Generic toner or original toner: which is better?


    It’s quite a dilemma, you know? It’s similar to making predictions during a game of Risk. If you’ve already suffered your fair share of trouble on the board and you’re an experienced printer owner, you already know what the answer is, and you’re ready to face the choice well aware of the suffering that might ensue. And suppose you’re an experienced printer owner. In that case, you also know how Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) sell printers at throwaway prices, making their profits by having the customer buy OEM original laser toner at insane prices.


    Before you bought that brand new laser printer, you probably never took seriously the people who complained about the cost of the original laser toner. You probably even saw them as grumpy people complaining about one little thing. Now you know.

    You know how best laser toners can be even more expensive than ink cartridges, and you’ve already ruled out those types of printers precisely because of the cost of the latter).

    You know what that means because you know that, liter for liter, the ink is more expensive than that high-end bottle of champagne you’re saving for a special occasion.

    You know all of these things, which is why you want to look into the prospect of using generic toner cartridges instead of genuine laser toner. But let’s start with the basics.

    What are generic toner cartridges, refilled toner cartridges, and what are original laser toners?

    Genuine laser toner is made by the company that makes the printers they fit into. In contrast, generic toner cartridges are toner cartridges that third-party manufacturers make for brand-name printers. One is of the same brand as the printer. The other is not but fits the model well. Generic toner cartridges are cartridges that are compatible with the brand of printer you are using. In other words, they are alternatives that you can choose from.

    Is generic laser toner, remanufactured, or refilled toner cartridges the same thing as genuine laser toner? No, they are not. 

    Toner Refill? Remanufactured Toner? New Build Compatible Toner? Which’s Best for You?

    A remanufactured toner cartridge is a recycled form of one that others have previously emptied. A refilled toner cartridge is the same toner cartridge that you opened, refilled with toner. 

    Generic toner cartridges, on the other hand, are manufactured from scratch and do not contain recycled parts. This is why they are considered to be of better quality than remanufactured or refilled toner cartridges. Generic toner cartridges are much better than remanufactured or refilled toner cartridges, and this is something to consider. The big question, however, persists: what wins between generic toner and original laser toner?

    Generic toner and original laser toner: where generics win

    The biggest and most important reason why the debate between generic toner and original laser toner has opened up is, of course, the cost. People are starting to consider generic toner cartridges because they are concerned that changing toner, which they will repeatedly need during the printer’s life, will drastically impact their finances.


    It’s no secret that generic toner cartridges are cheaper than original laser toner cartridges. However, the critical question here is: why?

    As mentioned earlier, printer manufacturers like Canon sell their printers at near cost as they will make up the loss when the user has to buy cartridges again and again. So, when you purchase the original laser toner, you are essentially paying for the printer you previously bought and the manufacturers’ profits.

    The cost of genuine toner cartridges has nothing to do with cost price or even supply and demand metrics. Instead, generic toner cartridge manufacturers price their cartridges to cover their costs and make small profits. This slight difference means that you can save up to 70% by purchasing generic toner cartridges.

    Generic toner vs. original toners: how original laser toner beats generics

    The arena in which original toner cartridges win the original vs. generic laser toner debate is quality. Manufacturers design original laser toner cartridges with the specific printer model in mind and the particular paper used.

    This means that original laser toners are finished to fit well on both the printer and the paper. The effect of this difference is best seen when it comes to high-quality printing. We find the best example when printing images or photographs.

    That said: the choice is yours.

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