Laser Toner Cartridges:Your Questions Answered

Published: 13th August 2007
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Long an essential tool for businesses, laser printers are becoming more and more popular with home users because of their speed, accuracy and precision. Laser printers are increasingly affordable, too. If you're contemplating buying a laser printer, here are the answers to the common questions about the all-important subject of laser toner cartridges.



How Long Do Laser Toner Cartridges Last?

Laser printer toner cartridge life is measured in terms of yield. This measurement has two numbers, the first is the number of pages that can be printed with that cartridge. The second is a percentage which refers to the ratio of the page that is printed on. For example, a yield of "35000 pages, 5%", indicates that the cartridge will print 3500 average quality pages with text that covers five percent of each page.

One good thing about laser printers is that not using the machine doesn't result in reduced cartridge life. This is because laser toner is powder. So unlike the liquid ink in inkjet cartridges, it doesn't dry up if unused for a long time.



What Are My Options For Replacement Cartridges?

Your first option is to get what are called OEM cartridges. These are made by the printer manufacturer and tend to be very expensive. This is because the printers themselves are sold as loss leaders. So the manufacturers need to make up their profit on the sale of replacement toner cartridges. With your laser printer having a life of around five years, you'll probably spend up to seven times the cost of the unit on replacement OEM cartridges.

An alternative is to get what are called "compatible cartridges". These are new toner cartridges but manufactured by a third party. As they are made to the specification of the manufacturer, the quality is generally very high, especially with the application of ISO 9001 in recent years. However, they are much cheaper. The price of these compatible cartridges are usually less than half that the OEM item. These are your best option.

You can also find what are called remanufactured cartridges. These are different from compatible cartridges in that they are used OEM cartridges that have been refilled. Good remanufactured cartridges consist of more than simply filling a used cartridge with ink or toner, though. Reputable manufacturers also clean and quality check the cartridges, too.

One good thing about remanufactured laser toner cartridges is that they're environmentally-friendly. Just think, UK users alone throw away over two million printer cartridges each year. In fact, many organizations now pay you for returning used laser cartridges.



Where's The Best Place To Buy Replacement Cartridges?

You have a number of options here. Your high street discount chain will have a wide selection but prices tend to be very high. Likewise for the office supply chains. Then there's ordering from an online supplier which offers many benefits. For one thing, as these online dealers don't have the expense of maintaining a shop or showroom, they can offer you very attractive prices.
(Better still, they're not caught in the loss leader trap so they don't need to mark up their prices so much). What's more, reputable suppliers will have online catalogues so you can browse conveniently and order from the comfort of your home. Plus, delivery is very fast. Orders are usually shipped within 48 hours.

But not all online suppliers are created equal so there are a number of caveats. Firstly, you should be wary of companies that offer their laser toner cartridges at well below market prices. Check, too, to make sure that the supplier guarantees that their compatible cartridges match the life and print quality of the OEM items.

Laser printing is becoming increasingly popular and by judicious shopping you can make it very affordable. By shopping online for your laser toner cartridges, you can get the fastest, quality printing done at prices that don't break the bank.

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