what are compatible cartridges

What The Heck Are Compatible Cartridges?

What Are Compatible Cartridges?

what are compatible cartridges

If you’ve shopped for printer ink or toner online, you’ll know that there are a few different cartridge options available.  By far the most common cartridges are name brand cartridges, also known as original cartridges or OEM cartridges. OEM (original equipment manufacturer) printer cartridges are cartridges designed and built by your printer manufacturer for your printer. In other words, if HP made your printer, they’ve also made a cartridge to go with it.

A compatible cartridge is a brand new printer cartridge built by a manufacturer other than your printer.  The cartridge will still fit in your machine but print more pages and offer a similar print quality as a brand name cartridge. The only difference is that it’s made by a different manufacturer and sold in slightly different packaging! 

What is the main benefit of compatible cartridges? 

The most obvious selling point is the price. Compatible cartridges are up to 70% cheaper than brand name cartridges!  Some compatibles are of inferior quality, but there are plenty of compatible printer cartridges out there that hold their ground next to their OEM counterpart. That’s why it’s so important to find a time-tested provider like Printerinks.ie that offers only high-quality ink and toner cartridges.

Lastly, compatible cartridges are designed to perform as well as the OEM cartridges. In fact,   compatibles often having higher ink yields/capacities than originals! You will get the same great quality prints, at a fraction of the cost.

Ready to take advantage of our multi-pack deals and next day delivery service? Shop compatible cartridges now.

ISPCC's Real Impact On Children's Lives

The ISPCC is Ireland’s national child protection charity. Its mission is to make the protection of children everyone’s priority.

ISPCC Childline is Ireland’s only 24-hour active listening service for children and young people. It is free to contact, confidential and non-judgemental. Any child or young person up to the age of 18 in Ireland can contact Childline, to chat about any issue which may be on their mind, by calling 1800 66 66 66 (24 hours), chatting online at Childline.ie (10am – 4am daily) or texting to 50101 (10am – 4am daily).



All About Printing - A Timeline

We tend to take the convenience of printing for granted. With the touch of a button, you can print anything from just about anywhere. Wireless technology has made printing even more convenient, with many contemporary printers capable of pairing with your smartphone. However, it wasn’t always this easy. It took a long time and a lot of slow, gradual advancements to get us where we are today. Whether you’re curious how your household printer was developed or you’d just like to appreciate the convenience compared to outdated printing methods, read on to learn how printing has evolved through the centuries.


Woodblock Printing – China, 868 CE

Wooden letter blocks
via Wikimedia Commons

In the year 868 CE, the first-known printed book was created. It was

 a copy of the Diamond Sutra, a sacred Buddhist text from China. Wang Jie had the book commissioned as a scroll that stretched over 17 feet in length, and it was created with wooden blocks.

Woodblock printing involved writing text onto a piece of paper, laying it facing downward on a block of wood, and tracing/etching text or images through the page and onto the wooden block. The text/images would appear backwards, but the block could then be inked and used as a stamp, with the text/image appearing correctly on the finished product. The process built off of an earlier printing technique that involved using bronze and stone seals as “stamps” on fabric and pottery, but while these bronze and stone stamps were useful for printing patterns onto certain materials they could not really produce any actual volumes of text. The use of woodblocks revolutionized this technique by making it easy to reproduce text, calendars, and even religious icons. However, each new woodblock design that depicted a different image or body of text had to be carved from scratch, which made the process quite time consuming.


Movable Type – China, 1041-1048 CE

via Unsplash

Moveable type was believed to have been invented by Bi Sheng, a woodblock printer from China. He used clay tiles and had one designated tile for each character in the Chinese language. Creating these clay tiles was a time-consuming process, but once they were made, a printer could easily arrange and ink these tiles to produce any number of text combinations.


