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Toner cartridges and considerations when buying a printer

Before you choose a new laser printer make sure you fully understand the implications of replacing printer toner cartridges. Toner cartridges can range in price from tens to hundreds of dollars so it is important to find out how much your replacement cartridges will be before you buy your printer. Although the price of a toner cartridge is important, it is not the only factor. In particular, the cost per page - the price of the cartridge divided by the expected yield - is more important than the price to most people. So a $135 cartridge that produces 2,500 pages works out cheaper than a $70 that is only good for 1,000 pages (5.4c vs 7c  per page).

There are other considerations.

Toner cartridge configuration

Some laser printers are designed in such a way that their toner cartridges just contain the supply of toner. This makes the cartridges cheap to buy, but there are other service parts that need to be replaced over time. Other models are designed around cartridges that include toner and other consumable elements. One example is the wiper blade that removes excess toner from the drum and paper. The wiper blade can be part of the toner cartridge - pushing up the price of the cartridge - or it can be a service part that you purchase separately when needed. If a particular blade has a useful life that exceeds the toner cartridge page yield, you would probably be better off if it could be replaced separately.

Discounted toner cartridges

You have five main choices when it comes to replacing your toner cartridges. From the most expensive to the least expensive the options are: genuine toner cartridges, compatible toner cartridges, remanufactured toner cartridges, refilled toner cartridges or manual toner refills.

At Ink Depot we do not sell or encourage the use of refill kits or refilled cartridges due to quality and standardisation issues. We do however advocate using compatible toner cartridges or, if they are not available, remanufactured toner cartridges.

Compatible toner cartridges are usually a lot cheaper that genuine toner cartridges. We highly recommend that you choose compatible toner cartridges that are manufactured to ISO9001 and ISO14001 quality standards. Your printer warranty will not be void if you choose to use ISO9001 compatible toner cartridges unless the printer manufacturer can prove your printer has become faulty because of the cartridges. Compatible printer cartridges are available for most leading printer brands such as HP, Brother, Canon, Epson and Lexmark.

Recycle Printer Cartridges

Quality compatible toner cartridges are not available for some models, in which case Ink Depot tries to offer remanufactured toner cartridges instead. Cartridge remanufacturers take used cartridges, dismantle them, replace any worn parts, reassemble and refill with toner, and then test the remanufactured toner cartridge. In addition to saving you money, each remanufactured cartridge has saved one toner cartridge from being sent to landfill. On that point, please don't throw your used cartridges away, as there is probably a recycling drop-off point near you. Printer cartridge recycling means the materials are reused even if the cartridges are not remanufactured or refilled.

Reliable supply of toner cartridges

You are likely to find significant price variations for ink and toner cartridges at local retailers, but on-line stores like Ink Depot are able to offer toner cartridges at substantially discounted prices. Leading printer manufacturers such as HP, Lexmark, Canon, Brother, Epson produce toner cartridges which are specific for each model of printer.  It is therefore important that you know your printer brand and exact model number to ensure you are purchasing the correct cartridges for your printer. At Ink Depot you will find both genuine and compatible toner cartridges for the major printer brands.

Print resolution

Print quality can sometimes be an issue with laser printers. This is not usually a result of the toner cartridge or of the printer itself, but rather the quality setting in the printer driver on your computer. If you are getting poor print quality (e.g. grainy looking text and graphics) review that setting, which may be expressed in terms of draft, normal or best, or as the number of dots per inch (DPI). For example, your printer may be capable of 600 DPI but the driver may default to 300 DPI in order to speed the print process - doubling the resolution can mean four times as much data has to be sent to the printer. So experiment with this setting to find the most appropriate balance of print quality and speed.

For more information about choosing your discounted printer ink and toner cartridges please contact us.

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