Genuine vs Compatible (Generic) Cartridges

Choosing between a Genuine or Compatible (Generic) ink or toner cartridge


The purchase of printer ink cartridges has become an everyday practice with more and more people enjoying the benefits of easy, effective and efficient printing. Whether you are printing for business purposes, photos, art or school it is important that you get a reliable and quality print outcome each and every time you print.

Print cartridge options:

There are two main choices when it comes to selecting the type of printer cartridge you need - genuine or Compatible (Generic). Genuine cartridges are produced by the manufacturer of your printer such as HP, Canon, Brother, Lexmark, Epson and so on. These genuine ink and toner cartridges are also called OEM's (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and are usually sold at a premium price. However, you can often find a non-genuine brand available for your make and model of printer. These are known as 'compatible' or 'generic' ink cartridges. Compatible ink cartridges are usually much cheaper than the premium priced genuine cartridges. Compatible ink cartridges use brand new high quality ink which is in a new casing. Another alternative cheap cartridge you may find available for your printer is called a 'remanufactured' cartridge. These are non brand cartridges that use brand new high quality ink but are in a casing which has been repaired and reused.

Genuine vs Compatible cartridges:

Both types of cartridges are useful and each have their own benefits, but which one is better? The lower price of compatible cartridges makes printing more accessible to many users. Compatible ink cartridges are often discounted by up to 70% compared to the cost of genuine ink cartridges. Buying compatible ink cartridges from a reputable supplier such as Ink Depot will ensure you receive an ink or toner cartridge of high quality that is designed to work as well as original brand manufacturer cartridges. Most printers made by HP, Brother, Canon, Epson and Kyocera have a compatible ink cartridge available.

Genuine cartridges are also popular with many customers. These cartridges are made by the manufacturer specifically for your brand and model of printer, but as mentioned above they usually cost more. We realise that some people prefer the peace of mind of using a genuine ink or toner cartridge for their printer. With that in mind we sell all major ink cartridge brands including HP, Epson, Canon, Brother at very competitive prices and we regularly offer specials on our genuine brands.

Common Myths About Genuine And Compatible Cartridges

What is the difference between genuine and compatible cartridges?

A genuine cartridge is a product which has been manufactured by the same company as the printer. For instance, if you have a HP printer, the genuine cartridges would be those that have also been manufactured by HP. Compatible cartridges are products which have been designed to work in the same printer but have been manufactured by a third-party company.

Why should I buy compatible cartridges?

The main reason is simply due to how much money you can save. Compatible cartridges are often much cheaper and in some cases may even contain more ink than the genuine equivalent. Some generic brand cartridges may also utilise recycled parts and these are usually referred to as refilled or remanufactured cartridges (discussed further below). These are a good alternative if you are looking for the most green-friendly option.

Are compatible cartridges safe to use or will they damage my printer?

The only instance in which a cartridge could potentially damage a printer is if it had been poorly moulded. However, it is important to understand that there is a difference between printer damage and poor printing results.

To avoid poor quality compatible cartridges, you should buy them from reputable retailers only, such as Ink Depot, who source their compatible products from the leading local distributors in the country. This will ensure that you are receiving a quality compatible product which has satisfied design protocols and is safer to use in your printer and will ensure a quality result. The market is still saturated with ridiculously cheap compatible cartridges which are manufactured to a lesser standard using cheaper components.

At the end of the day, saving money on compatible cartridges only makes sense if the product you receive performs adequately. Otherwise you’ll be wasting a lot more time, ink and money trying to resolve poor printing issues caused by an inferior product.

Does the use of compatible cartridges void my printer warranty?

To encourage the sale of their own genuine products, a printer manufacturer may indicate that your warranty will be void if you use compatible products in your printer. However, they cannot legally refuse your warranty claim simply because you have used a compatible product. Before a manufacturer could deny any repairs to your printer they would have to prove that the compatible product was directly responsible for any issue you are experiencing with your printer.

And while we have personally never seen evidence of a compatible cartridge we have sold causing damage, if we assume for a second that this could happen, the warranty would still remain valid for all other unaffected aspects of the printer.

