Will there be a noticeable difference in the quality of print if I use compatible rather than original brand ink cartridges?

As more people make the switch to compatible ink cartridges the question arises from those yet to be converted, will the quality of my print suffer? The simple answer is that for everyday general-purpose printing, no. By general purpose printing I mean, reports, letters, accounts, daily print outs such as menus etc, in fact anything that does not involve printing photographic.

Most of us use the printer for projects at home such as our children’s school assignments or projects and the printing of the occasional boarding pass when we are fortunate enough to get away on holiday. Somehow though the ink can still disappear (even though many I the household deny using the printer) and before we know it we are forking out a fortune for replacement ink cartridges. The difference in the cost of the original brand ink cartridge and the compatible version can be as much as 70% – 100%.

The price difference is too great to be ignored and providing the compatible or remanufactured version of the cartridge is of good quality and reliable then there’s no reason not to make the switch. The only difference in quality that independent tests have found between the compatible ink cartridge and original brand is in the life of the colour. To test this theory in detail we would need to make an experiment using a set of compatible and original brand printer inks.

Firstly we would print an image on a high quality glossy photographic paper and then repeat the process only this time with compatible inks in the printer. Initially there may be no noticeable difference in the quality (assuming the printer has been correctly calibrated after inserting both sets of inks), and then we must store the prints from two to five years to see if the difference in quality reveals itself after a period of time. It’s quite likely that the pigments in the ink from the compatible ink cartridges will begin to deteriorate after a period of time whereas the original brand cartridges will not. Considering this is possibly the most likely difference we can experience then I think it’s safe to say we can convert to compatible ink.

As a footnote, it’s worth remembering that the ink within the compatible cartridge does not contain the component that prevents the ink from drying out in the ink tank and may be prone to drying out if not used on a regular basis. The ink on the print head may also dry out but this can be cleared by performing a head cleaning procedure through the PC or on the printer itself, depending on the model.