The Gutenberg Bible – Germany, 1454-1455

A page from the Gutenberg bible with text and illustrations
via Wikimedia Commons

In the mid-1450s, Johann Gutenberg created the first “substantial” book of text to emerge from the West. He used Bi Sheng’s design but created metal type instead of clay. The Gutenberg Bible made printing a fast and effective process. It was much more efficient than previous printing methods, which could take months or even years to produce longer bodies of text. This movable metal press allowed printers to reproduce many copies of a book or other piece of text in a comparatively brief time span.


Lithography – Germany, 1796

Lithograph of mountains
via Wikimedia Commons

The lithographic technique was invented by Alois Senefelder, a playwrite from Bavaria who was living in Germany. Senefelder made his discovery through an accident, but he quickly realized the implications it had for printing. The process relied on the use of grease and water. Because grease repels water, the lithographic designs were created by using greasy inks and crayons on a tablet. The surface of the tablet was kept wet with water and then oil-based ink was rolled across it. Ink only stuck to the areas marked with grease, with the rest of the wet tablet resisting the oily ink.

This technique led to off-set lithography, in which the image is printed onto another surface before being inked onto paper. This process is still used today for many illustrations and in the production of newspapers!


Mimeograph Printing – USA, 1876

Edison's mimeograph printer in a box with an open lid, 1889
via Wikimedia Commons

Mimeograph printing was invented by Thomas Edison. The technique involved placing a sheet of stencil paper over a steel plate with very fine grooves. You would then use a steel-tipped stylus to write on the paper, making tiny holes to form a text stencil. That stencil could then be inked to make duplicates as needed. It was the preferred method of copying/printing documents until the invention of the photocopier.


Photocopy/Xerographic Printing – USA, invented in 1938

a Xerox photocopier
via Wikimedia Commons

Chester Carlson created the xerographic printing process in 1938, but he had a hard time getting investors to manufacture his invention. The photocopier machine was not commercially manufactured until 1959, and it was made popular by the iconic printing company Xerox.

Considered a “dry” form of printing, this process relied on static electricity to transfer toner powder onto a piece of paper to form text and images. The device would then heat the paper to fix the toner in the shape of that image/text on the page.


Laser Printer – USA, invented in 1969

HP LaserJet 1000 series
via Wikimedia Commons

The earliest form of our modern-day laser printer was invented by Gary Starkweather. The process was similar to xerographic printing, but laser printers (as the name implies) utilized lasers to generate static electricity. The earliest laser printers were made commercially available in 1979 by IBM, with early models retailing for over $15,000 each. Laser printers weren’t affordably priced until 1984, when HP released their first LaserJet printers that sold for under $1,000.


Dot Matrix Printer – USA, 1978

OKIData Microline 320 Dot matrix printer
via Wikimedia Commons

This type of printer was popularized by Epson in the 1970s. Dot matrix printers worked much like a typewriter. They relied on an ink ribbon and a series of tiny rods (called “pins”) that would strike the ink against a sheet of paper to form characters on the page. Early models could not print images, so the entire printing technique was only effective at printing text. However, these printers were compatible with carbon transfer paper, which helped revolutionize how documents were printed.


Inkjet Printer – Japan, 1977

HP DeskJet 500 printer with cables
via Wikimedia Commons

The inkjet printer was invented by Ichiro Endo, who worked for Canon in Japan. The process involved the use of many tiny dots of ink, much like a dot matrix printer. However, unlike a dot matrix printer, the dots produced by an inkjet device are too small to be seen with the naked eye. The technique was also independently developed by John Vaught, anHP employee in the United States.

There are two primary types of inkjet printers. The first kind, called a bubblejet printer, heats ink inside the nozzle right up to the point of boiling. This forms a bubble that eventually bursts, projecting ink droplets at the paper.

The second type of inkjet printer uses piezoelectric crystals to build up pressure. Upon release, the ink inside the chamber is shot out at the page.


3D Printer

A white skull printed in 3D
via Wikimedia Commons

The future of plastic development was pushed ahead by 3D printing. These devices are becoming increasingly common in homes, schools, and offices around the world. They heat up plastic filaments, which are then extruded out as soft, malleable strands that quickly harden to form a solid plastic object in virtually any shape.

