Remanufactured Ink Cartridges – The Ultimate Guide & Everything You Need to Know

remanufactured ink cartridges ultimate guide

When buying a printer or printer ink, brand name models tend to attract the most attention. While many high-quality brands can create and offer good products, some original cartridges by well-known brand names don’t last as often as they should, and ink levels can run dry too soon. Buying remanufactured products can be a better investment, as they can last the same amount or longer and cost substantially less. 

When selecting an ink or toner printer cartridge, a brand can play a significant role in your decision, but print quality, page yield, and the remanufacturing processes are what really matter. Remanufactured cartridges may not sound as enticing as the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) cartridges but can often be just as good, or better. There are a few things to consider to make sure you get quality tested aftermarket products.

Remanufactured Ink Cartridges

When remanufactured ink cartridges first appeared, there were issues with quality, as not all were manufactured using advanced techniques which preserve the print quality. Drill-and-fill techniques produce inferior quality inks have since been replaced with modern standards to produce remanufactured ink cartridges that last. 

Replacing cheap refilled ink cartridges with aftermarket products, which last long and provide good quality printing, has given remanufactured ink cartridges a strong opportunity to change general opinions. With some simple research, you can find an aftermarket remanufactured ink cartridge that is good quality and more affordable. 

remanufactured ink cartridges graphic

Remanufactured ink cartridges are professionally cleaned and refilled with high-quality ink, tested to ensure performance comparable to brand name cartridges. Often, the cartridges being refilled come from large-scale community recycling programs, explicitly aimed at this purpose. Big printer brands can spend a lot of money on the research and design of their cartridges which contributes to its higher price tag. 

Quality ink is a comparable cost for both OEM and aftermarket manufacturers, so filling brand name cartridges with ink can result in the same quality product. By using the original parts of the cartridge and quality ink, ink cartridge remanufacturers can bring a high-quality product to the consumer at a lower price. 

Ink and Toner Cartridges Remanufacturing

For a company to produce remanufactured ink cartridges, the original printer brand’s cartridges must have been around for a few years to allow a recycling revolution to occur. Once such cartridges are recycled and collected by the remanufacturer, they are stored by part in a cool environment to prevent them from drying out. 

The cartridges are tested for quality by professionals. This involves first a visual inspection then an electrical test. All ink is then emptied from the cartridge, and it is thoroughly cleaned and dried using a high-power cleaning system. 

Specially built ink filling machines then fill each cartridge exactly to the brand’s original specifications. To ensure a quality product, the type of ink used mimics the original brand’s formula as close as possible, without violating any copyrights. 

Once the ink is filled, cartridges are checked for pressure and leakage. Next, cartridges are tested for page yield and print quality according to the original equipment manufacturer specifications. This test is usually done using at least three different printers that print five test pages in order, followed by a diagnostic page. This determines if the cartridge has passed the test. If it does, it is cleaned once more, heat-sealed in an airtight bag, and boxed for shipment. 

concept ink coming from print cartridges

Green Printing

As more businesses look to eco-friendly practices, they sometimes overlook the importance of recycling and using remanufactured ink cartridges. While cutting back on the use of paper is an obvious goal, ink usage is just as important. 

Many businesses are turning to green printing, where they use renewable resources such as recycled paper, remanufactured ink cartridges, and power-saving printers to cut down on their carbon footprint. 

Using high-quality remanufactured ink cartridges helps protect the environment by reusing fewer plastic products. Each year, millions of printer cartridges are used and thrown away in landfills, yet only a small percentage of them are recycled. These cartridges contain chemicals that can be harmful to the environment and could leak into soil and water. 

As plastic can take hundreds of years to decompose, using a product that is made with recycled materials can help reduce unnecessary waste. Purchasing recycled products at a lower cost that provides the same quality as name brand alternatives can be beneficial to your wallet, as well as the environment.

replacing print cartridge in printer

Compatibility, Quality, and Reliability

When it comes to purchasing an OEM or a remanufactured ink cartridge brand, the most important factors for most people is ensuring they find something compatible with their printer model, using cartridges that provide high-quality prints and relying on consistent use of their printer. Perhaps more than anything, using cartridges compatible with your printer is the most critical aspect when buying a new product.

As high-quality remanufactured ink cartridges reuse OEM parts, compatibility can easily be determined. You are buying a product designed specifically to work with your printer. The only thing that is different is the refilled ink. While not all remanufactures use original parts, the best remanufactured ink cartridges are meant to fit your specific printer. 

Compatible cartridges are brand-new cartridges built by a third-party manufacturer to emulate the functioning of the OEM cartridge. Compatible cartridges are designed slightly differently to establish themselves as a separate product, but still fit in your machine and produce the same quality prints as the OEM cartridge. 

compatible cartridges design graphic

While these types of cartridges are at a substantially lower price than their OEM alternatives, often, the same amount of research and ingenuity has not been put into them. When deciding between a remanufactured ink cartridge and a compatible cartridge, buying a remanufactured one is often recommended.

