2020-09-11


Photo by Fernando Arcos from Pexels

When your printer starts having problems, the whole office operation can stop. You fiddle with the buttons, the cartridges, the cleaning cycle -only to find your old tricks don’t work.

Don’t get intimidated with learning new tricks! There are people who have been there. Here, we answer the commonly asked questions our audience have with their printers.

Commonly Asked Printer Problems

“My Printer Only Prints Images and Not Words”

When your printer would only print images but not text, your EMF (Enhanced Meta File) maybe activated. EMF commands Windows to delay some printing jobs if the printer is already printing another file. By activating EMF, the printer is able to process data faster. Because images have a lot of data, deferring text print jobs will allow printers to print faster. 


Unfortunately, the deferred printing jobs can cram the hard drive space and cause difficulties to a network printer.

How to Disable EMF:

  1. Type Devices and Printers in the Search Box of your computer's taskbar.

  2. Choose the option Devices and Printers.

  3. In the Devices and Printers window, right-click the icon of your printer.

  4. Click Printer Properties.

  5. Select the Advanced tab. Turn off the option Enable advanced printing features.

  6. Click Apply. Click OK.

“My Cartridge is New But It’s Printing in Super Pale Color”

This can also be “My Ink Levels are full but the printing looks pale.”

If you have recently replaced a cartridge and the printing is pale or not printing with the ink of said cartridge, you may have clogged printheads. 

Printheads have microscopic nozzles that can get clogged easily with dried ink.

To confirm that you have clogged printheads, you can print a Test Page.

How to Print a Test Page

With Windows

  1. Load A4 Printer Paper into your printer.

  2. Type Devices and Printers in the Search Box of your computer's taskbar.

  3. Choose the option Devices and Printers.

  4. In the Devices and Printers window, right-click the icon of your printer.

  5. Click Printing Properties.

  6. Go to the General tab. Click Print Test Page.

With Mac

  1. Load A4 Printer Paper into your printer.

  2. Click the Apple Menu on your computer. Select System Preferences.

  3. Choose Printers and Scanners.

  4. Click the icon of your printer.

  5. Select the Options & Supplies... button.

  6. Choose the Utility tab and select Print Test Page


If the Test Page has broken lines like these:

Then you do have clogged printheads.

How to Initiate a Cleaning Cycle

With Windows

  1. Load A4 Printer Paper into your printer.

  2. Type Devices and Printers in the Search Box of your computer's taskbar.

  3. Choose the option Devices and Printers.

  4. In the Devices and Printers window, right-click the icon of your printer.

  5. Click Printing Preferences.

  6. Go to the Maintenance tab and click Head Cleaning.

With Mac

  1. Load A4 Printer Paper into your printer.

  2. Click the Apple Menu on your computer. Select System Preferences.

  3. Choose Printers and Scanners.

  4. Click the icon of your printer.

  5. Select the Options & Supplies... button.

  6. Choose the Utility tab and click Open Printer Utility.

  7. Click Head Cleaning then click Start.

“Can I Use Any Ink in My Printer?”

This question can be a variety of specifications:

I. “Can I Use Sublimation Ink in my Inkjet Printer?”

Short answer: no.

Sublimation ink is printed on paper by being heated into gas which then clings into the printed surface as a permanent print.

Inkjet printers have a different mechanism.

Sublimation ink can only be printed effectively with sublimation printers or inkjet printers that are converted to use sublimation ink.

II. “Can I Use Dye-Based/Pigment-based Ink Cartridges for My Inkjet Printer?”

Short answer: yes.

Developments with both dye-based inks and pigment-based inks made them today with little difference when it comes to printing quality. Both are compatible with inkjet printers. 

The difference between dye-based inks and pigment-based inks is dye-based inks are liquid colorants dissolved in a liquid formula. Pigment-based inks are solid particle colorants suspended in a liquid formula. 

III. “Can I Use Third-party Ink Cartridges for my Inkjet Printer?”

Third-party cartridges or compatible cartridges are developed to have the same build as OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) cartridges. 

Some printer manufacturers would warn that using compatible cartridges would lose your printer's warranty. However, your printer will only lose warranty if the manufacturers can prove that the printer's malfunction was caused by compatible ink cartridges.

