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2 Key Types of Compatible Printer Ink & Toner Cartridge

There are many customers who are often confused with the various types of printer ink and printer toner cartridges in the market. Let us break down the various cartridge type and also its cost base in order for you to better understand the market and hence shed light on the difference in the dozens of suppliers out there.

There are 2 general types. Original manufacturer cartridges and third-party cartridges. The former is very straight forward, they are typically the brand owners and original manufacturers for example Epson, Canon, HP, Brother, Samsung. It is made up of brand-new shells, electronic chips, toner powder, ink and component parts. However, for the latter it is slightly less straight forward and let us delve slightly deeper to better appreciate the various cartridge types available in the market.

Compatible Ink Cartridge

There are generally 2 types for ink cartridges. One is the brand-new compatible ink cartridge and one is the remanufactured ink cartridge.

Brand New Compatible Ink Cartridge

Brand new compatible ink cartridge is made from scratch with a brand-new cartridge shell mould, ink, electronic chip and high-quality viscosity sponge. They are basically modelled after the originals and if done right, is supposed to be highly stable and reliable (of course it depends on the supplier manufacturing process and the respective component quality).

As these cartridges have readily available materials and the process is highly automated, the production cost is low and naturally translates into highly affordable prices for the consumers.

Remanufactured Ink Cartridge

The second type are the remanufactured ink cartridges. These are so called “refurbished” original ink cartridges.

The original shells are collected via a worldwide collection network, with a very strict quality check process, cleaned up, fitted with new ink and chip then repackaged and sold at a slightly lower price in the market. As the cartridge shells are always lacking due to high demand, the cartridge supply and prices are also constantly fluctuating.

Due to the lack in cartridge shell supply as well as a highly tedious and manual quality check process, inevitably the cost is high and hence translates into high product prices. It is important to buy remanufactured cartridges from well reputed sellers who have low defect rates and would stand by their products and honour warranty claims should any defects surface.

Compatible Toner Cartridges

Next is the toner cartridges. There are 2 types, similar to ink cartridges. One is the brand-new toner cartridge and one is the refilled or remanufactured toner cartridge. The former is made up of a brand-new cartridge shell, OPC core, doctor blade, wiper blade and toner powder- closely modelled after the originals.

The processes are generally automated with readily available materials; hence cost is lower, which then translates into lower consumer prices.

The latter are refilled toner cartridge. As its name suggest, these toner cartridges are recycled where the empty shells are collected back from the end user, refilled with toner powder and replacement electronic chip (depends on supplier- some do not change chip as cost is high) and then repackaged to sell. This process is slightly simpler but the quality is highly unstable. This results in poor quality prints, toner powder leaks and to the extent of laser printer damage. Having said that, the prices are also generally lower


The third-party compatible ink and toner cartridge market is not the easiest to navigate amongst the sea of suppliers. Many of them have no product knowledge and are seeking only to make a quick profit, when issues arise, there is no guarantee.

At theinksupply, we strongly believe in educating our consumers and levelling the knowledge gap so that you are able to make a more informed decision. We also hope to achieve the goal of helping customers save cost without compromising on quality. We do the heavy lifting for you so you need not!

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Brother, Brady, Canon, Casio, Dymo, Epson, Fuji Xerox, Lexmark, HP, Samsung and other manufacturer brand names and logos are registered trademarks of their respective owners.
Any and all brand name designations or references are made solely for purposes of demonstrating compatibility.