From looking at my keyword search logs, I’m finding more and more people interested in a technician’s secret for toner. I’m not sure if it’s regarding whether or not to refill toner, if remanufactured toner is ok to use in a printer, or if printer techs like me have dirty secrets to unveil. So for this post, I’ll answer some of the most common questions I get asked about toner cartridges. If you have questions about toner and/or cartridges, please feel free to comment on this post or submit a question.
Q: Does using remanufactured toner cartridges void my HP/Toshiba/Brother warranty on my printer?
A: The Sherman and Clayton Anti-Trust Acts of 1914 prohibit a manufacture to void the warranty on a product they sell because you don’t use their specific, brand name, over priced, high margin product. As an example, when you need an oil change, getting your car serviced at the dealership is generally a little more money. Going to a local shop can save you money, but it doesn’t void your car’s warranty. This same principle is applied to cartridges (and ink too). You’re welcome to use any toner cartridges you wish and it will not void your warranty unless damage to the printer is caused by the use of a bad cartridge or remanufactured cartridge. This is usually a rare occurrence though. Out of the many years I’ve spent working on printers, I’ve never seen a warranty issue be rejected due to not using OEM (original equipment manufacturer) toner.
Q: What is the difference between remanufactured and refurbished toner?
A: Marketing mainly. There is no set standard for “remanufactured” or “refurbished”. Most retailers of aftermarket toner will tell you that their toner is remanufactured meaning that more went into manufacturing the toner cartridge then just filling it with toner. Essentially both names mean the same thing though. Sometimes techs will call the toner “remans” or “refurbs”, but it really comes down to the company that you purchase through. Don’t pay attention to what they say their cartridges are, look for yourself or ask good questions to find the right cartridge.
Q: Can I just refill my toner cartridge and be ok?
A: That’s a tough question to answer depending on what type of cartridge you have. It would be safe to say that the bigger the cartridge, the more likely you will need to exchange or buy a new cartridge. This is mainly due to two parts, the drum and the PCR. Both of these parts will wear out before the toner runs out which causes you to buy a new cartridge anyway. Toner generally does not work like ink cartridges. Ink cartridges generally have a print head inside the printer which makes it possible to just fill up the ink and get by ok. Toner cartridges have a lot more parts to them and generally can’t be “filled” without future issues.
Q: Is remanufactured color toner cartridges just the same as black and white cartridges?
A: Not really. I’ve had a lot more problems with the color cartridges being “off color” and leaking to really not make it worth selling or supporting these. There are a few models that look ok, but they are the minority. This is a reason why color is so much more than black and white.