Where can I find cheap cartridges that are good quality?

There are many places that supply cheap aftermarket cartridges, and although the cheapest price can be tempting, you want to avoid making the mistake of buying a product that doesn’t perform well and is potentially harmful to your printer. Ink Depot sources its cartridges from the top local suppliers in the Australian industry, who have an extremely low defective rate of less than 2%. This ensures you will receive a quality product.

Are remanufactured ink cartridges worth buying?

There are multiple reasons why a remanufactured cartridge is worth buying. The amount of money you can save could be significant and using recycled products is a great way to support our environment.

Who makes the best remanufactured ink cartridges?

If remanufactured products are available for your printer, we recommend that you choose trusted brands such as Q-Image and Whitebox. The cartridges from these brands are manufactured to the highest standards and are among the safest compatible products that you can use in your printer.

Will remanufactured ink cartridges work in HP printers?

Yes, you will need to find the right cartridge suitable for your printer. On a rare occasion there may be instances where the firmware (permanent software) in the printer has been modified and is unable to communicate with the chip on the cartridge. It is important to choose a supplier that is maintaining a high level of service so you can count on them to help troubleshoot and replace cartridges if the cartridge is not providing satisfactory results. Look for those who have great customer reviews.

Are generic ink bottles available for continuous ink tank printers?

Yes. Back when ink tank printing technology was first introduced, there were reports of some aftermarket ink causing damage to continuous ink tank printers, such as Epson’s EcoTank series. This was because the genuine ink for these types of printers was specially formulated to prevent drying out quicker than regular ink. At that time it was considered risky to use anything other than the genuine ink bottles, which were not too expensive in any case. However, now that more time has passed, compatible ink bottles have made progress and are now a safe alternative. Look to buy them from trusted retailers with good reviews.

Can I buy cheaper 3D filaments?

Branded filaments are formulated to work best with the same brand of 3D printer, so they are the recommended choice. However, there are generic 3D filaments available. It is important to take care with your purchasing decision and ensure you buy generic filaments with the correct specifications for your 3D printer and printing requirements.

Why is it cheaper to buy a printer than new ink?

Printers are often sold for less than the amount it costs to manufacture them. Manufacturers sell these at a loss and make their money back from the consumables. However, the ink cartridges supplied with a printer will often contain less ink than when you buy the ink separately. So while it may be cheaper to buy a new printer, it is not going to save you money on the ink.

Why is printer ink so expensive?

As printers are often sold for much less than they cost to make, the profit for manufacturers must come from the consumables. This is one of the main reasons why a compatible cartridge costs less than a genuine cartridge - because the third-party company does not have to account for the money lost on the sale of the printer.

Look for ISO Quality certification:

To safeguard both ourselves and our customers against less reputable suppliers and products we only stock compatible ink and toner cartridges from Australia's largest importer. The brands we supply, (mainly Printrite and Q-Image), are two of the dominant compatible brands available in the marketplace. We only ever sell compatible ink and toner cartridges that are manufactured to meet the ISO9001 and ISO 14001 quality standards.

Please consider the environment. We encourage our customers to recycle old cartridges so they can be made into either remanufactured ink cartridges or into something else entirely! There are several companies such as Planet Ark and Cartridge Rescue who now recycle old ink cartridges to create completely new products such as park benches amongst other things!

Look for a 90 day guarantee:

No ink cartridge is immune to faults, even the genuine cartridges can occasionally have a problem from time to time. On rare occasions, a compatible printer cartridge will not work with a specific printer because of a micro chip incompatibility, or you may find a cartridge gives less than satisfactory printing results. To ensure our customers are protected in these instances, we offer a full warranty against defective cartridges. You can elect to have your money refunded, or we can send you a replacement of the same cartridge free of charge.

For genuine cartridges the manufacturers like to troubleshoot the problems first and if they can't be fixed we are happy to replace them. Either way, we stand by our 90 day money back or replacement guarantee for all our ink and toner cartridges.

For more information or assistance with choosing your discounted printer ink and toner cartridges please contact us. Alternatively, please see the section on 'Product Information' on our FAQ page.

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