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Ink cartridges have advantages, but replacing them can prove costly. As an owner of an HP printer, you may seek ways to get fresh ink more affordably. Different alternatives exist, but are they safe and cost-effective?

Buying an original replacement is easy. However, the price is a major deterrent to many consumers. What is the difference between OEM products and HP 902XL ink from a reliable cartridge shop that lets you save over 25%? Find out below.

Prices for Original Supplies

Undeniably, the pricing policies of major brands are disappointing. A piece of their equipment may cost $100, but over a few months you may end up paying twice as much for the consumable supplies. Understandably, many buyers feel that this policy is sneaky and look for ways to circumvent it.

So, how do the brands justify their stance? The official explanation refers to the intensive R&D behind their products. Billions of dollars are indeed spent on research every year, but this does not make the “razor and blades” business model any more appealing.

Overview of Alternatives

The demand for cheaper ink is high, and many independent brands produce cartridges for popular printer models. These products fall into two categories — remanufactured and compatible. Both can deliver excellent quality as long as you know what to look for.

1. Compatible Products

These cartridges are designed and produced by third-party brands. They work with the original equipment seamlessly, providing a comparable quality of printing. Models with XL volume are the most cost-effective, but you will save money anyway. To choose a reliable store, pay attention to the following:

  • certified quality (compliance with standards like ISO), 
  • the latest version of the chip to ensure compatibility,
  • ink level tracking for some models, 
  • two-year warranty, 
  • free shipping, 
  • sustainable manufacturing practices, etc.

2. Remanufactured Products

Instead of replacing a cartridge, you may fill it with fresh ink. However, doing it the old way — taking your product to a service provider and waiting for the staff to refill it — is inconvenient and time-consuming. Instead, order a remanufactured OEM cartridge from a trusted store like Smart Ink. 

Professionals empty used cartridges, clean them and pour in fresh ink. Such products may come with the same benefits as compatible cartridges — extensive warranty, free shipping, and certified quality of ink. This option is also more sustainable, as the cartridges are reused.  

OEM Cartridges: Pros and Cons

An original cartridge is the most expensive replacement. If you do not care about the price, you can always get it at a nearby department store. However, why pay that profit margin if you can get a similar product more affordably? Compatible and remanufactured cartridges offer great value for money — just order them from a reputable store with an extensive warranty.