toner cartridges and least environmentally friendly
Remanufactured Cartridges Most affordable toner cartridges available and the most environmentally friendly Can be unreliable if purchased from a low quality manufacturer

A business’ decision on their toner cartridge supplier comes down to budget and quality.  As long as a reliable supplier of remanufactured toner cartridges can be found, these cartridges represent a more affordable and eco-friendly option to OEM cartridges.


Even in the digital age, printer and paper products are still essential for businesses.  Because of that, it still remains necessary for businesses to make informed decisions about their printing needs, such as the cost and quality of toner cartridges.  Although the high quality OEM cartridges work well and are designed for specific printers, business owners should know where they can find remanufactured toner cartridges that will perform just as reliably at a fraction of the cost.