The Differences Between Original Ink Cartridges & Compatible Cartridges Explained

The cost to replace printer ink can really add up over time. Due to this fact many printer owners have opted to use generic ink cartridges to cut cost. Other methods to cut the cost of ink also include refilling cartridges. When deciding on any ink cartridge replacement for your printer it is important to note the model of your printer and the brand to purchase the right kind. When it comes to appearance there is hardly any noticeable difference as the shape and design must be similar in order for the cartridge to work with your printer.

An examination of the other differences between original ink cartridges and compatible ones will help you to decide on the option you prefer.

Original or Genuine Ink Cartridges

These are the original branded cartridges which come from your printer’s manufacturer. They offer the best quality print you will get because they were manufactured specifically for the particular brand and model of printer. They are most likely to be quite durable and so will not fade very easily.

It generally costs more than an alternative brand and the quality of the ink is consistent with each purchased cartridge. If you are thinking of printing photos, then your best chance of getting high quality images will be from using original ink cartridges. With this and quality photo paper you are guaranteed satisfying results. The durability of images printed from original ink cartridges will also be greater as the degradation is much slower. You will also want to give consideration to the way the photos are stored as that will contribute to how long the prints will last.

If you will be printing images which are intended for more long term use or storage, there is a special ink formulation known as archival ink, which was manufactured to be even more durable than regular ink.

Compatible Ink Cartridges

These ink cartridges are an alternative to the manufacturer’s brand which can be used with your printer. They have their own brand name and are usually significantly cheaper than the original or genuine brand. A word of caution however exists because some extremely inexpensive alternate compatible cartridges may be of significantly lower quality than the original and even the best alternative brands.

If you choose to use a compatible ink cartridge instead of the original, it is important to do careful research beforehand to determine if they will suit your printing needs.  This will save you even more money in the long run as you may have to replace sub-standard ink for one of a higher quality. When you have identified an alternative which proves reliable and gives you the results you want, it may be best to stick with that since you would already be familiar with the performance.

The good news is that the use of a compatible brand ink cartridge will not affect the manufacturer’s warranty on your printer. This is because it is highly unlikely in fact rare that any functional problems which may occur with your printer will be due to the use of an alternative brand of printer ink.

Even though the use of alternative compatible ink cartridges is not recommended by the manufacturers of the printer, there is no real danger apart from loss of profit to them. When it comes to the quality of the prints however, the original will always surpass the alternative. This is by no means an implication that compatible brands are grossly inferior.

What it does mean however is that if you are looking for consistent print quality with every single print and every single cartridge purchase, then the original would have to be your choice. Those cartridges offer guaranteed results every time.

If you do not require that for every job and would definitely benefit from savings due to ink purchases, then the lower cost from the get go will benefit you right away. With that being said, with all the advances in technology related to the manufacture of ink, there are some reputable alternative brands which have produced ink quality which is very close to what the original brand would produce. In many cases it is even quite a task to tell the difference between a document printed with original ink as opposed to a compatible ink brand.

Another positive for the use of compatible ink cartridges is the fact that it is quite common to get deals on purchases. To experience further savings, making volume purchases will allow you to stock up and save, benefitting from volume discounts. The good news is that they have a long shelf life and the secure packaging and sealing of the contact points ensures that the ink will not dry out. This is a good financial decision especially if you have a great demand for printer ink.

Author Bio – Tom Richards, the author of this guest article writes occasionally on behalf of The Ink Factory, an online website specializing in selling printer ink cartridges online.