Years ago, when the compatible ink cartridge industry was just starting, there were compatible cartridges that were a poor fit with printers and would leak. But today, with modern manufacturing that doesn't infringe on the patents of OEM cartridge manufacturers, that is rarely the case.

IV. "Can I Use Other Ink Cartridge Models for My Inkjet Printer?"

Short answer: No.


If the product page doesn’t list it as an ink cartridge for your printer then don’t do it. It may have the same ink as the proper cartridges, but it wasn't designed in mind to fit in your printer. Trying to use ink cartridges that are not listed as compatible may result in ink spillage.


Your printer may not also operate as it can detect an improper fit. 

“My Printer Stops Printing Even Though The File Isn't Yet Finished.”

I. Check If Your Printer is Plugged to a Wall Outlet?

A printer performs better when plugged in a wall outlet.

II. Is the Document Corrupted?

To confirm, print another file. If it prints normally, the problem can lie on the original document.

III. Is Your Printer Assigned as your Default Printer?

  1. Type Devices and Printers in the Search Box of your computer's taskbar.

  2. Choose the option Devices and Printers.

  3. If your printer doesn’t have a checkmark, right-click the icon and select Set as Default Printer.

IV. Print Spooler Difficulties

The print spooler is where copies of the files are temporarily stored before it gets printed. 

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows key and the R key at the same time.

  2. The Run window will pop up. Type services.msc then click OK


  1. Scroll down to Printer Spooler. Right-click Printer Spooler. Click Stop.



  1. In your computer's Start menu bar, click the File Explorer icon.

  1. In the address bar, type C:\Windows\System32\Spool\Printers and hit Enter.

  1. Press down the Shift key and select all the files.

  2. Right-click the files and select Delete.

V. For Mac Computers: Is Your GPU Overloaded?

GPU or Graphics Processing Unit spools files for printers. When they get overloaded, printing can slow down or fail.

Since GPU processes a lot of other software, close any GPU intensive apps such as web browsers or raw processors. 

VI. How to Confirm If You're Having Connection Problems

  1. Check your printer's manual how to print a Network Configuration PAGE. You can also Google search how to print a Network Configuration Page with your printer model. 

  2. If the Network Configuration page prints normally but the print quality of other files have issues, then there is a wire or wireless connection problem.

  3. If the Network Configuration Page has faulty print quality, the problem is in the printer itself.

VII. What to Do If My Printer is Having Connection Problems?

If your printer is using a wireless connection, you can either relocate your printer to a better WiFi spot or use a USB cable for better connectivity with your computer.

If your printer is connected with a USB cable, check if it's plugged well. Unplug and plug both ends to restart connection. If that doesn't work, USB cable replacement may be needed.

VIII. Are My Cartridges Stopping My Printer from Printing? 

If there's trouble with the cartridges, the printer software would often notify for low ink levels and other messages. If it only tells of a general error, check if the cartridges still have a protective tape sealing on their nozzles.

IX. If All Else Fails…

If all else fails, restarting the printer will usually clear up any communication problems within the printer and its connection with the computer.

“How Do I Keep My Inkjet Printer From Having Clogs?”

Inkjet Printers require a lot more maintenance than laser printers. However, that doesn’t mean the maintenance would be hard.

Daily

Always keep your inkjet printer plugged. The inkjet’s printheads are semiconductive. Keeping the printer plugged allows the ink remnants on the printheads melted longer instead of solidified. 

Weekly

An inkjet printer must be used often to prevent ink from drying up in the printer's microscopic nozzles. If one doesn’t print often, printing a Test Page 1-2 times a week will suffice.

Monthly

When the printing quality of your printer shows white lines or streaks, then it’s time to initiate a cleaning cycle. If it doesn't work, then it's time to know how to manually clean your printheads.

How to Clean Your Printer's Printheads Manually

  • For Printer-Installed Printheads:

  1. Properly uninstall your ink cartridges.

  2. In the ink receptacle of your printer, use a dropper to drop 8-10 drops of 91% denatured isopropyl alcohol.

  3. Wait for 30-60 seconds for alcohol to dissolve the clogs.

  4. Initiate 3-5 times of cleaning cycles after.


  • For Cartridge-Installed Printheads or Removable Printheads:

  1. Properly uninstall your ink cartridges.

  2. Soak the printheads in 91% denatured isopropyl alcohol overnight.

  3. Wipe with a moist paper towel and let it dry.

  4. Properly install your ink cartridges again.

  5. Initiate 3-5 times of cleaning cycles after.

“My Newly Installed Cartridge isn’t Working.”

