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Pros and Cons of Original OEM vs. Remanufactured Toner for Printers

Becky - ASE Director of Marketing
Posted by Becky - ASE Director of Marketing on Jul 12, 2022


When purchasing toner or ink cartridges for your printer, you may wonder if the cost of OEM or original equipment manufacturer cartridges is worth it. In this blog post, we will review the difference between original OEM and remanufactured toner cartridges, and which may be best for your printing needs.


OEM vs. Remanufactured vs. Clone Toner Cartridges – What’s the Difference?

To further confuse the issue, in addition to OEM and remanufactured cartridges, we have clone ink and toner cartridges. The temptation sometimes is to skip both OEM and remanufactured toner and try clone or “compatible” cartridges. These clone cartridges are made by third-party manufacturers and as such, the quality is variable at best.

A remanufactured toner or ink cartridge, as long as it is a remanufactured OEM cartridge and not a remanufactured clone cartridge, allays those quality concerns. (For the sake of this article, we will assume we mean “remanufactured OEM cartridges” when we speak of remanufactured cartridges because most remanufactured cartridges are remanufactured OEM cartridges.)

Remanufactured cartridges are a much safer bet than clone cartridges but carry some of the cost savings, so will recommend them over clones any day of the week. But what about OEM vs. remanufactured toner or ink cartridges? Let’s review both:


Pros and Cons of OEM Toner and Ink Cartridges


1. OEM or original equipment manufacturer cartridges are generally the safest bet. These are the “name brand” cartridges made by the printer manufacturers themselves. Brands include HP, Canon, Lexmark, Bother, Konica Minolta, etc.

2. OEM cartridges are pretty much guaranteed to work with your printer. Off-brand or clone cartridges may be blocked by the printer software and made unusable. While this is not the case with remanufactured OEM cartridges, some people feel a lot more reassurance with new, brand-name toner cartridges.

3. OEM toner cartridges allegedly have the highest print quality and output. This may be up for debate but it’s worth trying for yourself to see if there’s any truth to the marketing.

4. OEM cartridges, because they were designed by the original manufacturer, are much less likely to break your printer, which can be a problem with super-cheap knock-off ink or toner cartridges.



1. The main downside of OEM cartridges is the price. These brand-name cartridges can cost $20 to $100 more than remanufactured or third-party cartridges. That’s a lot! But the good news is, here at ASE Direct, we can get you better prices, especially if you buy in bulk.


Pros and Cons of Remanufactured Toner and Ink Cartridges

Remanufactured toner and ink cartridges are also a good option, especially for cash-strapped small businesses and organizations that want the benefits of OEM cartridges with a lower cost. Remanufactured cartridges are OEM cartridges that have been recycled. They are cleaned up and new ink or toner is placed inside.


1. The obvious benefit of a lower price

2. There is a green benefit to remanufactured cartridges. While more and more printer brands are opting to use recycled materials in new cartridges when possible, this is not the same as a fully recycled printer cartridge. The environmental benefits of remanufactured cartridges include 79% fewer materials consumed, 51% smaller total environmental impact, and 44% fewer natural resources consumed.

3. Eco-friendly remanufactured ink and toner cartridges also give you just about the same quality as a new OEM cartridge, and you don’t need to worry about them breaking your machine like a cheap clone cartridge.

4. Furthermore, your printer won’t reject a remanufactured toner cartridge because it is essentially a recycled OEM cartridge.



1. Well, sometimes they may not be available. This is because they are made from recycled OEM cartridges, so they are often not available when a new printer comes out because not enough toner cartridges have been returned yet for recycling.


(This brings us to a side point: If no-one bothers to return their OEM print or ink cartridges for recycling, we can’t have any remanufactured cartridges. But returning your old printer cartridges is easy with ASE Direct – we will send you pre-paid shipping labels for your used printer cartridges.)


All that said, some feel that the quality and reliability of OEM toner cartridges can’t be beat, so the extra cost is worth it. Furthermore, the ink colors may be slightly different in remanufactured toners due to patent issues. (Most people won’t notice, though.) No matter which you get, remanufactured or OEM, we offer a full section of quality ink and toner cartridges for printers and multifunction devices. Browse our online store for printer supplies and more, or contact us for custom services.

Topics: SDVOSB, Buy American Veteran, HP, Xerox, Lexmark, Veteran, Small Business, Purchasing, Office Supplies, Sustainability, Remanufactured, Cost-Savings, Toner, Ink, Environmental, Recycle, Supplier Diversity, Security

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