When it comes to quality, most OEM, remanufactured, and compatible cartridges hold up to the standards of most users. This is because all these cartridges are subject to page and quality tests and must reach a certain value to be sold. They all have to pass the same tests. This eliminates subpar cartridges from being marketed in the same way as either OEM cartridges or high-quality remanufactured ink or compatible cartridges. 

A great way to check if your remanufactured ink cartridge is good quality is to compare its test results to the name brands comparable cartridge. Another way is to look for and read other people’s reviews about the product. 

As with quality, when it comes to reliability, doing a little research is recommended. Many aftermarket ink cartridges are not produced within the United States, and because there is a lot of competition, products from secondary markets may be of lower quality. 

A good rule to remember is the lower the cost of the cartridge, the lower the quality of the ink and prints. If your printing needs are constant, and you need to print multiple pages throughout the day, it is vital to make sure you have a print cartridge that works well all the time. 

Look to high-quality remanufactured ink cartridge producers to find something that can perform the way you need it to. It is recommended to buy something in the middle to ensure you get the best value. 


Will my printer’s warranty still be valid if I use remanufactured ink cartridges?

This is one of the primary concerns among users interested in switching to remanufactured ink cartridges. You spent a lot of money on your printer, and you want to make sure that it can be fixed if something happens. 

Using a remanufactured ink cartridge does not void your warranty. In fact, manufacturers are not allowed to force you to buy their cartridge, and you have the right to choose. They are prohibited from denying you a refund or maintenance service on your product because you used a remanufactured ink cartridge.

variety of cmyk print cartridges

Will the remanufactured ink cartridges be as reliable as the original name-brand cartridges? 

This can vary from brand to brand. As with other products, the seller and their manufacturing techniques determine the quality and reliability of the product. 

If you are unfamiliar with a brand name, it is helpful to look for reviews, either directly on their site, or other sites where their products are sold. If you cannot find suitable enough reviews on a specific item, check for similar items or other products that brand sells.

Will remanufactured ink cartridges produce the same page yield as name brand models?

Remanufactured ink cartridges are using ISO/IEC 24712 standards, which measure page yield. Original equipment manufacturers and aftermarket manufacturers use the same standard, so products that pass this test produce the same page yield, regardless of what brand it is. 

All cartridges are tested on at least three printers that print five pages and a diagnostic report. This is the same test used on brand-new OEM printer cartridges.

Will I notice a difference in print quality between a name brand cartridge and an aftermarket cartridge?

Remanufactured ink cartridges are tested against print cartridges made by printer brands. High-quality remanufactured ink cartridges print just as well as OEM cartridges, but no method can ensure exact replication. Many aftermarket ink cartridge sellers may even post a side-by-side comparison of their product’s print quality versus the printer brands. 

Are remanufactured ink cartridges better than compatible cartridges?

As with most third-party products, the quality depends on the seller. Sellers making their own compatible cartridges have to follow and adhere to strict quality guidelines to ensure they produce a product that is reliable and compatible. However, remanufactured ink cartridges use original brand name cartridges that are proven to work with your printer.

Do remanufactured ink cartridges track ink and toner levels?

Remanufactured ink cartridges are made from original parts. If the original equipment could monitor ink or toner levels, the remanufactured cartridge can also track these levels. 

The best way to find this out ahead of time is to read the description on the seller’s website. Look for information about ink or toner levels. If you do not find it, that specific cartridge may be incapable of tracking levels.

buying remanufactured cartridge save money graphic

Will buying remanufactured ink cartridges save me money?

Yes, you can save a lot of money buying remanufactured ink cartridges. Some quality remanufactured ink cartridges can cost only a quarter of the price of the original equipment manufacturer cartridge. If you go through a few cartridges a month, this can mean a lot of savings for your annual budget. 

Can I find remanufactured ink cartridges for all printers and brands?

Remanufactured ink cartridges cannot be found for all printers and brands. Some printer brands take extra effort in their design to make sure their cartridges cannot be refilled, reused, and resold. If you are searching for a printer to buy and prefer to buy remanufactured ink, research remanufactured ink cartridges sites to make sure you can purchase aftermarket cartridges for that specific printer. 

The Takeaway

While the idea of buying an aftermarket printer cartridge may lead you to think they are of inferior quality, remanufactured ink cartridges can be just as good as their original equipment manufacturer counterpart. They also cost you a fraction of the price. 

group of different print cartridges

Yet, not all aftermarket products are created equal. There are several features, test results, and standards you can look out for to ensure you are buying a quality product. By checking print quality, page yield, and information on the seller’s website, you can find a lot about the product you are looking to buy.

High-quality remanufactured ink cartridges are a great innovation in the world of printing. Quality products can be recycled, refilled, and resold at a more affordable rate. While many people may still prefer to use original equipment manufacturer products, recent advances in technologies have rendered them almost the same in quality and a viable alternative to expensive name-brand cartridges. 

Learn more about how you can save money buying remanufactured ink cartridges or any of our other products by browsing our online inventory of ink and toner brands, exploring our blog and reviewing our ink and printing tips.