> OEM vs
vs Refilled Cartridge
In Jan 2009, HP hired an
independent lab (QualityLogic) to conduct a research on ink cartridge
refill. The result is not surprising, it shows that Original HP inkjet
cartridge outperforms an ink cartridge refill.
These are the findings reported by
More than 33% of tested refilled ink cartridges failed during use
or right out of the box.
More than 41% of the tested cartridges refilled by a refill service
failed during use or right out of the box.
the tested Original HP ink cartridges worked every time with no failures.
Looking at the detailed report,
the results also show that Original HP inkjet cartridges produced 65.8%
more pages than the refilled cartridges.
The research was conducted on HP
92A, 93A, 98A, 95A, 21A and 22A inkjet cartridges, page yield and
cartridge reliability were compared with a range of branded refilled
cartridges (Elite Image, Innovera, Nukote, Office Depot, OfficeMax,
Rhinotek) and refill service providers (Cartridge World, OfficeMax,
The results show that Original HP
inkjet cartridges produced 46.6% more pages than the branded refilled
cartridges and 85.0% more pages than the cartridges refilled by refill
service providers. On cartridge reliability, 27.1% branded refilled
cartridges and 41.1% cartridges refilled by refill service providers were
dead-on-arrival a or had early end of life b
while none of the Original HP inkjet cartridges failed.
The cartridges were tested
following ISO/IEC 24711 standard. However, HP made a modification to
include defective cartridges in the page yield calculation (ISO/IEC 24711
excludes the defective cartridges from page yield calculation). Out of
all the cartridges refilled by the refill service providers, 60% were
refilled once, approximately 20% were refilled twice and approximately 20%
were refilled three times. The research only tested the average
performance of all branded refilled cartridges but not individual brand
While the research shows that
original HP inkjet cartridges are more reliable and can print more pages,
the experimental design could be challenged by the others.
1) First of all, ISO standard
excludes defective cartridges in page yield calculation while HP includes
them and the inclusion of defective cartridges undoubtedly lowers the
average page yield of refilled cartridges.
2) Secondly, some of the
cartridges refilled by refill service providers have been refilled two
or three times. Including them in the study may increase the failure rates
and further decreases the average page yield.
3) HP considers all cartridges
with visible ink in the bag or on the cartridge as dead-on-arrival.
However, some of them may perform properly when installed.
4) HP tests a range of branded
refilled cartridges and refill service providers but instead of comparing
brands, they put all refilled cartridges in the same pool. If one and two
brands are poorer in quality, it can significantly increase the overall
failure rate and decrease the average page yield of all refilled
We can understand that the purpose
of this research is to demonstrate that Original HP inkjet cartridges are
superior to refilled cartridges. However, the experiment design may have
exaggerated the difference. No one would expect that refilled
cartridges can outperform the new Original HP cartridges. Refilled
cartridges may have a higher failure rate but defective cartridges can
usually be returned for exchange or refund. Even if the page yield of
refilled cartridges (excluding defective ones) is 20-30% less, since they
are so much cheaper than Original HP cartridges, it is still a bargain to
use these refilled cartridges. Refilling a cartridge is also more
environmental friendly than purchasing a new cartridge.
To sum up, HP research on refilled
cartridges show that Original HP cartridges are more reliable and produce
more pages. However, due to the experimental design, it is hard to tell
the actual difference in page yield and the true performance of different
brands of refilled cartridges. Given the huge price difference between
Original HP cartridge and refilled cartridge, it is unknown whether this
type of study can deter consumers from using cheap refilled cartridges.
a Dead-on-arrival (DOA): cartridges with
substantial visible ink spilled in the bag or on cartridge, cartridge
produces less than 10 pages and cartridge fails to print
b Early end of life: a cartridge with
page yield of less than 75% of the HP mean page yield for that