Like any field, printing has its own obscure terminology that can be lost on those not in the industry. One term you have probably seen when shopping for printer toner is “compatible,” as in “compatible toner” or “compatible toner cartridge.” What does this mean, and how does it affect you and your business? We’ve assembled and answered a few of the most commonly asked questions about compatible toner to clear up any confusion.

What does “compatible” mean? Compatible toner is toner that is produced by a company other than the printer’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Also known as aftermarket cartridges, these third-party supplies are still designed to meet the specifications of the printer’s manufacturer.

Why are compatible toner cartridges better for me? OEM toner is great—you can feel confident about quality and know that it will work perfectly with your printer. But here’s some news that may surprise you: the same is true for compatible toner cartridges. In most cases, the only difference between a compatible and an EOM cartridge is the logo on the box and the amount of money you pay for it. Compatible toner cartridges cost less and let you stretch your print budget further.

Does using compatible toner invalidate my warranty? This is a common fear, but thanks to 1975’s Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act—an antitrust law—you’ve got nothing to worry about. Your printer’s warranty should remain intact even if you use a third-party toner cartridge.

How many pages will a compatible toner cartridge print? Like OEM cartridges, the number of pages you can print will depend on the cartridge type and the amount of toner used for each page. Typically a cartridge’s page yield is based on 5 percent coverage (that is, toner covering 5 percent of a printed page). A 5,000-yield toner cartridge, for example, will provide you 5,000 printed pages. As with OEM toner, printing content-heavy pages and images will reduce the total number of pages you’re able to print. Use “draft” mode to stretch your toner further.

If your business could use another simple way to save money on printing, consider switching from OEM toner to compatible cartridges. As discussed, you can confidently purchase compatible parts without fear of nullifying your warranty or devaluing the quality of your outputs. Call Golden Gate Office Solutions today if you’d like to learn more—we’ll be glad to help you find affordable toner that matches your current print fleet.