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How Understanding Toner Differences Can Save You Money — and Prevent Disaster

How Understanding Toner Differences Can Save You Money — and Prevent Disaster


Despite a slight lag in the overall market, printers are still a necessity for every business. In fact, with small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) leading the way, there is even more demand for in-house large format printers and their attendant supplies.

The growth of printing-as-a-service (PaaS) and other digital technologies have made it easy for any business to get the right printing equipment to suit their needs. Using this technology, it’s easy for businesses to accomplish a variety of print tasks in-house, from printing marketing collateral like brochures and sell sheets to producing banners, stickers, and even textiles.

However, alongside the changes in the printer market is the call for a change in business strategy brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a consumer focus on businesses that run cleaner — and greener — operations.

These two factors have caused some businesses to take a closer look at one of the most expensive costs of in-house printing — toner and ink supplies — and look for ways to manage bottom line savings while boosting their corporate responsibility profile.

Unfortunately, many businesses get confused by the plethora of terms use to describe toner types, leading to the purchase of products that can not only cost more in the long run, but contribute to global waste and can set your business up for legal problems.

In the following article, we’ll provide clear definitions of each and provide a recommendation for the best choice for savings, function, and sustainability.

Getting Clear on Compatible, Remanufactured, Generic, and Clone Toner


There is a lot of language surrounding the different types of inks and toners on the market and what they can — and cannot — do.

Let’s begin with understanding the differences among the three most commonly seen options.

Compatible, Clone, Generic or Remanufactured

Ink and toner can be purchased from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), but many companies want to find a lower-cost alternative. There are three:

Compatible — A compatible cartridge is a printer cartridge made with all brand-new materials that has been manufactured by a third party — one that, many times, is based in mainland China.

There are varying degrees of quality among compatibles, as manufacturers must cut corners to keep prices low. This cost-cutting can contribute to inferior print output — or even increase printer repair costs in the long run.

Additionally, compatible cartridges can infringe on OEM patents, putting your company at risk for lawsuits.

Clones — “Clone” is just another word for a compatible cartridge. These are not the same as remanufactured because they are made fresh and do not include any recycled parts. They’re made much cheaper, so they can discount the end product.

Generic – Generic toner cartridges are made by third party manufacturers that are compatible with the printer you’re using. The quality is going to impact the durability of the product and sometimes show on the printed page if a lesser toner is being used to fill it. At best, generic toner is a gamble.

Remanufactured — Remanufactured cartridges are created using OEM shells that have been through one use. The remanufacturing process saves them from the landfill, reducing waste and pollution. The shell has been cleaned and rebuilt and can provide the same — or better — page yield and performance as OEM brands.

All of these choices come with a discounted price, but only one stands the test of time and provides all the benefits — without the risks.

The Benefits of Remanufactured Cartridges


Our pick for an economical, sustainable, high-performing cartridge for your business is no surprise — remanufactured cartridges stand out as the obvious choice for their many benefits, such as:

  • They are cost-effective, providing up to 30% cost savings over OEM
  • They are reliable, as the OEM cartridge shell is cleaned and repaired before being refilled
  • They can provide the same — or better — print quality than OEM equipment
  • They keep ink cartridges out of landfills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and waste while conserving natural resources

Switching to remanufactured cartridges can help your company become more sustainable while providing the high level of quality, performance, and reliability you need to keep your business running smoothly.

Trust Tonerwise for the Best, Most Reliable Cartridges on the Planet


At Tonerwise, we place a premium on high-quality inks and toners that make a difference, both to your budget and our planet.

We begin with products sourced from North America. We not only know where our cartridges are manufactured and by whom, but we insist on contributing to the communities that serve us. Buying locally helps us create more jobs and boost local economies — a critical piece of the corporate responsibility puzzle.

When you purchase remanufactured cartridges through Tonerwise, you’re part of the solution, too. Your purchase bolsters recycling efforts and helps keep cartridges out of landfills. It conserves our precious resources. And, it gives you the kind of savings that will make doing business just a little bit easier.

Are you ready to maximize savings while going greener? Contact Tonerwise today to learn how our high-quality remanufactured cartridges can transform your print budget — and your business.