While 3D printing is certainly pushing the boundaries of what humans can create in their own homes and offices, this technology will never replace the need for printed paper documents. If you need ink or toner to power your inkjet or laser printer, we hope you’ll choose printerinks.ie to meet those needs. We are a growing small Irish supplier running since 2016 based in South Dublin. Shop today and take advantage of our on going competitive prices and free nationwide delivery, happening now!

How To Fix Poor Print Quality - Toner Tip #6

Have you ever printed something with the expectation that it would look more or less the way it does on your computer screen, only to get completely different results on paper? While differences in resolution can create a disconnect between print quality and on-screen quality, you may need to make some adjustments to get the most out of your printer.

Diagnosis: Your print quality is most likely lacking due to the settings on your printer. These may be default settings, or you may have previously chosen them for a different project and forgotten to revert back to your normal settings.

  • Try adjusting the color levels, brightness, and contrast in your printer’s settings.
  • Increase the print quality in your printer’s settings/properties menu. Choose “best quality” or the equivalent for your printer.
  • Instead of regular office printer paper, opt for a paper type that comes with a smooth, coated surface. Depending on the project you’re working on, you might choose glossy, low-gloss, or matte paper.
  • Make sure you’ve selected the right paper type in your printer driver. If your printer thinks you’re using a different type of paper, it may affect how toner is applied to the page.
  • If one side of your paper is not usable (due to something like a glossy surface), make sure you insert the pages correctly so that the text/image appears on the correct side.

Solution: Try making manual adjustments to the settings menu for your printer. You may be able to find the print quality you need by making a few simple changes. You can also try changing the type of paper you’re using – just be sure your printer knows that you’re using that type of media.

How To Fix Your Print Work If It Turns Out Blemished - Toner Tip #5

There are many different possible causes of blemished print work. It could be a defective cartridge (which can happen with any brand, including expensive OEM products), or it could be that something inside the printer needs to be cleaned or replaced. The specific problem will depend on your printer’s brand, series, model, condition, and environment.

Printer Diagnosis:

Unfortunately, this problem will require a bit of trial and error. You can use this handy troubleshooting guide as a starting point to figuring out what’s wrong with your print work.

  •  Blank spots – these may be caused by a simple cartridge defect, or it could be something more serious like a damaged transfer roller. Try replacing the cartridge first. If that doesn’t fix the issue, try examining the inside of the printer (if accessible on your printer model) to see if you can detect any obvious obstructions. If it still won’t print correctly, try replacing the transfer roller.
  • Faded print work – frequently caused by a cartridge running out of toner, but it may also be a sign that you need to clean your printer’s laser mirror or replace the transfer roller.
  • Lines across the page – may be a sign that you have a defective cartridge, or it could mean that some internal component needs to be cleaned or replaced.
  • Smeared print work – could be a problem with the cartridge, but it’s also very probable that the problem lies with your drum unit. Every time you change the toner cartridge, a little bit of residual toner powder gets left behind in the drum unit, which is why it’s so important to change the drum unit after the estimated lifespan (usually measured in the number of pages printed) has passed.
  •  Smudges can sometimes be fixed by printing a series of blank pages. Try printing several blank sheets in a row and see if your print quality improves at all.
  •  Stretched/Distorted images – this problem is a bit more difficult to diagnose and it’s more expensive to fix. It could be caused by a problem with the laser scanner, the engine controller board, or the cables that connect to your printer’s engine controller board. You may need to replace one or more of these components if the problem persists.

Printer Solution:

Try replacing the toner cartridge first. If that doesn’t solve your problem, consider replacing the drum unit, cleaning internal components like the laser scanner/mirrors, or replacing those internal components.

Why Your Toner Level Is Running Out Fast - Toner Tip #4

Everyone has experienced it at some point – you’re in the middle of a project and you get that dreaded “low toner” warning. Most cartridges fall short of the page yield reported in the product specs, but that’s not because they’re improperly filled or labeled. Within the printer industry, page yields are calculated based on a 5% average page coverage. In other words, when technicians perform print tests to determine the page yield of a given product, they’re printing about a paragraph worth of text. If you’re printing full-page text documents or color images, your actual page yield will be substantially lower.

