Compatible Consumables – A False Economy
When you look to purchase a new printer there are several things to take in to account.
Firstly you want to make sure it meets your requirements with regards to speed and quality. Secondly, does it have all the features you require – print only or do you need to scan or copy? Finally, what’s the cost of running the printer over it’s 3 – 5 year lifetime?
We’ll have a separate article on choosing your printer very shortly but that last point about running costs can be easily overlooked. Many people will look at the initial cost of the machine and not the ongoing costs of consumables.
Because of this, they often revert to using the cheaper compatible or refilled cartridges to keep running costs down. However, using these will normally prove a false economy.
Printer manufacturers spend a large amount of money in research and development of their products. That’s not just the hardware side of things but the whole package including inks, toners and the consumables hardware. This is because it takes the whole package to produce the best finish.
If you use compatible toners or inks (or refills) then the toner or ink is produced by a third party and will generally be universal for all the consumables they sell. This will mean that you won’t get the best finish on your documents and may actually cause damage to your printer.
If you have an inkjet printer, the manufacturer will produce the ink at the correct viscosity for that particular printer, taking into account the minute outlets for the drops of ink to feed through. Too thick and the tubes and printheads will clog up, too runny and you will get washed out and smudged prints. In addition, compatibles may not offer the same fade, smudge and water resistance as the originals.
For toner printers, the toner is sealed to the media by heat as it passes through the fuser. If the toner is not engineered to fuse at exactly the right temperature you will get smudged, faded or blotchy prints. Toner powder is made up of very fine particles. The genuine manufacturer’s toner is of a high quality and the individual particles are round. Cheaper compatible toner particles have been shown to be jagged or square which, over time, can cause damage to the printer components such as belts and fusers.
For both toners and inks, you also can have issues with differences in colours, which can cause issues as your prints are made up of layering precise quantities of Black, Cyan, Yellow and Magenta to build up your prints.
Finally, the outer casings of the cartridges are often of a poorer quality. This can lead to poor fitting and issues with sensors within the printer, damage to other components and toner or ink spilling into the machine.
So, before looking at the cheapest option when purchasing your consumables consider the quality of your prints and the welfare of your printer hardware. You will always get the best results with the complete original equipment manufacturers package. If you want to manage your print costs, look at a managed print contract, where you pay a fixed monthly fee for your consumables and service based on a 3 year contract and the average number of prints you produce per month.
ACS Technologies only sell genuine manufacturers consumables but our pricing is competitive. If you would like a quotation for consumables for your current printer fleet, please contact us. We can also provide managed print contracts with new printers from most manufacturers.