Why don’t the remanufacturing
companies offer TonerTopUp kits?
They make more profit from selling a
higher cost remanufactured
cartridge than from selling just the toner for you to
refill yourself. When you consider that around 80% of the
market is taken by high priced, original equipment manufacturers'
own brand cartridges, then you can see that the remanufacturers
have a large potential market for their own products. They
do not want to be associated with the uncertain quality
from what they may describe as "drill
and fill" suppliers. (see "drill and fill")
"drill and fill"?
In the past there have been companies
that have sold cartridges that have been refilled,
and not remanufactured,
using techniques similar to those we suggest. (Generally
they drilled holes rather than melting.) They got a very
bad reputation for quality because they could not be sure
for how many cycles the refilled cartridges would last.
The empty cartridges that you can buy in bulk from trade
source will have a variable track record. For instance,
some may have been been left exposed to sunlight, others
may have internal physical damage. A remanufacturer takes
them apart and should check and replace problem components.
The "Drill and Fill" refillers just filled them.
Customers did not like it when the quality deteriorated.
It could be during the first cycle.....or after quite a
few. Whose criteria were to be used for a "good"
Clearly that is very different from
buying toner and refilling yourself! If
you refill a cartridge you know how it has been treated
and you know for sure that it definitely
will fail sooner or later. You accept that! You also
are the sole arbiter of exactly when the quality is no longer
quite right. You are only buying the toner, and that need
not be wasted, even if a cartridge fails quite early on,
because it can be reused in another cartridge. You take
the responsibility for your own refilling operation.
We are happy to guarantee
our toner is qualified for use in the models for which we
list it. We cannot guarantee how many times you can refill
any cartridge or indeed that you will get a good result
from any particular refill. We would never be able to guarantee
a refilled cartridge supplied to a user.
Thus the whole business model of "drill and fill"
suppliers is untenable and rightly suspect. If you are buying
complete cartridges then they should be remanufactured
and bear a quality guarantee for the life of the cartridge
and not just be refilled. (See our comments on remanufacturing.)
You should only buy
our toner if you are prepared to take the risk that
some cartridges will fail early, and also the responsibility
for deciding when a cartridge is no longer producing prints
to a high enough quality for your standards. In return you
will save money and help the environment!
What else can go wrong?
Well, if you are repeatedly
refilling a cartridge then sooner or later it will pack up!
When something goes wrong it
will show on the printed page. If you notice spots, dots,
blank spots or voids showing up on the printed page (in
a pattern that repeats several times down the page), then
the cartridge has reached the end of its useful life and
needs to be replaced. A razor sharp, pencil thin line appearing
on the page also indicates a cartridge has reached the end
of the line.
This is the time to replace the cartridge
with another original or remanufactured cartridge, and start
again. You may want to recover any unused toner left in
the dead cartridge as covered
It may seem a bit of a pain to have
to watch the print
quality, waiting for the final inevitable demise of
your cartridge, but in practice most people continually
keep an eye on their print quality anyway. After all there
are occasional problems even with new OEM branded cartridges.
Furthermore, most people using expensive
new cartridges take the “Toner Low” warning
as an “early warning” signal, knowing full well
that with a quick shake they will get many more good prints
out of their expensive investment before the toner really
runs out. They can tell that has happened when the print
quality goes! If you are using TonerTopUp then you might
as well just lift the cartridge and refill it straight away.
There are no prizes in wresting the last print out of the
first fill of toner.
So you will normally only have to discard
poor prints when the cartridge has finally expired rather
than at the end of each cartridge fill of toner.
By refilling you will have the satisfaction
of knowing that you have squeezed the full potential life
out of the cartridge, and the savings in your back pocket
to show it!
What about the quality of the prints
The great thing about refilling a cartridge
yourself using TonerTopUp toner is that you will know whether
the cartridge is printing well or else showing signs of
wear. Because you do not disturb the inner workings of the
cartridge by refilling it, the quality should be as good
as it was before the toner ran out.
In fact, because you no longer have
to squeeze the last prints out of your cartridge before
junking it, you can now lift it for refilling immediately
you get a toner low message and before you notice any quality
problems caused by lack of toner! It is a luxury you may
soon come to appreciate!
Clearly your cartridge
will pack up sooner or later, either by a gradual deterioration
in print quality or else by a more catastrophic failure.
The great thing is that you are in control. You decide when
it is no longer good enough.
A cartridge may be fine for straight
text work but yet not come up to scratch for the heavy graphics
in your sales literature. It is up to you to decide! Whenever
it does pack up, it does not owe you anything! By refilling
you have gained extra low cost prints, and you can reuse
the remaining toner if you wish.
For black toner one of the elements
of quality is the density of the print. This is particularly
evident in pictures and large areas of black image. One
of the characteristics of the OPC light sensitive drums
used in laser printers and copiers is that they tend to
produce lighter prints as they age. This may be evident
during the life of a new OEM cartridge. The toners we supply
may have a different density range from the OEM toner, sometimes
darker. If you are using a remanufactured cartridge then,
if you follow our recommendation, it will have had a replacement
OPC drum fitted. This too may vary in density characteristics
from the OEM drum. These variations mean that one of the
ways that a cartridge can finally fail to met your quality
criteria is due to poor density on your prints.
