Compatible cartridges have been around for quite a while, but some consumers are still buying original ink. Considering how far this industry has come, paying more for similar value makes little sense. OEM products are reliable but pricey, and third-party brands are capable of delivering the same quality for 20%-70% less on average.
Your savings will vary depending on the printer brand and model. For example, if you own an HP Officejet 6958, you can get an HP 903xl multipack 4 pack compatible ink cartridges for £27.99. A standard-yield original pack costs £47.99. The difference is even more impressive considering the volume: with XL, you will print around 2.5 times more pages!
Key Facts to Know
Cartridges from independent brands are legal and safe to use, but not all products meet global quality norms. Here are five things that set reliable products apart.
Always look for certified quality. Independent companies may comply with such global standards as CE, ISO 9001, ISO 14000, Reach, STMC.
Latest Chip Version
The chip on every cartridge is crucial for recognition. While printer manufacturers may not stop you from using non-original supplies, they do release adverse firmware updates. If the chip is new, your compatible cartridge will work immediately upon installation.
Do not settle for anything less than a two-year money-back guarantee. Make sure it covers both defects and transportation damage. Check the return policy and all other terms and conditions on the supplier’s site.
Many compatible cartridges have an XL or XXL volume. This means you get more ink every time. Typically, XL contains 200%-250% more ink.
Ink Level Tracking
Some cartridge models come with a tracking mechanism, so you know when you should order a replacement. This way, the ink never runs out unexpectedly.
Popular stores ship products for free across the United Kingdom. You can have compatible cartridges delivered to your doorstep.
Second Option: Remanufactured
Third-party stores often sell recycled cartridges in addition to the compatible range. These products are known as remanufactured, and they perform like new. Providers collect used OEM products, clean, refurbish them and inject fresh ink.
This process is more complex than plain refilling: cartridges are repeatedly tested and any worn components are replaced. Remanufactured products come with the same quality marks and guarantees as compatible items. Their biggest advantage is sustainability, as recycling decreases the amount of plastic and electronic waste.
Final Word: Forget DIY Refills
Despite the existence of cheap excellent products, some consumers still believe refilling at home is the best way to save money. In reality, this process is just too messy and complicated to be convenient or reliable. Too many things can go wrong. Ink stains on your clothes and hands are innocuous in comparison with permanent damage to the cartridge or printheads. Why take the risk when you can order a certified recycled product?