OEM Toner Cartridges vs. Remanufactured Toner Cartridge vs. Generic Toner Cartridge

Not all toner cartridges are equal. Getting to know these differences will greatly improve your odds of making an educated choice when it comes to purchasing your print supplies. Is reliability your top requirement? Does low costs trump environmental consequences? Let’s take a look at the choices available.


What are the differences?


OEM Toner Cartridges

An OEM toner cartridge is a cartridge produced by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). These cartridges are brand new, very reliable but expensive.

We offer an empty cartridge recycle program so that used OEM cartridges can be remanufactured, saving it from the landfill.


Clover Imaging Group CIG

Remanufactured Toner Cartridges

A remanufactured toner cartridge is a used OEM cartridge which has been remanufactured. The cost is considerably lower than that of an OEM cartridge with print quality and reliabilty almost on par. The remanufacturing process is a multi-step process. The process starts with using only original cartridges which have been thoroughly inspected for any flaws. The cartridges are then stripped down to individual parts. High wear components are replaced with brand new parts, then filled with toner specifically formulated for that printer cartridge. Sounds easy? Nope. Not all remanufactured toner cartridges are equal in quality which is why we supply CIG (Clover Imaging Group) and EcoTone remanufactured cartridges as they are of superior quality.

Every CIG and EcoTone cartridge produced goes through a comprehensive quality performance system that ensures that all products meet or exceed OEM performance. This includes OEM benchmarking, rigorous component and raw material testing, environmental chamber testing, pre and post-production testing and a centralized quality monitoring system. Clover Imaging Group’s (CIG) laser cartridges provide the same quality and performance as the OEM brands and are fully IP cleared. Backed by a 100% performance guarantee, it’s the easy way to lower your printing costs today.



Generic or Compatible Toner Cartridges

UPDATE: Thursday, June 15, 2023
The US has banned all imports of Chinese Ninestar Corp due to human rights violations in China. Ninestar Corp is the fourth largest manufacturer if laser printers in the world, owning major brands such as Lexmark, Static Control, G&G and Pantum. These companies (excluding Lexmark) are producers of cheap generic/compatible toner cartridges. More proof that profit is more important than environmental impact and human rights to these producers of inferior print supplies. Hopefully the Canadian government will soon follow suit and enforce an import ban as the Canadian market it flooded with rebranded  Ninestar products. 

According to Reuters, U.N. experts and rights groups estimate that over a million people, mainly Uyghurs and Muslim minorities, have been detained in camps in China’s western Xinjiang region in recent years, with many saying they were subject to ideological training and abuse.

The full article can be read here

These cartridges are reproductions of original toner cartridges. They are cheap but have many quality issues. Some may work but many generic cartridge will not provide you with consistent print quality throughout its cycle. The reason being that inferior parts are used during the manufacturing process to lower costs. The race to be first-to-market with a new printer consumables does not allow for sufficient research and development let alone quality control by the producers of these generic cartridges. It is impossible to produce a compatible cartridge with OEM quality and reliability at such low price point. Many compatible cartridges violate intellectual property laws and are in fact illegal to sell.


The biggest reason to avoid generic or compatible cartridges is the fact that they are single-use items. Unlike original and remanufactured cartridges, generic cartridges cannot be remanufactured and usually end up in landfills. Compatible cartridges are unsustainable and extremely detrimental to our environment. Think plastic straws and shopping bags – just bigger. Much bigger.