For coloured toners our manufacturers
are not able to guarantee that the colour range produced
will match exactly to the OEM range. You should therefore
try an initial refill to see whether you are happy with
the results. Some clients prefer the TonerTopUp toners;
others do not. Where exact colour matching is required for
graphics industry proofing, we do not suggest the use of
our colour toners.
If you have bought several bottles
of toner from us and wish to return some unopened ones for
any reason, then we will refund you for those that are still
sealed and in saleable condition. On occasions when a toner
is supplied to a special order or in bulk quantities or
to the Trade, then this guarantee will not apply.
Do I really need to buy the Starter
Kit, or is there another way to get toner into the cartridge?
In our refill
toner selector page the filling method for your laser
printer copier or fax machine model will be shown.
For some models we supply the TonerTopUp
toner in a similar way to the manufacturer and you can refill
in the way described in the machine manual.
Some cartridges have a visible filler
cap and for these no tools, except possibly a flathead screwdriver
or pair of pliers, are required to refill. Others will have
a few screws that need to be removed before the filler cap
can be reached. You will need a flat or crosshead screwdriver.
Some models with separate toner and drum cartridges have
a shutter where the toner comes out from when you install
the toner cartridge into the drum. Usually there is a lever
that you turn to lock the toner cartridge into the drum,
and this opens the shutter. For other designs the shutter
is spring loaded. To refill you simply open up the shutter
and pour the new toner inside.
Others including many popular HP models
are marked as "melt hole and pour". Our Starter
Kit is the fastest and easiest way to "melt and pour"
toner into your cartridge, priced at £9.50 plus VAT.
There are other methods you could use to get the toner into
the cartridge, as well as other tools you could use to put
the "toner port" into the housing, but all of
them either take more time, require additional specialised
tools or are far more expensive than our Starter
You only need buy the Starter Kit once,
no matter how many different types of cartridges you want
to refill, so the cost is minimal in relation to the savings
you will realize on your first toner cartridge refill.
Making a hole by drilling into the cartridge
is a bad idea as inevitably some swarf from the drill will
get into the cartridge and may cause problem.
link to our page explaining
how to use the Starter Kit.
Why do the laser printer manufacturers
make cartridge-based machines with really expensive cartridges?
Why can't they make a machine like our big office photocopier
where all you do is dump in a bottle of toner and walk away?
The printer manufacturers know that
the real profit to be made from their machines is not from
the one off purchase of the machine itself, but from the
repeated, month in, month out purchase of consumables. The
marketing strategy is known as "razors
and razorblades". The manufacturers do all they
can to hold onto this consumables market. They have patents
on the cartridge as well as on some component within it.
It has taken nearly two decades for big manufacturing firms
(like Xerox and Lexmark) to develop toner cartridges which
function properly inside of Canon/HP laser printers, without
violating the huge number of patents HP has on those cartridges.
Nowadays most manufacturers add electronic chips to the
cartridges, sometimes ostensibly to tell you when your toner
is low but in most cases as manufacturer markers or as killer
chips. This blocks out the aftermarket and ties the end
user to their own brand cartridges. They know this makes
it harder for the competitors to sell against them and protects
their market until the chips are replicated and made available
in the remanufacturing market place.
For some cartridges the chip does not
prevent a refilled cartridge from printing, but you get
a continual Toner Low or Replace Toner message unless the
chip is replaced. Having a toner low light stuck on, in
spite of having just refilled the cartridge, is a small
trade off to pay in these cases for the big saving you will
make with TonerTopUp. Most HP laserprinter models function
this way. They are one of the few companies brave enough
to enable use of aftermarket cartridges. There reputation
benefits greatly from this as their customers welcome and
respect it. Canon on the other hand try prevent use of all
non-Canon supplies with their chips even though their cartridges
and printer engines are otherwise identical to HP.
In the majority of cases (the exceptions
are HP and Brother) you will need to buy a replacement chip
as well as toner as the chip will prevent the refilled cartridge
from printing. These are termed "Killer Chips".
This adds extra cost to refilling but this is unavoidable.
The manufacturer has tried to gain a monopoly on the supplies
market and tie users to their own expensive cartridges.
The chips are often heavily encrypted to make them as difficult
as possible for aftermarket manufacturers to replicate.
The most recent chips by Lexmark, Oki and Samsung have taken
over three years to appear on the market. The cost of the
replacement chips we supply reflects these development costs
and varies depending on how complex the technology is.
The killer chip technology used is becoming ever more complicated.
Many current chips communicate with the printer by radio
and have no physical connections with the printer. The signals
are encrypted for security. In addition the OEMs have buillt
firmware updates into the printers. They release periodic
fimware updates that change the encryption key. This can
render whole batches of compatible aftermarket chips useless
overnight. The new firmware can be downloaded automatically
by the printer over the network internet connection without
the user's permission. This practice is most likely already
illegal under EU laws. We are hopefull that new laws will
be introduced to prevent use of anti-recycling devices in
No matter how easy it is for the main
cartridge-based laser printer manufacturers to make printers
that use bottles of toners instead of toner cartridges,
they seldom appear on the market since the profit incentive
is so great in producing machines which use expensive, proprietary