How to determine what type of toner cartridge you are getting for you HP C400X.

By now you know there are four categories of toner cartridges you could possibly buy.

  1. The OEM.
  2. A compatible.
  1. A remanufactured/Recycled.
  1. A refill cartridge.


So what exactly is the difference between all these four cartridges? 

Well, the OEM is just that – it is the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) cartridge.  However, do not make the mistake of assuming just because you're getting the OEM, that you're getting something that is "brand-new." In fact, if you read the fine print on the HP product box, which is manufactured in China, you'll notice it says, "Made from new and recycled parts." Which is just fine, but it isn't all manufactured with new parts. It is the OEM because the same company that makes the printer also makes the toner cartridge.

A compatible is usually defined as a toner cartridge, which has virtually all new parts except for the outside shell. The outside shell, known as a "virgin shell", is a shell that has been used ONLY one time, and then sent back to a manufacturer for them to gut the cartridge, and put in brand-new parts on the inside, and label it a different label other than the OEM*.

A remanufactured/recycled is a toner cartridge, which has been used several times, so this shell is not a "virgin" shell, and the inside components are not new.  Often times salespeople will tell you that they're selling you a compatible cartridge when in reality it's a remanufactured or recycled toner cartridge.  This is why it's important to make sure that you deal with the right broker and pick the right toner cartridge for you.


  1. A refill toner cartridge is just that. It's a cartridge that has been used many times, and all they do is put toner back inside the cartridge.


You can see by now, that within these four categories you could have varying degrees of quality, longevity, and prices.

In my experience, after having done this for close to 25 years, I can tell you that not every cartridge is manufactured the same. And that not every customer needs the same product in their printer. I can also tell you that there's a lot more junk than there is good quality stuff. The HP, for example, has a different longevity and quality than the Xerox, even though they are both considered OEM.

Every refilled or remanufactured cartridge is trying to be sold as a compatible. When in reality, there are only less than five good quality compatibles in the market today.

Compatibles tend to be the best bang for the buck when you're doing a price comparison, and not wanting to sacrifice quality and longevity. But that doesn't always necessarily mean that you should always go for compatibles. If your printer is brand spanking new, in terms of the latest model in the market, I would suggest you stick with the OEM until a compatible has proven themselves worthy.

If you have a really old, old printer, don't go with the OEM, instead stick with a compatible because it just means that your printer will keep on lasting, and you don't have to spend too much money on it. At the same time, if you go with a remanufactured or a refill, you will kill that printer which has been so faithful to you.

I sure hope this is helpful and if there is anything I can do for you or answer any questions, please feel free to reach out at your convenience as we aim to help educate and serve you as best as we can.


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OK, so now ...


How to determine what type of toner cartridge you are getting for you HP C400X.

By now you know there are four categories of toner cartridges you could possibly buy.



Please enjoy this interview originally published on GTD.



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