Are originals better than compatibles?

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We are talking Original Ink Cartridges Verses Compatibles! Some people prefer to rely on originals for their printers mostly because they fear the warranty might be nil and void if they stray to anything else. But is this just a myth and are originals worth the extra cost?

Here Adrian Pawsey from PrinterInks4u explains the difference, the issue of printer warranties and helps you make the right choice for you.


An original cartridge is manufactured by the same brand that manufactured the printer. e.g. an original cartridge for a Cannon printer is manufactured by Cannon. 

A compatible cartridge is manufactured by a different the cartridge fits the Canon printer, but it is not manufactured by Canon.

Compatibles are as reliable as original cartridges, the ink formulation in a compatible is almost identical to that of an original cartridge. Independent reviews by Simon Williams (print technology journalist) concluded that there is little to choose between the colour reproduction, accuracy of print and ease of use. 

Other types of cartridge:

Refilled – These are original cartridges which have been used once, returned, cleaned and refilled.

Remanufactured – These are original cartridges which have been used once, returned, cleaned, all working parts replaced and then refilled (more common with toner cartridges).

Price Differential 

OEM cartridges tend to be priced fairly highly as the manufacture may price the printer fairly low in order to attract the custom in the first place. Compatible cartridges cost less as they do not have to offset the cost of printer manufacture, typically savings of up to 40% can be made using compatibles.

Will compatibles affect printer warranty?

There are very few ways a cartridge can break a printer. Reputable suppliers will guarantee the performance of the machine in the rare case of cartridge failure.

OEM’s are legally required to provide a 1-year guarantee on electrical products and are not allowed to supply with anti-competitive terms. In other words, OEMs cannot insist that the user only uses their brand of cartridge. If there is a fault with the printer, they must prove that the third- party cartridges caused it. The OEM should arrange for an engineer to visit and determine the fault and what caused it. If the printer was at fault it is their responsibility to fix the problem. If it is the cartridge that was faulty then the supplier of the printer may still be accept responsibility and repair is usually covered in the form of a guarantee.

Extended warranty

These optional warranties are provided by the manufacturer and they can set their own terms. This means that they can void the warranty on the printer for using third party cartridges. If this is the case, there are remedies available:

  • Contact the manufacturer as the problem may be a known printer fault.
  • If the OEM refuses help, contact the supplier of the printer explaining the problem.
  • If the consumable caused the problem, they may arrange for an independent engineer to fix the issue and find the fault (as they should guarantee their products).
  • If the cartridge was the cause the suppliers guarantee should cover it.
  • If the printer is at fault, you have an engineers’ report to talk to the manufacturer about.

If you think about it, its in the interest of the printer manufacturer for the myth of warranty invalidation to persist, as users not in the know or worried by the fact that they are dealing with something in the world of IT, will continue to only buy their products more likely out of fear than anything else. 

From August 1st Printerinks4u will provide you with a choice, so you can purchase competitively priced originals or compatibles. Hopefully you are now a little clearer on the definitions and the issues that surround the subject, but if I can be of any help before you buy please do give me a call.

Adrian Pawsey
07931 353640


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