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Original cartridges vs. compatible cartridges – what’s the difference?

By Paperstone on May 13, 2021 in Uncategorized

In today’s blog post we explore what compatible ink cartridges are and the pros and cons of using them.

What are the different types of cartridge?

  1. Compatible ink cartridges are made by a third party, rather than your printer manufacturer. They are made with brand new printing components eg print head, roller, etc. The outer cases and some other parts are often made by recycling old cartridges.
  2. Original ink cartridges are 100% new, branded eg HP, Canon, Epson, and are made by your printer’s manufacturer.

Benefits of using compatible ink cartridges?

  • Saving money – compatibles are almost always much cheaper. In fact in a 2021 report by Which? they found that some original ink cartridges cost more than a bottle of high end champagne.
  • Better for the environment – larger components are often recycled.
  • More prints – good compatibles can contain more ink so they go further if you print a lot.
  • Ideal for day-to-day printing – whilst still not as good as original cartridges (in our opinion) good compatibles produce a high level of print. We often suggest compatibles for internal documentation.
  • Paperstone fully guarantees all products we sell for peace of mind.

Benefits of using original ink cartridges?

  • Quality – you can produce the best quality print from your printer by using original cartridges.
  • Reliability – it is incredibly rare for original cartridges not to work compared to compatibles.
  • Print duration – images printed with original ink tend to be more fade-resistant.


Will my printer warranty be affected if I use compatible cartridges?

No. Manufacturers cannot stipulate which cartridges you have to use in your printer. They may have a preference (using their own brand) but they can’t force you to. They can’t hold back any warranty claims if you have been using compatible cartridges. Think of it like a car manufacturer that can’t make you use a certain brand of fuel, or a dishwasher manufacturer forcing you to use a specific brand of tablet. The cartridge ink doesn’t even come into contact with the printer it only touches the paper.

Why do manufacturers warn against using non-original cartridges?

Printer manufacturers want you to keep buying original-brand ink cartridges because most of their profit is generated from the sale of cartridges (for the sale of the printer). This is the reason that so many printers are offered at low prices despite the fact that manufacturers spend heavily on designing and manufacturing them. They make up the lost profit by selling their ink at a premium.

If you read the product description of any printer or go through an owner’s manual, you will find a section where the manufacturer asks you to avoid non-original ink cartridges. Some will claim that you will get the best quality print only with original cartridges; others will suggest that compatible inks can damage a printer or void the printer’s warranty (they can’t). One way or the other, it makes business sense for them to discourage you from getting cheap ink elsewhere.

If you want to save money, use compatibles, if you need more reliable print use originals.

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If you’re not sure or want to talk more about the pros and cons of compatible cartridges, call our expert printer supplies team on 0345 567 4000


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