In general, the cause could be dirty cartridge chips during the manufacturing or packaging process.

  1. Properly uninstall the cartridge.

  2. Dampen a paper towel and gently glide it across the chip to clean it of dirt, dust or fingerprints. 

  3. Allow it to dry.

  4. Unplug your printer for 15-20 seconds. Plug it back again. 

  5. Properly install the cartridge. 

If the cartridge isn’t working, then it’s time to get more specific by knowing how to how to make your printer accept your cartridge by your printer's brand.

Get ready for "When Your Printer Won’t Print (And Other Common Printer Problems of Epson and HP) Part 2" in our next publication.


Photo by Fernando Arcos from Pexels

When your printer starts having problems, the whole office operation can stop. You fiddle with the buttons, the cartridges, the cleaning cycle -only to find your old tricks don’t work.

Don’t get intimidated with learning new tricks! There are people who have been there. Here, we answer the commonly asked questions our audience have with their printers.

Commonly Asked Printer Problems

“My Printer Only Prints Images and Not Words”

When your printer would only print images but not text, your EMF (Enhanced Meta File) maybe activated. EMF commands Windows to delay some printing jobs if the printer is already printing another file. By activating EMF, the printer is able to process data faster. Because images have a lot of data, deferring text print jobs will allow printers to print faster. 


Unfortunately, the deferred printing jobs can cram the hard drive space and cause difficulties to a network printer.

How to Disable EMF:

  1. Type Devices and Printers in the Search Box of your computer's taskbar.

  2. Choose the option Devices and Printers.

  3. In the Devices and Printers window, right-click the icon of your printer.

  4. Click Printer Properties.

  5. Select the Advanced tab. Turn off the option Enable advanced printing features.

  6. Click Apply. Click OK.

“My Cartridge is New But It’s Printing in Super Pale Color”

This can also be “My Ink Levels are full but the printing looks pale.”

If you have recently replaced a cartridge and the printing is pale or not printing with the ink of said cartridge, you may have clogged printheads. 

Printheads have microscopic nozzles that can get clogged easily with dried ink.

To confirm that you have clogged printheads, you can print a Test Page.

How to Print a Test Page

With Windows

  1. Load A4 Printer Paper into your printer.

  2. Type Devices and Printers in the Search Box of your computer's taskbar.

  3. Choose the option Devices and Printers.

  4. In the Devices and Printers window, right-click the icon of your printer.

  5. Click Printing Properties.

  6. Go to the General tab. Click Print Test Page.

With Mac

  1. Load A4 Printer Paper into your printer.

  2. Click the Apple Menu on your computer. Select System Preferences.

  3. Choose Printers and Scanners.

  4. Click the icon of your printer.

  5. Select the Options & Supplies... button.

  6. Choose the Utility tab and select Print Test Page


If the Test Page has broken lines like these:

Then you do have clogged printheads.

How to Initiate a Cleaning Cycle

With Windows

  1. Load A4 Printer Paper into your printer.

  2. Type Devices and Printers in the Search Box of your computer's taskbar.

  3. Choose the option Devices and Printers.

  4. In the Devices and Printers window, right-click the icon of your printer.

  5. Click Printing Preferences.

  6. Go to the Maintenance tab and click Head Cleaning.

With Mac

  1. Load A4 Printer Paper into your printer.

  2. Click the Apple Menu on your computer. Select System Preferences.

  3. Choose Printers and Scanners.

  4. Click the icon of your printer.

  5. Select the Options & Supplies... button.

  6. Choose the Utility tab and click Open Printer Utility.

  7. Click Head Cleaning then click Start.

“Can I Use Any Ink in My Printer?”

This question can be a variety of specifications:

I. “Can I Use Sublimation Ink in my Inkjet Printer?”

Short answer: no.

Sublimation ink is printed on paper by being heated into gas which then clings into the printed surface as a permanent print.

Inkjet printers have a different mechanism.

