Compatible toner / ink vs. genuine toner / ink



  • Does anyone have experience purchasing off-brand or "compatible" toner instead of the name brand stuff? My Brother HL-3170 CDW color laserjet is complaining about being low on toner, so I'm looking at prices, and I can save about $100 if I get an off-brand. There are a couple of choices, and they seem to get enough of a range of reviews, that the positive ones could easily be from the seller, so I'm hesitant to buy.



  • @ajstringham is a printer expert, and especially on Brother printers, he might have some insight.



  • @Dominica I am happy with inktechnologies.com



  • @JaredBusch Excellent! Thank you, sir. I feel much better about ordering from a place with which someone reputable has experience.



  • @JaredBusch Volume discounts, good prices, free shipping, and a 6 month satisfaction warranty. Sounds like a winner!



  • @Dominica they were recommended to me by a random person in line behind me at the HP booth at SpiceWorld 2012. I have liked the service thus far.



  • @JaredBusch said:

    @Dominica I am happy with inktechnologies.com

    same here. can't beat the prices or shipping



  • Sounds like a great supplier to have in the community @addie



  • Don't don't don't don't don't!!!!
    They ruin printers, don't give nearly the same yield and did I mention they ruin printers? People think they are getting a good deal. When it starts leaking you won't think so. I've seen too many people get one or two good ones and then get a bad one. Not worth it.



  • Reman'ed cartridges are not still good. When the toner is used up in them, the rest of the cartridge is designed to be used up as well. Putting new toner in it is like putting leather seats in a car that has 250K miles on it. The thing has run its course. Let it die.



  • Don't the OEMs do remanufacturing too?



  • @ajstringham I dunno, since buying a new printer is cheaper than buying the full set of genuine Brother toner, I think it might be worth it to try the generic toner.



  • @Dominica said:

    @ajstringham I dunno, since buying a new printer is cheaper than buying the full set of genuine Brother toner, I think it might be worth it to try the generic toner.

    The problem with this is that the printer always comes with a half or less full toner to begin with.



  • @Dashrender Well, I'd have to run the numbers, because the printer is like $80 cheaper than the toner.



  • @ajstringham Where is the cheapest place to buy genuine Brother toner? Maybe the problem is Amazon.



  • @Dominica said:

    @ajstringham I dunno, since buying a new printer is cheaper than buying the full set of genuine Brother toner, I think it might be worth it to try the generic toner.

    That does make the risk extremely low. There is effectively no risk to killing the printer. If one in three cheap toners kills the printer that might still make that process cheaper.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dominica said:

    @ajstringham I dunno, since buying a new printer is cheaper than buying the full set of genuine Brother toner, I think it might be worth it to try the generic toner.

    That does make the risk extremely low. There is effectively no risk to killing the printer. If one in three cheap toners kills the printer that might still make that process cheaper.

    This is my philosophy on it. I haven't had 1 in 3 be bad either, but I have all HP printers at the client that uses the service.



  • Right, one in three seems extreme. And only if one in three kills your printer is it an issue. I can't say as I've ever heard of someone's toner killing their printer! Can't really be all that common.



  • I have been using imitation toner for about 8 years now. I used to buy 100 toner cartridges at a time for the school district.

    We would get 2-3 bad ones out of 100 pretty consistently. This was irritating, but at almost 75% savings on each cartridge it was definitely worth it.

    P.S. I ordered thousands of these.



  • My experience with remanufactured cartridges is primarily on inkjets and higher-yield laserjets. On many occasions, ink would glop out onto the printouts. One memorable experience was when the cartridge just let go and oozed ink onto the table. For toner, I've had decent luck with the quality being on-par, but have had issues with noticeably less pages per cartridge (7,000 instead of OEM's 10,000) and/or excess toner discharge that gets loose in the printer.



  • @IRJ said:

    I have been using imitation toner for about 8 years now. I used to buy 100 toner cartridges at a time for the school district.

    We would get 2-3 bad ones out of 100 pretty consistently. This was irritating, but at almost 75% savings on each cartridge it was definitely worth it.

    P.S. I ordered thousands of these.

    That definitely shows great average value. And it isn't like the failure rate on OEM toner is 0%, it might be lower than 2-3%, but it isn't 0%.



  • @Nara said:

    My experience with remanufactured cartridges is primarily on inkjets and higher-yield laserjets. On many occasions, ink would glop out onto the printouts. One memorable experience was when the cartridge just let go and oozed ink onto the table. For toner, I've had decent luck with the quality being on-par, but have had issues with noticeably less pages per cartridge (7,000 instead of OEM's 10,000) and/or excess toner discharge that gets loose in the printer.

    I think toner is simpler to manufacture. Inkjets put a tremendous amount of the printing technology into the cartridges, lasers do not.



  • We are using compatibles in quite a few of our units...

    • we originally tried compatibles and it ended poorly with spilled / bad laser cartridges...
      we found a local supplier that will install them and replace them quickly if they fail...
      not only does he replace the failed toner he will clean up the mess and repair the unit if it caused further failures for free...
      it has been a no brainer for us and some of our color HP Laser toner systems are costing us less than .05 a page now when it was ~.25 previously...

    that said we still have quite a few canon copiers that still require OEM toner... just keeps them working longer...
    Konica's and other copiers have no issue with compatibles though... we'd only be using OEM if we hadn't found our "Dealer"



  • We use a local vendor who offers free tech time if we purchase their toners. The price for the toners is about 15% more than what we normally see for non original toners, but the support has been shown to be worth it.



  • I'd agree with others that the compatibles can be hit and miss, depending on the manufacturer. For HP, I have been burned with compatibles (and in some cases Brother too). It's a bit of a gamble but can work well for you if you find a good compatible maker.

    As for pricing, I like BlueDogInk.com for OEM cartridges.



  • I'm seeing a sub-thread developing here. Outsourcing supplies procurement's the way to go. There's companies that'll handle everything from TP to trash bags to toner and paper, and send a rep by to make sure your stock levels are holding. All you need to do is train users on how to change toner, and you'll never deal with the procurement and replacement process again.



  • @Nara said:

    I'm seeing a sub-thread developing here. Outsourcing supplies procurement's the way to go. There's companies that'll handle everything from TP to trash bags to toner and paper, and send a rep by to make sure your stock levels are holding. All you need to do is train users on how to change toner, and you'll never deal with the procurement and replacement process again.

    Nope users are the cause of most of our toner / paper loading issues...

    Same vendor that gets us compatibles also does all the replacement of toners instead of having one of our users do it... Occasionally I'll do it but also I don't check for all the possible issues that he does...

    If we buy his toners - he does this for free and pretty quickly too...

    Canon correction - I am using compatible toners just not compatible image units... image units we had 2-3 bad out of the box and switched back to OEMs.
    This guy also fixes our copiers at ~$85 vs $125 that others are charging - and usually fixes our desktop printers (the ones that are still around) old laser jet 2100 / 5000 / 5100s still running strong.



  • Hit and miss sounds about right. We use re-manufactured, and we had some issues with both HPs not that long ago which the tech promptly blamed on the toners. Seemed unlikely with the noise it was making, nonetheless once we whacked in two separate new ones, it cheered up. So....? Genuines are still crazily expensive.



  • We tried refurb cartridges several years ago and it was terrible. Probably 25% failure rate, and several toner explosions. I hate printer troubleshooting anyway, so it isn't worth the pain to me.


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