Is Generic Ink As Good As The Brand Name?


Printer ink cartridges are one of the most expensive expenditures associated with owning a printer. Depending on the type of printer you get, buying a replacement ink cartridge can cost half the price of the printer itself. Because of this, you may want to go for generic ink cartridges to save money. But is it better to stick with the brand name and avoid cheap ink cartridges? The answer to this question is: it depends.

The question of cost vs. quality

HP ink cartridge

Without a doubt, you will pay far less for generic printer ink cartridges than you will pay for brand-name replacements. In most cases, you can save 15 percent when you buy a generic ink cartridge from an electronics store. However, when you shop online, you can save even more and pay between 50 and 70 percent less. While this may seem like a simple strategy for saving money, there is one important point to consider. That is the question of print quality.

Generic cartridges that take a unified approach to meet the needs of your office tend to perform worse than their branded counterparts. Usually the difference in quality is greater when using a generic cartridge to do high quality color print jobs such as photos or graphics – but the difference in quality is noticeable even when printing black and white text documents.

There is a higher rate of ink spill and blurring with generic branded ink cartridges than with more expensive, manufacturer-approved cartridges. If quality is not a concern and you mainly use your printer for quick and infrequent drafts between offices, using generic printer ink will likely suit your needs. However, if you are using your printer for professional purposes and you need the best quality possible, or if your office environment produces a high volume of print jobs, it is highly advisable to follow the printer manufacturer’s recommendations.

Using Generic Ink will void the printer warranty?

Generic ink cartridge

Generic ink cartridge

In a word, no. One of the concerns that many people have about using inkjet printer inks is that it will void their printer’s warranty. But in the language of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a manufacturer cannot require you to use a particular brand of replacement accessory as a condition of your warranty.

You just need to be sure that the replacement part (in this case the printer ink cartridge) is intended for your specific printer make and model. In other words, if you install the wrong one Type If you have an ink cartridge in your printer and you damage it, all bets are ruled out. If it can be demonstrated that your printer was damaged by using a third-party ink cartridge, the manufacturer could use this to void your warranty. So check your warranty records before switching to generic ink cartridges.

Of bells, whistles and error messages

Although printer manufacturers are legally required to meet your warranties if you choose to use a different brand of replacement cartridge, there’s nothing to say that they can’t put in a few bells and whistles to remind you that you don’t have one officially sanctioned accessories. There have even been reports of printers not working with generic cartridges, but most of the time all you get is an on-screen error message asking you to confirm that you are aware that you are using a third-party replacement.

Because generic print cartridges are not always compatible with the printer’s built-in software, it may not be possible to accurately display your ink levels. Keep this in mind if you often rely on your software to tell you when it is time to replace the ink in your printer. Otherwise, you’ll have to find out the hard way.

DRM for substitute Cartridges?

According to a Wired Early last year, HP introduced a DRM (Digital Rights Management) firmware update that would make it impossible for users to install generic print cartridges in their printers. Although this was later “taken back” by HP due to public demand, it is still an indication of where printer manufacturers might go in the future to discourage users from using generic branded ink cartridges to save money. Read: Buyers, Attention.

The last word

As with most technological things, quality and performance are largely determined by how something is used. Before you permanently swear by generic cartridges for the manufacturer-recommended replacement, be sure to run some tests of your own to compare performance. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of generic ink cartridges, you may conclude that spending a few extra dollars on the brand name is better than getting an inferior end result.

Always do research on the manufacturer of a generic ink cartridge before buying and pay attention to buyers’ reviews. Stick to outfits that have been around for at least a couple of years. When doing your research, always look for signs that the cartridge you are looking for is compatible with the specific make and model of your printer.

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