Printer Diagnosis:

You could be running low on toner, or your printer may just preemptively warn you that your toner levels are low. Many printers come with toner level monitors, but the accuracy of those measurements varies tremendously from one printer model to the next, even within the same brand or printer series. Some cartridges that are recognised as being empty by printers still contain as much as 60% of the toner inside! If you’re convinced your cartridges could be lasting longer, you do have several options that may help you improve your cartridge life.

  •  Try removing your toner cartridge and gently shaking it. If there is any toner stuck to the walls of your cartridge, shaking it gently will help remove that toner. It can also distribute the toner more evenly throughout the cartridge.
  •  Avoid using color toner unless you have to. Generally speaking, black cartridges have a higher page yield than color cartridges, and they typically cost less than color cartridges (though neither generalisation is an absolute). You’ll also save more toner, as you’ll only have to replace the black cartridge instead of having to replace the entire set.
  •  Not all cartridge models come in a high-yield version, but if you’re able to get cartridges with a higher page yield, you’ll get more print work per cartridge. You may have to pay a little more for a high-yield unit, but you will ultimately save money when compared to the cost per page of using a standard-capacity

Printer Solution:

Opt for high-yield toner cartridges whenever possible. Ultimately, though, the best way to get more toner out of your cartridges is to keep printing until you notice substantial fading on your print work.

How To Manage A Slow Printer - Toner Tip #3

A slow printer can wreck your productivity. It doesn’t matter if you’re working from home or in an office, you want your work to look good and print quickly. Some printers simply have a faster print speed than others. Typically, newer models print faster than older ones, though this isn’t necessary a fixed rule within the printer industry. However, no matter what type of laser printer you’re using, there are a few tricks you can use to improve your print speed.

Printer Diagnosis: 

Your printer may be slow for a number of reasons. You could be using default settings that favour quality and efficiency over speed. You may also be using the wrong print drivers.

  • Turn off duplex printing if your device offers this feature. When you use two-sided printing, your printer needs to turn the page over in order to complete the document, which can take a lot of time. You’ll consume more paper and consequently increase your paper expenses, but you’ll improve print time quite a bit.
  • Check the print quality settings. Many printers feature different options regarding the quality of your print work. There’s typically a draft mode, standard quality mode, and highest quality mode. If you don’t need your work to look spotless, switch it to draft mode and you’ll significantly speed up your print time.
  • Some printers allow you to switch between different printer drivers. PostScript drivers are ideal for getting good graphics, but this can slow down your print speed. Instead, opt for your printer’s host-based driver system (the setting in which your host computer processes the print work). You can also use your printer’s PCL (Printer Command Language) driver to improve your print speed.

Printer Solution: 

Check your printer’s settings and try making some of the aforementioned changes until your print speed improves. If your print speed does not improve after making these changes, you may need to upgrade to a newer printer. Shop around for the best price and always look at the print speed and product specs of a given laser printer before you purchase it.

How To Fix Paper Jams In Your Laser Printer - Toner Tip #2

If you want to solve a paper jam problem in your printer, it’s fairly straightforward. However, recurring paper jams may be indicative of some other issue at play. Take a look at your owner’s manual and perform a little light troubleshooting before you give up on your expensive laser printer.

Printer Diagnosis:

Either the page was misaligned, the paper was too thick, or the paper took on moisture prior to use. No matter what caused the jam, the first thing you’ll need to do is remove the paper that’s stuck inside your device.

