Common Myths about Generic Printer Cartridges

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The number of myths floating around about printer cartridges is nothing short of amazing. I cannot believe the rubbish that people come out with and it's often fuelled by the retailers of brand name products.

Of course the large OEM brand name companies want you to buy their over inflated products and what better way is there to achieve this than by rubbishing the aftermarket products.

Lets take a look at the most common myths about printer cartridges and clear up some of this nonsense that I hear so often that "non genuine cartridges will some how destroy your printer".

Before we get started I will let you know that I have been in this industry since 2007 and I have sold millions, that's right "Millions" of non genuine printer cartridges to folks Australia wide. During this time I can never recall a customer blaming their printers demise on our cartridges. If that alone doesnt put your mind at rest then please stay with me as I clarify a few things that may help to put your mind at rest.

One thing that I wish to make perfectly clear is that all generic cartridges are not the same. There is a huge variation in quality between various brands of compatible cartridges and if you use anything other than a high quality generic cartridge then your printer may be at risk. Anyone who has dealt with us or has read our previous articles will already know all about our journey to find the best quality cartridges on the market.

Once again I cant stress enough that before you make a purchase check the retailers Google Reviews. These are the only ones I fully trust as they cannot be manipulated. If a company has no Google reviews then avoid it like the plague. Okay so enough rambling, lets take a look at some of the most common myths about non genuine printer cartridges.

My Generic Printer Cartridges dried up

Ohhh this one makes me mad. The only time that a printer cartridge could dry up is if it is in warm conditions and the ink is a very low grade, poor quality ink. I must admit that the chemical structure of some of the very low grade cartridges can cause them to dry up however a good generic ink will take years to dry or congeal unles it is thinly spat onto paper.

Often people mistake a printer not printing as a dried up cartridge when perhaps 95% of the time it is the ink sitting in the printhead itself that has actually dried and because the nozzles are finer that human hairs then no ink comes out when printing.

At our office (Ink Hub) we experimented a great deal with printhead cleaning fluids to see how effective they were. As part of our testing we actually opened a few of our cartridges and poured ink into a plastic container and put it in the sun to dry. After 2 weeks in the sun it still hadn't congealed so I got frustrated and binned it. Properly formulated ink will only dry when small amounts are spat onto paper and if correctly formulated will take years to dry inside of a cartridge where minimal oxygen is present.

Generic cartridges wont work in my printer

Yeh whatever! I have heard this from so many people that I've lost count. There are literally dozens of reasons why your generic cartridges didn't work. Did you buy them on Ebay and they were region locked to a different zone? Unless you buy "Oceania" region cartridges then your printer will not recognise them.

Is the microchip on the cartridge the very latest update? If it isnt then once again the printer will not recognise them. Is the chip on the cartridge sitting in exactly the correct position? Once again I have tested low grade generic cartridges that have had badly aligned chips or even plastic protrusions which stop the chip from contacting the printer terminals. Is the cartridge so badly constructed that once again the chip is not making contact with the printer terminals.

These are a few of the most common problems which stop printer cartridges from being accepted by the printer. Now lets take a look at what can stop the cartridge from actually printing. Okay so weve installed the cartridge without any error messages but when I print nothing comes out onto the page.

The most common cause of this problem is a clogged printhead. Often this occurs immediately after replacing the cartridges and the poor old cartridge instantly gets the blame. Once again this problem can be caused by a poorly made cartridge that isnt breathing correctly. In other words due to a poor design the ink remains almost vacuum sealed within the cartridge and the printer literally cant suck it out. 

Let me tell you that there is NO printer (made in Australia) that will not work using a high quality generic cartridge. As long as the above criteria are met then your printer WILL work perfectly with non genuine inks.

Generic inks will damage my printer

Once again this will not happen providing you use a quality generic cartridge. If you dont use a quality cartridge then they just may damage your printer. The ink may leak out into the printer and cause all sorts of issues, poorly molded cartridges may break or jam inside the printer or low grade ink may quickly clog the printhead.

With some of the more hi tech inkjet printers such as the Canon Maxify range it is crucial that a high quality generic cartridge is used. The maxify printers utilise a printhead protection system so if the cartridges are not breathing correctly or they dont seal correctly against the ink inlet valves then the printer may lock up.

When the printers lock up then it can take a bit of messing around to unlock them. If a good quality cartridge is used then this problem will not occur.

My Printer Warranty will be voided

Another annoying statement I hear from people which is totally false. I dont care what the trained Monkey at the shop told you as this is NOT TRUE. If you are really worried about this and believe that its true then spend hundreds of dollars extra each year so that your $69-00 printer warranty isn't voided.

I really dont get this mentallity and I believe that the printer companies have done an amazing job at putting fear into consumers so that they wouldnt dare use anything but a super expensive, brand name cartridge.

Under Australian law, consumers are protected by a number of statutory guarantees. These are set out by the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. It is illegal for a printer manufacturer to force you, as a consumer, to use a particular brand of cartridge or paper in your printer. For further details regarding Printer Warranties and Generic cartridges please read the following article.

I tried compatible cartridges before and they didn't work

Yeh Yeh, once again I've heard it dozens of times before in fact years ago I experienced the same problem. Once again let me state that non genuine cartridges are not all the same and also that the quality of them has improved immensely in the past few years.

