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What Is a Remanufactured Ink Cartridge, and Should I Get One?

Posted byyhlovinska

If you’ve ever researched how to save on printing, you must have stumbled upon the articles about remanufactured ink. Along with compatible cartridges, remanufactured ones are a high-quality yet affordable substitution for OEMs. 

So what is remanufactured printer ink, how is it different from the cartridges you use now, and most importantly, is it worth the hype? Read on to find out.

What does remanufactured ink mean?

A remanufactured cartridge is an original brand cartridge that was once used, then professionally cleaned, refilled, and sold again. Such ink is usually similar to or close to the quality of the original cartridge and goes through various tests to ensure sharp text and vibrant colors.

So what are remanufactured ink cartridges, you may wonder? They are the same high-quality cartridges as you use right now, but produced in a slightly different way.

Moreover, remanufactured toner cartridges, as well as ink cartridges, come with many benefits:

  • they are much cheaper than original brand cartridges;
  • they are produced with a concern for the environment, allowing users to live a greener life and decrease their carbon footprint;
  • they retain the high quality of the original inks, helping users to get crisp printouts;
  • they provide the same amount of ink as OEMs;
  • even though they are not original inks, they do not void your printer’s warranty if produced by a trusted manufacturer.

So now that we’ve dealt with the benefits and remanufactured ink cartridges meaning, let’s move further and talk about the way they are collected and produced.

Where do remanufactured cartridges come from?

As we’ve mentioned before, remanufactured cartridges are produced from the ones that have already been used before. So where do the manufacturers get these containers?

Most often, the producers of remanufactured ink and toner cartridges collect empty containers for ink with the help of different community recycling programs and eco-organizations. Users bring the cartridges they used up to special stations to give them a second life – this helps reduce the carbon footprint and benefits our environment.

There are plenty of organizations and initiatives that accept used cartridges worldwide. If you live in North America, you can use an incredible search resource created by Earth 911 to help you find the nearest station. If you live elsewhere, try asking about cartridge remanufacturing in the local communities, computer stores, and even office supplies shops in your area.

How is an ink or toner cartridge remanufactured?

As we’ve answered the two most popular questions: “what is a remanufactured ink cartridge” and “how to take part in cartridge remanufacturing”, let’s dive deeper into the process of their production.

To do so, we’ll take a more thorough look at the manufacturing process with an example of Smart Ink. Here is a step-by-step process of producing a new Smart Ink remanufactured cartridge:

  1. As we receive used cartridges from our suppliers, we carefully sort them by brand and part number and store them in a cool dark place to prevent any damage or influence of external factors.
  2. Every cartridge container is carefully tested and inspected for potential damage. The faulty ones are separated and repaired if possible.
  3. Then, cartridges are thoroughly cleaned from any remaining ink and dried till they look as good as new.
  4. Every cartridge is filled with fresh, high-quality ink according to all necessary OEM specifications.
  5. Smart Ink specialists install new chips so that the cartridges are recognized by the printer and work properly in terms of printing and displaying the ink level.
  6. Every remanufactured cartridge is checked several times to make sure that they work properly and correspond to all international standards.
  7. Once a cartridge has passed all tests, it’s carefully cleaned once again and packed into secure multi-layer packaging that protects it during shipment.

With the help of such a complex process, used cartridges are turned into high-quality, affordable remanufactured cartridges that Smart Ink users can enjoy worldwide.

Does remanufactured ink or toner void my printer warranty?

After the “what is remanufactured ink” question, this is probably one of the most common ones among the users who are considering switching to remanufactured cartridges.

And the answer is no, your printer warranty will not be voided if you decide to use remanufactured cartridges. The thing is that there are no specific patents to prevent third parties from manufacturing compatible and remanufactured cartridges. Moreover, a special Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act protects your right to use aftermarket products in your machine without any penalty by the original manufacturer.

In a nutshell, no one can force you to use a specific type of cartridges with your printer. And don’t listen to anyone who might tell you otherwise! You may easily use Smart Ink remanufactured inks and feel safe.

Why do they cost so much less?

Remanufactured cartridges provide you with the same high-quality experience as the originals, but still, they cost much less. So what’s the catch?

It is actually true – some remanufactured inks can help you save up to 70% of your usual printing expenses while ensuring the same top quality. And the best part is that there is no catch. Depending on the producer, the quality of your remanufactured cartridges may vary, but if you stick to Smart Ink, your cartridges will always ensure flawless prints similar to original inks.

The reason why original brand cartridges are expensive is because of the business model of the companies that produce them. As most major printer brands have to produce comparatively affordable printers to fight the competition, they include the additional cost of the printer and other marketing fees into the sales price of the cartridge. At Smart Ink, we believe that such a policy is unfair and simply unacceptable. That’s why our main goal is to create affordable cartridges that anyone can use.

Will I get the same page yield as an original brand cartridge?

The short answer is yes, your remanufactured cartridges must contain as much ink as the original ones. 

However, we cannot speak for all manufacturers and guarantee that they fill their remanufactured cartridges according to the original brand guides. We can only assure you that at Smart Ink, we always follow the guidelines and international standards regardless of the type of cartridges to be produced: remanufactured or compatible ones.

Remanufactured toner cartridges’ print quality

So now that you know all the peculiarities of remanufactured cartridges, let’s deal with the main question – what about their quality?

We’ve mentioned several times before that the quality of remanufactured inks is similar to the one of original brand cartridges, and we stand by it. However, there are still some risks, as with any other product.

Indeed, some remanufactured cartridges may be far from perfect. Their ink can fade in time, and the colors might be less accurate compared to the original ink. Yet, this is only applicable to shady suppliers that manufacture low-quality cartridges. For that reason, we highly recommend you to check the manufacturer carefully before placing an order, read the reviews online, and make sure the company provides an extensive warranty. 

And if you don’t want to spend much time on research, choose Smart Ink! Our remanufactured cartridges retain the highest possible quality and will help you enjoy printing for many months. And if anything goes wrong, we provide a 2-year warranty for all the details and workmanship so that you can feel safe and be sure that you will receive a high-quality product at all times.

If you have any questions regarding Smart Ink products or need help choosing a cartridge for your printer, feel free to contact our Customer Care team. We work 24/7 and can be reached via phone, email, or in the LiveChat on our website. 


We hope you enjoyed reading this article on remanufactured ink. We did our best to answer the question “what does remanufactured ink mean” and navigate you a little bit on the process of its production. So even if you decide not to go for remanufactured inks, you can definitely consider yourself to be an expert in this area 😉

To find out more about the difference between various types of cartridges, make sure to check out this article: Original VS Remanufactured VS Compatible cartridges

And as always, don’t think hard – think smart and print with Smart Ink!

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