  • Check the pathway that paper travels through inside your printer. Some printers will indicate where the jam has occurred, while other models will require a bit of investigative work. You can usually get a decent assessment of the jam’s location and severity just by visually inspecting the interior.
  • Avoid sticking your fingers inside any of the gears. In order to prevent the possibility of getting your fingers caught, it’s best to turn the printer off before you begin trying to remove the jammed page(s).
  • When you find where the page is stuck, carefully grasp the paper and firmly pull it straight out. Avoid pulling to one side or tugging without a firm grip on the paper, as this may cause the paper to rip. A torn page will be even more difficult to remove, so try to keep it all intact!
  •  If the page is firmly wedged between the rollers inside your printer, check the owner’s manual for how to release a trapped piece of paper.

Printer Solution:

If you suspect that the page was misaligned (one of the most common causes of paper jams), open your paper tray and take out the stack of paper inside. Square the edges of your entire stack, line up the stack properly with the inside of your tray, and set the stack down in the correct position.

If you’ve done all this and you still experience paper jams, the issue could be your paper. Check your owner’s manual, browse an online resource, or contact the printer manufacturer to find out whether your printer was designed to use that type/stock of paper. If it isn’t, stop using it immediately and purchase paper that is supported by the specific printer model you’re using.

You should also keep your paper reserves stored in a cool, dry place. Environmental moisture can cause paper to warp or stick together, creating an unwelcome challenge to your usual printing routine.

How To Install Your Toner Cartridge - Toner Tip #1

For a seasoned pro, installing and removing cartridges from a laser printer is a piece of cake. If you’re new to laser printers, though, you may find it a bit more challenging than replacing the ink cartridge in an inkjet device. Even if you’ve been using laser printers for years, there’s always the possibility that an improperly installed cartridge could cause the door/cover on your device to remain ajar. If your toner cartridges aren’t installed correctly, it can prevent your printer from functioning properly.

Printer Diagnosis:

A toner cartridge is ajar, stuck inside the printer, or otherwise improperly inserted. This could be caused by a number of things, including use of the wrong cartridge model. The most likely fix for this problem is to take the cartridge out. If it’s empty, replace it with a new cartridge. If it still has toner left inside, install it back in the printer, taking care to insert the cartridge properly.

  • Always turn your printer off before attempting to change a cartridge. You don’t want your hands inside the device while its internal components are moving or heating up. Let the printer cool down for an adequate period of time after turning it off, then carefully measure its temperature before touching any internal parts.
  • Open the cover. This will be a front-facing panel on many laser printers, though you may encounter other designs.
  • Grasp the handle on the drum unit and pull out the entire toner cartridge/drum unit together.
  • Release the toner cartridge from the drum unit. Depending on your printer model and drum unit, this may be done with a switch, lever, or button. Do not force the cartridge out of the drum unit. If it won’t release, try using the lock/unlock mechanism again. If it’s still stuck, you may need to call a specialist to help remove the cartridge without breaking the drum unit.
  • Make sure you’re using the right toner cartridges for your specific printer model. The wrong cartridge can make it difficult to close your printer’s panel door and may inhibit normal print functions.
  • Unpack your new cartridge, line it up with the drum unit, and gently but firmly press it into place. On many models, you will hear a soft click when the cartridge is locked into the drum unit.
  • While the drum unit is out of your printer, slide the tab along its edge back and forth to clean the internal corona wire. Some drum units may not have this feature, but if yours does, it’s worth doing this extra bit of maintenance to help prevent print quality problems down the line.
  • Slide the combined drum unit and toner cartridge combo back into place inside your printer. Make sure it’s properly lined up and be sure to slide the drum/toner combo all the way in so that your printer’s panel will close properly.
  • Close the printer’s door/panel and turn on your printer. If your printer has a display screen, wait until it shows that the device is in “ready mode” or otherwise indicates that you can begin printing again.

Printer Solution:

Always use the right toner cartridge for your specific printer model. If you’re unsure about what type of cartridge you need, you can consult Printerinks.ie’s Search Bar in the center banner of our home page. You can also click on your printer brand (for example, HP) from the Brands tab in the Menu.

Make sure you always install your cartridges properly the first time to prevent them from getting stuck. Taking a moment to check the cartridge model and align it properly in your printer will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run.