The number of customers I have spoken to over the years who were hesitant to try them and were then pleasantly suprised when they actually worked and worked well. A large majority of them were ones that were burnt in the past by low grade, cheap rubbish cartridges that actually did damage their printers, leaked or simply wouldnt work at all.

As I stated previously dont expect to buy a two dollar compatible cartridge from eBay or Amazon and not expect problems. At Ink Hub 98% of our sales are generic cartridges and if they werent good we would not still be in business and going strong after 11 years online.

The page yield is lower on compatibles

Once again this is far from the truth as pretty much all non genuine cartridges contain at least the equivelant amount of ink or toner powder as the genuine OEM cartridges. In many cases the generic cartridge actually contains considerably more ink than the OEM product which results in a far greater page yield.

Often people will install a new set of cartridges and then if there is a print quality issue they will do several printhead cleans or maintenance cycles. This actually chews up more ink than any other procedure as it puts the printer into it's highest print resolution mode and forces a massive load of ink through the printhead and into the wastepad.

As a rule generic toners, which use a powder rather than ink have exactly the same amount of powder as their equivelant OEM cartridge. If a low grade toner is used or the printer is exposed to high humidity then the powder can clump and not produce the full page yield that is quoted. This is not a common occurence however it can be a reason for a lower than expected page yield. In cases like this the toner can simply be removed and given a gentle shake to redistribute the toner powder.

The print quality is poor

Once again another myth. We have had countless customers tell us that there is no difference whatsoever between the brand name inks and the generic ones in regards to print quality. We have done quite a number of tests over the years and the print quality for photos has always been equal to the more expensive brand name inks.

The only difference that we have found in all honesty is that the genuine ink holds up better long term under harsh UV conditions. In normal home situations the generic ink photos will remain unchanged for many years, if however they are near a sunny window or anywhere exposed to large amounts of sunlight then they will fade faster than a brand name ink. This is the only difference that I have observed over the years of testing and for the majority of people it is not an issue.

I also recommend that you use generic photo paper when printing with non genuine inks. Reason being that brand name papers are specifically made to enhance the quality of their own ink (as you would expect). If you are a photographer selling prints then perhaps the brand name inks are the best alternative for you.

The failure rate of compatible inks is higher

To be honest, overall generic inks probably do have a higher failure rate than the brand name cartridges. This is due to the fact that there is still a huge amount of low grade, rubbish cartridges out there being sold from websites and even in stores.

We have found over the past 11 years that our generic cartridges are equally as reliable as any of the OEM or genuine, brand name cartridges. In the past few years the compatible cartridges have become even more reliable as manufacturers strive to win their market share.

Our generic cartridge range has an extremely low return rate, in fact it is very seldom that an issue ever occurs that is actually a cartridge problem. Toner cartridges on the other hand have a slightly higher failure rate as they are far more complex than a simple ink cartridge.

Generic Toner Cartridge failure rates are still extremely low ( In the vacinity of 0.5% on average) which is comparable to the genuine brand name toners.

Generic ink will block my printhead

Once again this depends upon where you purchase your ink from. As to be expected a cheap, poor quality ink will tend to clog the very fine printer nozzles on your printer faster than a quality ink would. What happens is the excess ink on the surface of the printhead congeals or dries due to it's exposure to air.

As it dries the very small print nozzles (which are finer than human hairs) become clogged and then your printouts end up with lines through them or at worse nothing at all comes out. As stated before there are several reasons for this occuring such as irregular printing or printing untill the ink completley runs out however low grade ink will increase the chances of this occuring.

A high grade generic ink is formulated to not congeal or dry up unless it is very finely spat onto paper. It is completely false to say that a high quality generic ink will clog your printhead any faster than a brand name ink. I guess what I want to keep re enforcing is that there is A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN QUALITY BETWEEN VARIOUS GENERIC INKS !

Generic inks are so cheap they cant be any good !

Okay so here's the actual truth, are you ready for it? Genuine OEM cartridges are usually manufactured by the SAME companies that make generic cartridges. That is a fact, 100% truth. I'll be honest, the actuall ink used in a genuine cartridge is usually oil based. This is the main difference between them and generics. Generic inks are usually water based however they still use a combination of the same pigments and dyes to reproduce the vivid colours often seen in photos etc.

 The big difference usually with a geunine OEM product is the pretty box with the gold or silver writing and the beautiful glossy shiny graphics. Combine this with a more fancy array of stickers on the actual cartridge itself and hey there is no comparison. Seriously though, all jokes aside the genuine product looks 100 times prettier, both the package and the actual cartridges however is all that worth the extra bucks? You must decide. Based on our sales figures not too many people these days are falling for the shiny packaging and as economical times get tougher more and more consumers are turning to the compatible products.

With a 60 Day Money Back Guarantee on all of our Generic cartridges there is no reason to not give them a try. Over the years we have convinced even the most die hard OEM users and they have been pleasantly surprised. For more information on the use of compatible printer cartridges give Ink Hub a call. Office: (08) 7324 3065 or Mob: 0408 691 299 

Last update: Jul 07, 2018

Dean Michael

Owner of Ink Hub Australia Dean has been in the printer consumables industry since early 2007. In a competitive field such as print consumables many companies have come and gone but Ink Hub continues to grow and provide quality products and service. Dean's hobbies include fishing, web design, ham radio, travel, the beach, fast cars and family.