Consumables Evaluation Report: OKI vs Compatibles

The claim

Manufacturers always say that buying original consumables will give you the very best print quality and ongoing reliability. OKI Printing Solutions wanted to put some substance behind this claim so brought in Buyers Laboratory Inc. (BLI) to run a series of independent tests.

The independent evaluation

BLI conducted comparative tests of toner cartridges for use with the OKI C5900 colour LED printer. Cartridges tested included OKI’s own brand versus non-genuine consumables by MediaSciences, Katun, Xprint and Q Imaging. It should be noted that the non-genuine supplies in this particular evaluation are considered leaders in their field and there are many more non-genuine suppliers in the marketplace who fall far short of these.

Cartridge yield results

According to the report OKI’s original toner cartridges delivered a higher average toner yield than the competitor cartridges across the CMYK range. The only exception to this was XPrint’s black cartridge, which managed to print an extra 43 pages. However, the report revealed that this was the result of the cartridge being overfilled by 9%! Overfilling the cartridges may give rise to toner flow and clumping problems as well as placing excessive stress on moving parts, such as the drums.

Reliability results

When it comes to reliability OKI scored 100%. BLI noted several problems with the compatible cartridges, such as cartridge malfunctions, out-of-box failures, operation failures, toner leakage, drum and fuser flaws as well as printer malfunctions caused as a direct result of sub-standard cartridges. This limited test showed that Katun and Xprint had no apparent issues but Katun managed to refill the yellow cartridges with black toner and Xprint had a worrying variation in toner content levels suggesting a lack of credibility in consistency and quality control processes.

Print quality results

Print quality is where the compatibles really fell short. BLI found that using OKI’s original toner produced better halftones, clearer text reproduction and more detailed and realistic photographic prints across the board. BLI looked at the gamut produced from each consumable and reported that OKI’s original toner was the most accurate and could produce the widest range of colours. It’s no surprise since OKI’s original toner powder has been developed and formulated specifically for their own printer hardware and software utilisation, whereas manufacturers of compatible and remanufactured toner powders tend to use them across different models (and in some cases different brands of product).

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