Your printer flashes red and a notification pops up across the screen: "Printer out of ink."
Your face transforms from an impersonation of Bob Ross talking about his happy trees to a visage similar to Gollum when he loses the One Ring. And the curses that follow would make Melissa McCarthy blush.
But there is a better option. It won't even void your warranty.
Buy compatible toner cartridges.
If you're convinced we're wrong, read on. By the end of the article, you'll think twice about any preconceived notions concerning this cost-effective method.
What Are Compatible Toner Cartridges
I can practically hear your protests: compatible cartridges are cheap, they don't print well, they're a waste of money.
The confusion here lies in the differences between compatible cartridges and refillable ones.
There are three main types of cartridges used for Laserjet printers:
- Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Cartridges - These toner cartridges are provided directly from the printer's manufacturer. They're the ones that induce cardiac arrest when we see their prices on Amazon.
- Compatible Toner Cartridges - These are manufactured fresh and play well with several printer types.
- Re-manufactured Toner Cartridges - This type re-uses old cartridges, filling them with new (sometimes questionable) ink.
So before we go further, put those worries aside: compatible toner is very different from the re-manufactured nonsense that results in misprints and wasted ink (if the printing will work at all).
The Benefits of Compatible Toner
Some of the advantages may come as a shock. Others are just pure logic.
As Samuel L. Jackson says in Jurassic Park, "Hold onto your butts." (By the way, if anyone happens to know if he was referring to "butts" or cigarette "buts" we'd love some clarification.)
Here's the obvious one: you'll save money. Lots of money.
Anyone who's ever had a printer knows the terrifyingly high prices of OEM cartridges; it's the culprit behind the just-swallowed-a-lemon look that crosses so many people's faces when they surf the internet for an OEM product.
Compatible cartridges literally cost half the price of OEM ones.
Now, we know what you're thinking: "I can get a re-manufactured cartridge for a third the price of an OEM!"
You're absolutely right, but there is so much more to consider.
More for Your Money
Those icky re-manufactured cartridges? Yeah, you'll only get a couple hundred pages out of them if you're lucky.
OEM toner cartridges will net you anywhere from 1,500 to 3,500 pages on average.
Insert our applause here.
A third-party compatible toner, say one that's IBM(R) compatible, can print about 10,000 pages without a hitch.
That same toner cartridge we were just discussing works on 18 different printers from five separate companies.
So if your printer happens to break, there's a good chance your toner won't go to waste.
So you're spending less money, getting thousands of pages out of one toner cartridge and you can use the cartridge on several printers.
You might be starting to feel your judgment shift.
But we're not done.
A good compatible toner cartridge will give you just as great a quality job as an OEM one.
Consumer Reports found that 63% of survey respondents claimed their third-party product printed just as well as one from the manufacturer.
Keep in mind that, as with anything else, some businesses will provide better quality products. Find a trustworthy one and you're off to the races.
Well, in this case, the office. But you get what we mean.
One of the reasons the quality can be as great as a cartridge from the original manufacturer is because the toner isn't being reused.
It's made of completely new parts, just like an OEM cartridge. And believe it or not, the amount of research and experiment that goes into any printing is astounding.
The chemicals must be created just right for them to work properly.
In fact, the manufacturing process is so complicated Xerox's senior vice president John Laing told Forbes, "Xerox takes no issue with third parties that are able to manufacture quality ink and toner that work seamlessly with our product line and don't infringe on our intellectual property."
Considering many large printing companies have dabbled in the third-party cartridge business, I'd say Xerox has the right attitude.
Then again, many aren't quite as forgiving.
Third Parties Are so Over Micro-Chips
I'm pretty sure everyone on the planet has heard the pitiful wails erupting from all the brand-name companies over intellectual rights.
Previously, they had a monopoly on the market, meaning poor gents and ladies like us had to pay exorbitant prices for a single toner cartridge.
Then third-party sellers came into the picture.
Of course, all the big name companies had a major temper tantrum.
Several, like HP, inserted software into their printers that wouldn't permit the printer to do its job if an outside cartridge was used. Others integrated micro-chips into their toner cartridges.
The resulting outrage made many companies (we're looking at you, HP) falter. Software updates that will let users print with compatible cartridges are now available.
Of course, most places make them "optional," meaning you have to dig around the company's website to find the darn update and then install it yourself.
While many continue using microchips, don't worry: non-name brand companies are finding their own ways around this. You should be able to use these toner cartridges even with the silly protections in place.
No, It Won't Void Warranty
Finally, the question everyone asks: "Will using a generic toner cartridge void my warranty?"
To promote healthy competition and discourage monopolization, the Magnuson-Moss Act of 1975 does not allow businesses to require only their cartridges be used.
Just like a computer manufacturer cannot force you to use all original manufacturer's parts, you cannot be forced to use only OEM toner cartridges.
There are many, many advantages to using compatible toner cartridges.
Like cost. And efficiency. And quality. All those characteristics are comparable to the OEM cartridges you'll find online.
Don't let the software updates and grumblings of mega-corporations stop you from saving money and actually getting your dollars' worth.
And if you're not sure a Laserjet printer is right for you, check out our article to see if one would be a good fit.
Get rid of that Gollum face. A happy hue makes a happy you.
To learn more, call us at 267-580-2633. We have toner specialists standing by to take your call.