Laser printer cartridge options

I use a Samsung ML1440 laser printer. It will need more toner soon. Options are 1)Samsung cartridge, about $150 2)Generic cartridge, about $60 and 3)re-fill, $20 and likely quite messy.

Am I risking anything by going with a generic cartridge?

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10 Responses to Laser printer cartridge options

  1. Mike Bellerue says:

    Generic are sometimes re-fills of used brand name. The danger here is that sometimes people don’t empty the waste toner bin inside the cartridge when they re-fill. Then you get a toner dump inside your printer.

    Refilling your own can be messy, but if you take the time to build up a system for doing so, it can safely save you a ton of money in the long run. Usually cartridges have a limited number of times they can realistically be refilled. We used HP 4250s and found that we could use an official cartridge and run it dry, and then refill it twice (emptying the waste bin each time) before it was no longer good.

  2. Mike Atkinson says:

    I’ve seen third-party cartridges work exceptionally well, and I’ve seen them work very poorly indeed. My impression has been that very common printers are more likely to have good third-party cartridges.

    If the company that makes them has been around for a while and has a good warranty, I would in your shoes experiment with their cartridge. If the warranty isn’t spelled out or the company looks like they would dry up and blow away if you asked for your money back, I would buy the Samsung cartridge or replace the printer with one that was cheaper to feed.

  3. Bruce says:

    $150 for a toner cartridge is cheap to feed. If you are mechanically inclined, it’s easy to add more toner. You could always buy the cheap one and if it doesn’t work well, replace it with the real thing.

  4. CarlS says:

    One year guarantee
    Every time I order, it arrives within 3 days. Never any complaints.

  5. LarryArnold says:

    First question is what you need out of the printer. Are you using it for file-quality drafts, general office correspondence, or something more production-for-the-client quality? I’m presuming you don’t use it to reproduce photos.

    There are two levels of generic. Places like Office Max have store brands that tend to be more reliable than true generic. Likewise two kinds of refill, buy toner and DIY, or find someplace that trades your old cartridges for refilled or refills while you shop.

    My wife and I use enough toner to shop for the two-units value pack and pay attention to sales.

    Weirdly enough, if you hit the right sale you can often get a new, comparable printer for less than a new drum for your old one, and sometimes less than a new toner cartridge.

      • freddyboomboom says:

        The Brother printers usually come with a limited life toner cartridge (around 100 or so pages worth), not a full life toner cartridge, so this is not really a viable solution.

        Like Lee below, I used to work on printers for a living, and have a generally poor opinion of re-manufactured toner cartridges. There are a few companies that do it well, but they are the exception.

        The Office Max or Office Depot branded toner cartridges are usually decent, and if they leak toner you can usually get an exchange.

        I recommend doing research on the company that re-manufactured the toner cartridge before buying it, if possible.

        If you get toner on your clothes, wash them in cold water. Heat can set the toner into the clothes.

        If you go with the OEM toner cartridge, try and get a high capacity version. You’ll get more prints out of it, and it’s usually cheaper per page than the lower capacity cartridge.

  6. "lee n. field" says:

    Go with a new cartridge from the manufacturer. I’ve seen too may times when a generic or refill has caused a problem.

    (yes, I am a tech.)

  7. Paul Koning says:

    I have never tried third party laser cartridges. But I once tried a third party ink cartridge for a Canon inkjet printer. The cartridge came from Pelican, a famous old European ink and pen maker, so I figured I’d be safe.

    It leaked all over my printer. It took me an hour or so to clean the printer well enough to be able to use it again.

    I’ll never used third party toner or ink again.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Get the real deal. I’ve had far too many problems with generics to ever use them again.

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