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Genuine vs Compatible Cartridges. The Truth.


In the office world it’s the ultimate debate.

What’s better for your printer…original ink or compatible cartridges?!

It’s a complicated debate with comments and opinions based around quality, price and budgets, everyone can have an opinion.  But do they really know the facts?

Do actually they know what the differences are beyond quality and price? Would they be able to notice the difference if you were to do a blind test using the different cartridges? We doubt very much this would be the case However at Compatink we sell compatible ink, so some might say we would say that!

Today we have put our feelings put aside. We want all office managers and admin teams to be armed with the facts. The answers to the key questions you will most certainly be asked if you do change ink suppliers.

We’ve pulled together some handy information and tips to help you on your ink journey!

Starting at the beginning!

What actually is the difference?

The definition of a compatible cartridge – it’s a brand-new cartridge which has been produced/filled by a third party.  A third party which has no association or link to the numerous printer brands/manufacturers on the market.

An original cartridge however, is a brand-new ink or toner cartridge which has been produced by the actual printer manufacturer.

Original ink is also often produced using a formula in designed to protect and clean the print heads during use.  This  formula isn’t included in compatible ink. That’s not to say its bad. Compatibles just have to be used wisely.  For example, it’s recommended that if you do a lot of printing, you should use an original ink cartridge to every 3/4 compatible inks.

What about the price?

Here we come to the number one benefit of compatible cartridges. Compatible ink can be considerably cheaper to purchase.  One of the main reasons is that for original ink manufacturers, such as HP or Canon, have much bigger overheads. Unfortunately for you as the consumer means higher prices. This way they can not only recoup their costs but also make a profit. Also the manufacturers often build the printers and sell them at a loss. They then recoup this loss by selling the printer owner the company cartridges at higher prices. 

The good news is, compatible ink suppliers have no such overheads and pass these cost savings onto consumers. However, a word of caution. Be wary of those that offer HUGE discounts, because quality can be affected. always buy from a reputable supplier. Also be wary of those claiming unrealistic expectations for their cartridges. If you are a professional photographer for example, compatible cartridges are unlikely to be the right choice to print your photographs. No matter what the seller may try an

Machine performance

It’s often thought that compatible ink can be dangerous for printers and be the cause of the many faults and breakages.  However, (and again it does come down to buying from a quality supplier) such a claim quite simply, isn’t true.

Yes, printers break, however the likelihood of this happening due to using compatible ink is extremely slim.  It is much more likely any damage is caused by a fault with the printer itself. As long as you use the cartridge properly it should not cause any damage. Also it is illegal for a company to void any warranty for using a compatible cartridge so don’t worry. 

Is there a difference in print quality?

We could just answer this question with a resounding…no.  But we love an explanation.

Ok, so no there is no difference in the print quality when using an original ink compared to a compatible ink, but you don’t just have to take our word for it.  

Which? have also reported that when they carried out a survey with their 8,446 members the top five printer-ink brands were all third-party inks, with a difference in quality not being noticeable. 81% of people also reported having no issues with the cartridges at all. When they did it was usually an issue with the printer not recognising the cartridge. This is an issue with all cartridges and is only marginally more common with compatibles. 

Print Usage

If you do print large volumes of texts and documents, compatible ink will most certainly provide you with the most value for money. Those office budgets need to go as far as possible after all.  As not only is it cheaper to purchase but you will also find that compatibles contain more ink than originals when it comes to volumes. If you are an Office manager making this switch might be the best money saving decision you make all year. Lets face it this job is difficult enough without having to compare different types of inks. 

Making your budget when it comes to print costs go much further!

Remember it isn’t perfect for everything, such as photography as previously mentioned. But,  If you do your research and aren’t afraid to test out the products you could really make a difference to your budget.


All of the information above highlights the facts as well as the differences between compatible and original ink.  Hopefully it also helps to put to bed any myths about compatible ink.

What’s important and what we can’t stress enough is that when it comes down to quality, buying from a great and reputable third-party supplier is crucial.  Not only does it allow you to make sure that quality will not be affected but you can also rest assure that if there are any problems, these can be sorted asap.

At Compatink we’re all about the service!  We know the questions you and your team have, and we want to help provide you with the answers, putting your mind at rest and providing you with a quick ordering system as well as high quality ink at low prices.

If you are looking for high quality compatible ink for your office or home printer, why not give us a call today on 0113 873 0135 or visit our website for more information on just what Compatink can for you you!

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