Sublimation ink can only be printed effectively with sublimation printers or inkjet printers that are converted to use sublimation ink.

II. “Can I Use Dye-Based/Pigment-based Ink Cartridges for My Inkjet Printer?”

Short answer: yes.

Developments with both dye-based inks and pigment-based inks made them today with little difference when it comes to printing quality. Both are compatible with inkjet printers. 

The difference between dye-based inks and pigment-based inks is dye-based inks are liquid colorants dissolved in a liquid formula. Pigment-based inks are solid particle colorants suspended in a liquid formula. 

III. “Can I Use Third-party Ink Cartridges for my Inkjet Printer?”

Third-party cartridges or compatible cartridges are developed to have the same build as OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) cartridges. 

Some printer manufacturers would warn that using compatible cartridges would lose your printer's warranty. However, your printer will only lose warranty if the manufacturers can prove that the printer's malfunction was caused by compatible ink cartridges.

Years ago, when the compatible ink cartridge industry was just starting, there were compatible cartridges that were a poor fit with printers and would leak. But today, with modern manufacturing that doesn't infringe on the patents of OEM cartridge manufacturers, that is rarely the case.

IV. "Can I Use Other Ink Cartridge Models for My Inkjet Printer?"

Short answer: No.


If the product page doesn’t list it as an ink cartridge for your printer then don’t do it. It may have the same ink as the proper cartridges, but it wasn't designed in mind to fit in your printer. Trying to use ink cartridges that are not listed as compatible may result in ink spillage.


Your printer may not also operate as it can detect an improper fit. 

“My Printer Stops Printing Even Though The File Isn't Yet Finished.”

I. Check If Your Printer is Plugged to a Wall Outlet?

A printer performs better when plugged in a wall outlet.

II. Is the Document Corrupted?

To confirm, print another file. If it prints normally, the problem can lie on the original document.

III. Is Your Printer Assigned as your Default Printer?

  1. Type Devices and Printers in the Search Box of your computer's taskbar.

  2. Choose the option Devices and Printers.

  3. If your printer doesn’t have a checkmark, right-click the icon and select Set as Default Printer.

IV. Print Spooler Difficulties

The print spooler is where copies of the files are temporarily stored before it gets printed. 

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows key and the R key at the same time.

  2. The Run window will pop up. Type services.msc then click OK


  1. Scroll down to Printer Spooler. Right-click Printer Spooler. Click Stop.



  1. In your computer's Start menu bar, click the File Explorer icon.

  1. In the address bar, type C:\Windows\System32\Spool\Printers and hit Enter.

  1. Press down the Shift key and select all the files.

  2. Right-click the files and select Delete.

V. For Mac Computers: Is Your GPU Overloaded?

GPU or Graphics Processing Unit spools files for printers. When they get overloaded, printing can slow down or fail.

Since GPU processes a lot of other software, close any GPU intensive apps such as web browsers or raw processors. 

VI. How to Confirm If You're Having Connection Problems

  1. Check your printer's manual how to print a Network Configuration PAGE. You can also Google search how to print a Network Configuration Page with your printer model. 

  2. If the Network Configuration page prints normally but the print quality of other files have issues, then there is a wire or wireless connection problem.

  3. If the Network Configuration Page has faulty print quality, the problem is in the printer itself.

VII. What to Do If My Printer is Having Connection Problems?

If your printer is using a wireless connection, you can either relocate your printer to a better WiFi spot or use a USB cable for better connectivity with your computer.

If your printer is connected with a USB cable, check if it's plugged well. Unplug and plug both ends to restart connection. If that doesn't work, USB cable replacement may be needed.

VIII. Are My Cartridges Stopping My Printer from Printing? 

If there's trouble with the cartridges, the printer software would often notify for low ink levels and other messages. If it only tells of a general error, check if the cartridges still have a protective tape sealing on their nozzles.

IX. If All Else Fails…

If all else fails, restarting the printer will usually clear up any communication problems within the printer and its connection with the computer.

“How Do I Keep My Inkjet Printer From Having Clogs?”

Inkjet Printers require a lot more maintenance than laser printers. However, that doesn’t mean the maintenance would be hard.

Daily

Always keep your inkjet printer plugged. The inkjet’s printheads are semiconductive. Keeping the printer plugged allows the ink remnants on the printheads melted longer instead of solidified. 

