When it comes to your printing needs, you have many different types of cartridges to choose from. You may have heard the term "OEM" used before, but what does OEM mean or stand for? OEM refers to “original equipment manufacturer.” In other words, if Brother made your printer, they've also made a cartridge to go with it. No doubt about it, these high quality cartridges were designed for great durability and undeniable precision. Naturally, that translates into good print quality, but all of that comes at a much higher price.
The obvious downside is the cost. Did you know that printers are often sold with small profit margins because OEMs know that they will make their largest profit from selling cartridges? For that reason alone, the name brand company that made your printer will claim that you may shorten the life of your printer by using generic cartridges. This is simply not true! OEMs charge exorbitant prices for their cartridges. One of the biggest controversies surrounding OEM cartridges is how much ink is left over in the cartridge when printer models shut down due to "low ink." Some cases have shown that 40% of the expensive ink you paid for is left over in that 'dead cartridge' you are about to replace! After all, it's common knowledge that brands don't make their money on their printer sales, but make huge profits on new and overpriced OEM cartridges instead.
What are compatible cartridges? Compatible ink is like buying a generic car part. A separate company simply creates their own version of the cartridge to work in your printer just like the OEM cartridge. As you might expect, some compatibles are of an inferior quality, but there are plenty of compatible printer cartridges out there that hold their ground next to their OEM counterpart. That’s why it's so important to find a time tested provider
What does "remanufactured" mean? Remanufactured cartridges started out as new OEM cartridges. Instead of throwing a perfectly usable and durable plastic shell away to sit in a landfill, however, another company refurbished it to be used again. A good remanufacturer will disassemble, clean, and test the cartridge before replacing any worn parts and refilling the toner. As long as the refurbishing process was thorough, these will often yield similar quality to an OEM cartridge. Unfortunately, some companies have branded their cartridges as "remanufactured" when all they did was simply drill a hole in the shell and refill it with toner. The biggest question for these cartridges always comes back to the quality of the remanufacturer’s work. If you buy American made printer ink cartridges in particular, you are more likely to receive a quality product.
One other advantage of using this option is that it is more environmentally friendly. By definition, this process involves recycling old cartridges rather than adding more waste to the environment.
As one of the cheapest options, refilled cartridges are simply injected with new toner and resold. If the cartridge doesn’t work at all you should be able to return it, but you may also find that the cartridge stops working before the toner runs out. Once again, the risk may be worth it if the cartridge works well since these are priced far below OEM or remanufactured cartridges. Still, be aware that some refilled cartridges can be temperamental or even quit working altogether.
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