Should You Buy Third-Party Toner Cartridges for Your Laser Printer? Our Hands-On Test Report Provides the Answers

HP JetIntelligence Toner Cartridges

Inside HP JetIntelligence Toner Cartridges for HP Color LaserJet Printers

Third-party vendors have been selling “compatible” toner and developer since the development of electrophotographic laser printing. They were traditionally supplied as bottles of dry or liquid toner, dry developer, and liquid dispersant. The liquid-toner imaging system eventually fell into disfavor around the time that bottled, dry toner cartridges were introduced. The next major advancement was the user-replaceable module (URM) that housed all of the components necessary in order to develop a printed image, and are commonly known as all-in-one (AIO) toner cartridges.

There is an unprecedented amount of engineering and logic built into HP Inc.’s latest state-of-the-art toner cartridges. These new cartridges are designed with JetIntelligence that features ColorSphere 3 toner and anti-fraud technology (see more here). However, since the rise of Chinese manufacturing, wide varieties of toner cartridges are available on the world market that are constructed entirely from third-party components. That is, since there’s no remanufacturing involved, these suppliers are producing new-build compatibles called “clone” cartridges that infringe on the intellectual-property rights of a rights-holder.

The staff at Wirth Consulting has continuously tested and monitored third-party imaging supplies since their inception in 1989. Following are the results of our most recent study of the performance of four third-party non-OEM brands versus Original HP High Yield Toner cartridges with JetIntelligence. This study commissioned by HP is an attempt to understand the differences and impact of using third-party, non-OEM toner cartridges versus that of using Original HP cartridges.  Wirth Consulting is an independent test laboratory that uses industry-standard procedures and analyses.  These results are derived from direct testing of actual toner cartridges that were acquired on the open market by Wirth Consulting.

The full test report is available here and contains many additional details.

Sample Selection

Printers Five new HP Color LaserJet Pro M252 Printers in sealed cartons
CYMK Toner Source CYMK Toner Brand
HP.com Original HP 201X High Yield Toner Cartridges with JetIntelligence
Amazon.com ValueToner CF400X-CF403X
Amazon.com Greensky CF400X-CF403X
Amazon.com Ink E-Sale CF-400X-CF403X
Amazon.co.uk Prestige Cartridge HP 201X Four
Test Substrate Hammermill Copy Plus, ColorLok, 20-lb. bond, 92 brightness

The overall performance of the benchmark HP 201X JetIntelligence toner cartridges was virtually flawless. However, even though their print yields met or exceeded HP ISO/IEC 19798 page-yield estimates, they were overall lower than that of the other non-HP cartridges tested. However, the four sets of non-HP replacement toner cartridges displayed a mix of inconsistent performance, which made the total number of printed pages less valuable due to their poor quality.

Print-Quality Distribution (pages may fall into multiple categories and total more than 100 percent)

  Internal Use External Use Individual Use Unusable
  Prints acceptable for all uses, including distribution outside a company to customers, vendors, and suppliers. Prints acceptable for distribution inside the company, but not acceptable for distribution to others outside the company. Prints usable as copies to read, file, or markup, but not acceptable for distribution. Unacceptable for any business purpose.
HP 201X 100% 100% 100% 0%
ValueToner 22% 3% 75% 0%
Greensky 0% 0% 100% 0%
INK-E-Sale 49% 49% 51% 0%
Prestige Cartridge 53% 53% 47% 0%

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