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OEM Toners and Compatible Toner: Know the Difference


The market offers two types of toners; the OEM toner, and compatible toner. Both options are functional; however, the difference comes with the cost, quality, eco-friendliness, and the lifespan.

If you are like most people, you rarely think about your printer, not unless it breaks down, or runs out of toner, then the only thing that’s stuck in your mind is getting the toner. It might sound easy at first, since all you need to do is purchase a toner, and do the replacement. However, that’s not always the case, because toners are a bit more complicated. They come in two different options, the original and generic version. Each presents their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. So which one do you settle for? Before we answer that question, let’s define what a toner is.

What’s a toner?

A toner is a mixture of powders utilised in printers to form the printed images and text on paper, through a toner cartridge. Laser toner cartridges used in coloured printers feature a range of colours, including cyan, black magenta, and Yellow, which can blend to form a variety of other colours.

Many people assume that toner and ink are similar; however, the two vary a great deal. Though they serve the same purpose, their functionality and makeup are different. Toner is powder that depends on a fuser and static electricity to print onto paper, whereas ink is liquid and is sprayed on the paper.

Knowing the difference between OEM and Compatible Toner

Toners are not created equal, some are superior to others; and just like many other goods on the market, you have to pick between OEM and their generic alternatives. If you need a toner for your Brother printer, for instance, you may have to decide whether you’ll choose the Brother DCP 9020Cdw toner or a compatible version of the same.

OEM toner

Original Equipment Toner (OEM), is a toner that’s produced by the company that built the printer. For instance, if you’re using a Brother printer, the OEM toner would also be manufactured by Brother, like the Brother DCP 9020Cdw toner. The compatible will be built by a third party to work in the given printer. These are often cheaper and still of high quality.

Generic toner

The generic or compatible toner is a replica option to the original one. They are manufactured by third-party manufacturers.

Difference in price

In general, you’ll realise that OEM toners are pricier than their generic alternative, which always has a lower price tag. You get to save a lot on initial purchase price if you buy the generic toner than you would buying an OEM one.

Print quality

Both the original and the compatible options offer high quality prints. Both in images and texts. In many tests the generic third party version has equalled or even produced better prints than the original. Even if the quality is slightly lower the vast majority of consumers don’t really notice this difference. This makes the saving in cost almost always worth it.

Which toner is the best?

Both of the different cartridges have their advantages and draw backs. Most offices and home printers will use their printer for basic document printing. The compatible cartridges are more than capable of producing excellent prints time and again for this task and you will save a huge amount of money by using these cartridges. If you need to have the highest quality prints, OEM is the way to go.

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