Weekly

An inkjet printer must be used often to prevent ink from drying up in the printer's microscopic nozzles. If one doesn’t print often, printing a Test Page 1-2 times a week will suffice.

Monthly

When the printing quality of your printer shows white lines or streaks, then it’s time to initiate a cleaning cycle. If it doesn't work, then it's time to know how to manually clean your printheads.

How to Clean Your Printer's Printheads Manually

  • For Printer-Installed Printheads:

  1. Properly uninstall your ink cartridges.

  2. In the ink receptacle of your printer, use a dropper to drop 8-10 drops of 91% denatured isopropyl alcohol.

  3. Wait for 30-60 seconds for alcohol to dissolve the clogs.

  4. Initiate 3-5 times of cleaning cycles after.


  • For Cartridge-Installed Printheads or Removable Printheads:

  1. Properly uninstall your ink cartridges.

  2. Soak the printheads in 91% denatured isopropyl alcohol overnight.

  3. Wipe with a moist paper towel and let it dry.

  4. Properly install your ink cartridges again.

  5. Initiate 3-5 times of cleaning cycles after.

“My Newly Installed Cartridge isn’t Working.”

In general, the cause could be dirty cartridge chips during the manufacturing or packaging process.

  1. Properly uninstall the cartridge.

  2. Dampen a paper towel and gently glide it across the chip to clean it of dirt, dust or fingerprints. 

  3. Allow it to dry.

  4. Unplug your printer for 15-20 seconds. Plug it back again. 

  5. Properly install the cartridge. 

If the cartridge isn’t working, then it’s time to get more specific by knowing how to how to make your printer accept your cartridge by your printer's brand.

Get ready for "When Your Printer Won’t Print (And Other Common Printer Problems of Epson and HP) Part 2" in our next publication.

2020-09-04

3 Steps in Choosing Professional Ink & Toner Cartridges: Remanufactured vs Refillable vs Compatible

Buying cartridges again and again can be a pain, especially when OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or genuine cartridges are expensive. 

If you’re reading this, you may be looking for cheaper alternatives of great quality. You want to save money. But at the same time, you don’t want to get duped.  

When one would search for alternative cartridges (remanufactured, refillable or compatible) in Amazon or Google, hundreds of brands and shops will appear. All of them would be 30-75% cheaper than OEM cartridges.

Why are Alternative Cartridges Cheaper?

OEM cartridges are the manufacturers' profit. To cover up research and development costs, they use the blade-and-razor business model. This means they underprice razors (printers) to encourage customers to buy. Then they sell blades (cartridges) with high prices to cover the losses. 

For example, AustinMcConnell shared in his Youtube video, “Ink Cartridges Are A Scam”, that in his time as a tech customer support, a printer can have a manufacturing price of $105 and a retail price of $75. An ink cartridge can have a manufacturing price of $00.23 and a retail price of $59.95. 

But Cheap isn’t Enough 

Depending on the company, their cartridges can be what you'll regret buying: low quality ink and improper cartridge fit that leads to leaks, waste and possible problems to your printer.

The cheaper the alternative cartridge, the cheaper the quality.

What you're looking for are professional alternative cartridges that will work smoothly with your printer, give great print and help you save money. In companies that sell quality alternative cartridges, they use toner and ink that are similar to the original brands without violating patents.So what can you do to have your cake and eat it too?

Buy alternative cartridges: remanufactured, refillable or compatible.

(Note: Your warranty won't be voided because of using alternative cartridges. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act protects your right to use third-party cartridges.)

Step 1: Decide Over Refillable Cartridge vs Remanufactured Cartridge vs Compatible Cartridge

What Alternative Cartridge is Right for You? Remanufactured Cartridge, Refillable Cartridge, Compatible Cartridge.


Please note it would also depend if the alternative cartridges are available in your cartridge models. 

A. Remanufactured Cartridge

Remanufactured cartridges are recycled OEM cartridges from recycling programs. According to Energy Central, more than 375 million ink and toner cartridges are dumped in landfills per year. Recycling and remanufacturing cartridges alleviates the bulk of non-biodegradable waste.

These cartridges are carefully selected for high performance and undergo a high power cleaning process with demineralized water. They are then mechanically filled with ink or toner. Their old cartridge chips are then replaced with new ones.

