When looking for printer ink cartridges, consumers often find themselves trying to choose between two options: genuine ink cartridges, or compatible ink cartridges.
A genuine or original ink cartridge is made and endorsed by the printer manufacturer. For example, a genuine cartridge for an Epson printer is made by Epson. These cartridges also have the original branding on their packaging.
Compatible ink cartridges, on the other hand, are also known as third party cartridges, as they are not made by the printer manufacturer. They can be made by any other manufacturer, even supermarkets.
To understand more about the differences between these two options, let’s explore the pros and cons of each.
Many have agreed that genuine ink cartridges offer better quality printing with better quality ink. As genuine inks are oil-based, they offer fade-resistant results with amazing longevity.
One of the main complaints about original cartridges is their high cost. However, while these cartridges do come at a premium price, many consumers are willing to pay for the peace of mind. Printer manufacturers have invested vast amounts of time and money into research and development, to create top-quality ink cartridges that ensure best results.
Genuine ink cartridges will not damage your printer, and will, in fact, clean and lubricate the print heads, deterring blockages from building up.
These cartridges come with a warranty and are guaranteed to match the specific printer.
On a sustainability note, many original ink manufacturers are also committed to designing cartridges that can be easily recycled once they reached the end of use.
The biggest advantage that compatible ink cartridges have over genuine ones is the price. You can find compatible cartridges at a fraction of the cost of the original, some up to 70% to 90% cheaper.
These cartridges can usually be used in most printers, but they definitely do not offer the same quality of print. Some third party cartridges may not fit properly, or even cause damage to the printer’s components.
Compatible ink cartridges use water-based ink, which may be good if you need your documents to dry immediately for quick handling. However, these non-genuine inks are not known for longevity, and may fade within months, especially when exposed to high levels of UV.
Another disadvantage of third party ink cartridges is that you may not be able to find one that is compatible with a brand new printer, as these manufacturing companies need time to catch up with the printer manufacturer’s technology.
For the best results, it is always recommended that you purchase genuine ink cartridges from the printer manufacturer rather than third party cartridges.
Having said that, price is a real issue, especially for those who print a lot and cannot afford to keep replacing original cartridges. If that is the case, go for high quality compatible ink cartridges made by reputable manufacturers to reduce the risk of damaging your printer.