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Remanufactured ink cartridges: What are they and should you buy them?

Remanufactured ink cartridges: What are they and should you buy them?

Print ink can be expensive, so people often turn to remanufactured cartridges to save money. Remanufactured ink cartridges are some of the most common products to feature in discount ink cartridge stores, but not many people fully understand how they are made, and whether it's better to opt for remanufactured ink cartridges over new ones. There is such a wide variety of products to choose from, including laser toner, inkjet cartridges, original equipment manufacturer (OEM), and remanufactured ink cartridges that it is not always easy to know which one is right for you. Here are some things you should know if you are considering buying a remanufactured ink cartridge. 

What is a remanufactured ink cartridge? 

Remanufactured or recycled printer cartridges are sent to a manufacturer who will restock the ink and replace or repair any parts that are damaged or not working correctly. Once the cartridge has been restored back to its original form a quality test is performed on each cartridge. Generally, remanufactured ink cartridges are copyrighted and cannot be replicated by another manufacturer.

Remanufactured ink cartridges are made by taking a recycled, used ink cartridge from a printer, taking it apart, and refitted with new ink or toner. The best compact printers or all in one printers will make it easy for you to recycle your cartridges, which can not only save money but be very beneficial for the environment. 

What is a remanufactured ink cartridge?

(Image credit: HP)

Advocates of these products assert that remanufactured ink cartridges are less expensive and better for the environment than new cartridges. Switching to remanufactured cartridges can result in a cost savings of between 15% and 50% per order. This is because merchants that deal mainly with remanufactured products are able to set their own prices as opposed to having to adhere to the prices established by companies such as HP, Epson and Dell. Remanufactured cartridges also are filled to capacity while the cartridges that come from the manufacturer oftentimes are not. For consumers who are concerned about the environment, remanufactured ink cartridges preserve our natural resources while keeping unnecessary metals and plastics out of the landfills.

Remanufactured ink cartridges: What are the drawbacks? 

There is a lot to be said for remanufactured ink cartridges, including their low cost and environmental sustainability. However, many worry that the printing quality afforded by remanufactured cartridges may not be consistent among manufacturers. Although most recognized suppliers and online discount ink cartridge stores, such as 4inkjets and 123inkjets, back up their products in case anything goes wrong, the same cannot be said for all retailers. Here are some things to consider before ordering remanufactured ink cartridges:

  • Check out the retailer and manufacturer by conducting an online search, reading customer reviews, asking your friends and family, or checking the Better Business Bureau.
  • Find out what kind of warranty or guarantee is offered. Customer satisfaction is important to a business so most reliable merchants will refund your money (minus shipping and handling) if their products do not function properly. It is important to note that contrary to belief, using remanufactured ink cartridges or any ink cartridge that is not an OEM does not void the printer's warranty.
  • Check that the retailer's remanufactured ink cartridges meet or exceed OEM standards and if they are Standardized Test Methods Committee (STMC)-certified. That means an independent third party has tested the cartridge's print quality.
  • Don't believe everything you hear. Remanufactured ink cartridges will not damage your machine's print heads, cause ink to leak, or result in substandard print quality.

These are just some of the things to keep in mind when you are considering buying a remanufactured ink cartridge. This information will help you determine whether these cartridges are right for you.

For more printer information, check out the difference between inkjet, laser and thermal printers. You should also know these five tips to maintain your printer