OEM or compatible consumables, which is best for my photocopier?

When it comes to used or second-hand photocopiers, a question we all ask ourselves is : should I used OEM or compatible consumables? What are the benefits? What are the risks and where to buy them?

OEM and compatible consumables for used copiers : definition

Let’s first define consumables. In the photocopier business a consumable is every thing that has a limited life span and needs to be replaced at regular intervals: toner and drums fall into this category where transfer belts and fuzers fall into the spare parts category. The difference is mainly about life span. Toners will last 30 to 50 000 copies, drums 150 000 prints where transfer belts and fuzer can last up to 2-3 times that.

What is the risk of using non OEM toner?

The fact is that the business of compatible consumables is so juicy that loads of enterprises have decided to have a go at it. Those are mainly Chinese and as far as Chinese compatible products go there is a lot to say about quality. We all know how talented Chinese people are at copying patents and designs. The copier industry is no exception to that. So to help you find the good from the bad, we made our own experiments and tests.

The answer is yes there is a risks when using low quality compatible consumables. Bad toners for instance will ruin your entire photocopier machine and make it unserviceable beyond repair. I take it from a Chinese remarketer to who I asked how came that Chinese did only buy used photocopier from Europe or the US : It is because we use so bad quality toner in our new machines that comes a point when used Chinese photocopier cannot be salvaged and reconditioned. So you have been warned; do not use bad quality toner. Personally I trust toners from Integral, a German manufacturer or Katunan American one. They both a track records of producing excellent compatible powders.

And what about drums?

Drums have a life span of around 150 000 copies and OEM parts cost an arm and a leg. So it is very tempting to go for compatible especially when operating used photocopiers. But is there a risk? the answer is not really. A bad quality drum, a bad quality fuzer or a bad quality trasnfer belt will just produce bad quality copies but it won’t damage your copier. It will certainly last much less than an OEM. However if you choose a good quality one, you won’t see the difference ; it will last as long as the OEM product (sometimes even longer) and it will produce good quality printings, with the enormous advantage that it will cost a fraction of the OEM part. So where is the catch?

There is none actually. It is a no brainer; we recommend that you go for good quality spare parts and compatible consumables. Having testing extensively their products, we personally prefer Chinese manufacturer CET and these guys can get you a very good price or alternatively Katun (see above) although they are less affordable.

Please read our guide to buying used photocopiers, and do not hesitate to visit the trade fair Paperworld to help you find reliable suppliers


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