Once the cartridges have passed printing tests and quality checks, they are then cleaned and professionally packed and sealed for shipment.

If you’re environmentally-conscious, remanufactured cartridges may be the right one for you.

B. Refillable Cartridges

There are many ways to refill in ink or toner:

  1. Cartridge Refilling Service: You can find if there are local services near you or go to stores such as Office Max, Costco and Walgreens. Don’t forget to check if the service supports your cartridge model.

  2. Buy Ink or Toner by Bulk: This can go in two ways

    1. Buy Refillable models of your Ink Cartridges: Many online ink and toner shops have available refillable cartridges for different cartridge models. They may come with a chip resetter since you will still need your OEM’s cartridge chip to work. 

    2. Re-use Your Ink or Toner Cartridges: There are many tutorials available in Youtube on how to refill your cartridges. You will need to buy an ink/toner refilling kit to assist you in case you need to drill a hole or syringe ink into the cartridge

Ink Refilling Kit.

C. Compatible Cartridge

Compatible cartridges are brand new cartridges made by third party manufacturers. They are designed according to the OEM cartridge model for utmost compatibility.

Step 2: Four Things to Look For to Guarantee Professional Alternative Cartridges

Once you have an idea of which alternative cartridge you prefer, it’s time to Google search if they are available in your cartridge models.

If there are, congrats. It’s time to screen the shops and sellers. Here are 4 things to look for to guarantee professional alternative cartridges. 

#1 The Years the Company has been in Business

A quick visit to the About Us page can confirm how long they have been running their business.

Rule of the thumb, the longer the company has been in business, the more dependable are their products. It shows that millions of loyal customers have bought again and again because the quality of their cartridges are consistent.

#2 Does the Company have Reliable Customer Service?

In the small margin that product quality is not consistent, a company will back it up with service to help the customer. 

A customer should not be stuck with a lemon. This is where the company's chat or phone customer service comes in.

The support can instruct the customer what to do to make the product work as the printer's updates may hinder the operation upon recognition of third party cartridges or used cartridges. 

If all attempts fail, the customer can then return the product to get their money back or have it replaced for free. This would be all recorded with a ticket number for proper documentation and clear communications between the company's branches.

#3 Check their Guarantee

A strong product guarantee shows that the company is confident of their product quality.

Ink and toner cartridges have a shelf life of two years. Some shops have a 2-year guarantee. Others have a 1-year guarantee. 

Keep in mind to also check the number of days that you would get your refund or replacement in case your purchased cartridges won't work.

#4 Compare Reviews

This is an obvious but often overlooked advice especially when people are in a hurry to purchase and have the cartridges delivered soon.

If you'll scroll down a product page, you may find 5-star reviews first. That's good. But take the time to check the 1–3 star reviews. What were their most common complaints that they gave the product a low rating? Is it something you can risk?

Step 3: Buy

Once you've decided the alternative cartridge and the store, you're good to go. By putting all the research today, you'll find a dependable store that you can keep coming back to in the future.

3 Steps in Choosing Professional Ink & Toner Cartridges: Remanufactured vs Refillable vs Compatible

Buying cartridges again and again can be a pain, especially when OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or genuine cartridges are expensive. 

If you’re reading this, you may be looking for cheaper alternatives of great quality. You want to save money. But at the same time, you don’t want to get duped.  

When one would search for alternative cartridges (remanufactured, refillable or compatible) in Amazon or Google, hundreds of brands and shops will appear. All of them would be 30-75% cheaper than OEM cartridges.

Why are Alternative Cartridges Cheaper?

OEM cartridges are the manufacturers' profit. To cover up research and development costs, they use the blade-and-razor business model. This means they underprice razors (printers) to encourage customers to buy. Then they sell blades (cartridges) with high prices to cover the losses. 

For example, AustinMcConnell shared in his Youtube video, “Ink Cartridges Are A Scam”, that in his time as a tech customer support, a printer can have a manufacturing price of $105 and a retail price of $75. An ink cartridge can have a manufacturing price of $00.23 and a retail price of $59.95. 

But Cheap isn’t Enough 

Depending on the company, their cartridges can be what you'll regret buying: low quality ink and improper cartridge fit that leads to leaks, waste and possible problems to your printer.

