Why a Refilled Toner Cartridge Is a Bad Idea

A refilled cartridge is different from a remanufactured toner cartridge, a compatible toner cartridge, and a genuine toner cartridge. A genuine toner cartridge is manufactured by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and comes with fool proof quality guaranties and warranties.

The compatible toner cartridge is manufactured by third parties and may or may not come with guaranties and warranties. A remanufactured toner cartridge is made up of old toner cartridge parts that have been refurbished. Finally, a replenish cartridge is an old cartridge with new toner inside it.

The cost of each of these options is different. The most expensive are genuine cartridges, while the costs of others fall in the same range. The main reason why people consider refilled cartridges is that some service providers offer their refilling services at cheaper rates than every other option out there.

The Idea of Using a Refilled Cartridge

It’s a well – known fact that laser printers are more pocket friendly than inkjet cartridges. The reason for this isn’t that the initial cost of laser printers is lower than inkjet printers because it’s actually the other way round. Instead, the reason is the lower running cost of laser printers which is a result of more efficient laser toner cartridges.

While laser toner cartridges are more efficient and more cost effective overall, they are expensive too. To avoid this expense, many people put forth the idea of a replenish toner cartridge. Unless you have experience of using refilled laser cartridges, the idea that it may save you money will appeal to you.

However, as any expert will tell you, there are many reasons why using refilled laser cartridges isn’t a great idea. Let’s delve into why experts always denigrate the use of a refilled cartridge.

It’s A Financial Gamble to Use a Refilled Cartridge


The biggest argument in favour of using a refilled cartridge is financial. The argument is simply that a refilled laser cartridge is significantly cheaper than all other alternatives. However, this whole premise is flawed and limited.

The flaw is in the assumption that replenish laser cartridges will function to the best of their capability. This is rarely the case. In fact, research has shown that every replenish laser cartridge has a four in ten chance to not work.

In other words, refilled cartridges have a massive failure rate of 40 percent. And, that’s just the likelihood that your printer will reject the replenish laser cartridge. Dealing with problems after a printer has accepted a replenish laser cartridge is a completely different challenge altogether.

Refilled toner cartridges are known to make the user print the same thing more than once quite often. This usually happens because the quality of prints from a refilled laser cartridge will drop off and on.

A Refilled Cartridge Will Not Be Durable

This argument against using a refilled cartridge has been used by OEMs a lot. This is probably why there aren’t as many takers for this argument as there are for other arguments.

However, the logic behind this argument can’t really be denied. The argument is simple in nature. It says that no matter how well your replenish toner cartridge was refilled, at the end of the day, the only thing new in it is the toner.


A toner cartridge consists of multiple components. These components vary from one brand and cartridge model to another but there will always be multiple components. Now, when an empty toner cartridge is refilled with new toner, all its other components remain the same old components that were used earlier.

The problem with this is that OEMs typically manufacture their cartridges to be used for a predefined period of time or a certain amount of use. If the toner cartridge exceeds its limits, the chances of the refilled cartridge failing go up exponentially.

In comparison, refurbished toner cartridges are safer because during the refurbishing process old components are replaced with new ones. The really safe option if you want to save money, though, is compatible toner cartridges as all their components are brand new.

Printing Quality Usually Suffers With a Refilled Cartridge

refilled supplies

No printer owner who values print quality will ever choose to use a refilled toner cartridge. There’s just no point in relying on refilled laser cartridges to deliver good print quality.

Irrespective of who does the refilling or how well it is done, the print quality will never match up to new cartridges whether genuine or compatible.

There are multiple reasons for this but the core reason is simply that the quality of toner the refilling service providers tend to use is low. If they were to use high quality toner particles then their services wouldn’t be so cheap.

Streaking, smudging, fading, and other print quality related problems are very common with people who use replenish laser cartridges.

In fact, these print quality problems actually negate the cost benefits of refilled laser cartridges.

Look at it this way. If you don’t get the right print quality the first time, you’ll print the same thing again and again till you get the right result. If you have to print things three times, then doesn’t that render the cost effectiveness of a refilled toner cartridge moot?

A Poor Quality Refilled Cartridge Can Actually Damage Your Printer

There are more risks involved with using a refilled toner cartridge. The process of refilling a toner cartridge involves making the inside chamber accessible. Now, whether this is done through the injection process or the all-out dismantling process is irrelevant because the chamber is opened.

Once the process is complete, the chamber needs to be resealed. Where the reseal isn’t clean and proper, the refilled toner cartridge can actually end up release toner particles while it is installed inside your laser printer. These toner particles can easily start coating the components inside the printer.

At the end of the day, these deposits can damage the printer. In some cases, the damage can be irreversible as well.

A Refilled Toner Cartridge Is a Health Hazard


One of the strongest arguments in favour of using a refilled toner cartridge is that it is better for the environment.

The logic behind this supposition is that new laser cartridges are made from resources drawn from the environment while used laser cartridges are simply thrown into landfills.

Since most cartridges don’t decompose easily, the damage to the environment is incalculable. Refilling a toner cartridge means multiple things.

The first is that the used cartridge will not go to the landfill, the second is that since you’ll be using the same cartridge, one less new cartridge will need to be manufactured, and the third is that all the logistic drain on resources surrounding manufacturing and transport of cartridges will get reduced.

However, again the flaw in this supposition is that the refilled cartridge will work as expected. This is rarely the case as has already been explained above. So, when your replenish laser cartridge doesn’t work then you have to buy a new laser toner cartridge anyway.

Even if your refilled toner cartridge works, any reprints you need to make will cost energy consumption, paper wastage, and toner wastage. All the reprints will then add up to affect the environment in the same way that new toner cartridges do.

Thus, the idea that by using a replenish toner cartridge you’re helping the environment needs to be revisited and re-qualified.

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