What is a compatible cartridge?

A compatible cartridgeis a cartridge that is not produced by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). These cartridges are designed to meet or in best case even exceed the standards set by the OEM in terms of performance, print quality and page yield. To achieve this, the making and quality level of the inkjet inkor laser toneris crucial.

Up until a couple of years ago, finding compatible cartridges for
Epson, HPand Lexmarkprinters was hard. The reason was that printheads was costly and not all that easy to integrate into the cartridge making few compatible Epson cartridges to come out on the market. HP and Lexmark on the other hand had their cartridge design patented which effectively hindered cartridge copies to come out.

Nowadays, compatible cartridges are easy to find for all the larger printer brands such as Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Lexmark, Samsungand Xerox.

How much can I save buying compatible cartridges?
Huge savings can be done on printer cartridge costs by buying compatible cartridges instead of OEM cartridges. Compatible cartridges are also in general a bit cheaper than remanufactured cartridges.

By segmenting cartridges into OEM/Compatible cartridges and printer brands we get the following results:

A- Compatible inks are between 30%-70% cheaper compared to OEM ink
B- Compatible toners are between 30%-60% cheaper compared to OEM toner

Individual results per printer brand follows below:

Ink Cartridges - Cost Savings Compatible over OEM
Brother 74 %
Canon 70 %
HP 62 %
Epson 65 %
Lexmark 30 %


Toner Cartridges - Cost Savings Compatible over OEM
Canon 60 %
Lexmark 57 %
Xerox 45 %
HP 49 %
Konica Minolta 39 %

Are you allowed to use a compatible cartridge in your printer?
You are allowed to use them in your printer and you will not void your warranty by using them.

This is clearly stated in the Magnusson-Moss Warranty act issued by the Federal Trade Commission. The printer maker cannot force you into only buying their cartridges, it’s up to you as a consumer to make the choice on what you want to buy.

What about the quality of compatible cartridges?
Third party ink producers don't have the financial resources to invest as heavily in R&D as the big printer manufacturers. Still, compatible cartridges holds good standard nowadays as independent research shows. A test by
TrustedReviewsshowed that many users actually prefers the printing results from compatible cartridges while PC Worldshowed that compatible cartridges most often yields more printouts than OEM cartridges.

If you are worried over the quality of the compatible ink or toner please remember that it is not the only factor affecting the print quality. The capabilities of the printer and the quality of the printing paper also have significant impact on the end results.

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