The cheaper the alternative cartridge, the cheaper the quality.

What you're looking for are professional alternative cartridges that will work smoothly with your printer, give great print and help you save money. In companies that sell quality alternative cartridges, they use toner and ink that are similar to the original brands without violating patents.So what can you do to have your cake and eat it too?

Buy alternative cartridges: remanufactured, refillable or compatible.

(Note: Your warranty won't be voided because of using alternative cartridges. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act protects your right to use third-party cartridges.)

Step 1: Decide Over Refillable Cartridge vs Remanufactured Cartridge vs Compatible Cartridge

What Alternative Cartridge is Right for You? Remanufactured Cartridge, Refillable Cartridge, Compatible Cartridge.


Please note it would also depend if the alternative cartridges are available in your cartridge models. 

A. Remanufactured Cartridge

Remanufactured cartridges are recycled OEM cartridges from recycling programs. According to Energy Central, more than 375 million ink and toner cartridges are dumped in landfills per year. Recycling and remanufacturing cartridges alleviates the bulk of non-biodegradable waste.

These cartridges are carefully selected for high performance and undergo a high power cleaning process with demineralized water. They are then mechanically filled with ink or toner. Their old cartridge chips are then replaced with new ones.

Once the cartridges have passed printing tests and quality checks, they are then cleaned and professionally packed and sealed for shipment.

If you’re environmentally-conscious, remanufactured cartridges may be the right one for you.

B. Refillable Cartridges

There are many ways to refill in ink or toner:

  1. Cartridge Refilling Service: You can find if there are local services near you or go to stores such as Office Max, Costco and Walgreens. Don’t forget to check if the service supports your cartridge model.

  2. Buy Ink or Toner by Bulk: This can go in two ways

    1. Buy Refillable models of your Ink Cartridges: Many online ink and toner shops have available refillable cartridges for different cartridge models. They may come with a chip resetter since you will still need your OEM’s cartridge chip to work. 

    2. Re-use Your Ink or Toner Cartridges: There are many tutorials available in Youtube on how to refill your cartridges. You will need to buy an ink/toner refilling kit to assist you in case you need to drill a hole or syringe ink into the cartridge

Ink Refilling Kit.

C. Compatible Cartridge

Compatible cartridges are brand new cartridges made by third party manufacturers. They are designed according to the OEM cartridge model for utmost compatibility.

Step 2: Four Things to Look For to Guarantee Professional Alternative Cartridges

Once you have an idea of which alternative cartridge you prefer, it’s time to Google search if they are available in your cartridge models.

If there are, congrats. It’s time to screen the shops and sellers. Here are 4 things to look for to guarantee professional alternative cartridges. 

#1 The Years the Company has been in Business

A quick visit to the About Us page can confirm how long they have been running their business.

Rule of the thumb, the longer the company has been in business, the more dependable are their products. It shows that millions of loyal customers have bought again and again because the quality of their cartridges are consistent.

#2 Does the Company have Reliable Customer Service?

In the small margin that product quality is not consistent, a company will back it up with service to help the customer. 

A customer should not be stuck with a lemon. This is where the company's chat or phone customer service comes in.

The support can instruct the customer what to do to make the product work as the printer's updates may hinder the operation upon recognition of third party cartridges or used cartridges. 

If all attempts fail, the customer can then return the product to get their money back or have it replaced for free. This would be all recorded with a ticket number for proper documentation and clear communications between the company's branches.

#3 Check their Guarantee

A strong product guarantee shows that the company is confident of their product quality.

Ink and toner cartridges have a shelf life of two years. Some shops have a 2-year guarantee. Others have a 1-year guarantee. 

Keep in mind to also check the number of days that you would get your refund or replacement in case your purchased cartridges won't work.

#4 Compare Reviews

This is an obvious but often overlooked advice especially when people are in a hurry to purchase and have the cartridges delivered soon.

If you'll scroll down a product page, you may find 5-star reviews first. That's good. But take the time to check the 1–3 star reviews. What were their most common complaints that they gave the product a low rating? Is it something you can risk?

Step 3: Buy

Once you've decided the alternative cartridge and the store, you're good to go. By putting all the research today, you'll find a dependable store that you can keep coming back to in the future.