Are cheap compatible toner cartridges worth the risk?

Imitation cartridges may be bad for your business. Learn why.


Imitation cartridges can be a risky decision

When it comes to ordering replacement of toner cartridges, you have many to choose from, but cheap imitations may not be the best choice.

Tested imitation cartridges emitted:7

HP voluntarily designs and tests its printing systems5 to prevent emissions that exceed eco-label standards and guidelines.

95% of printer technicians said they clean HP LaserJet printers more often when non-HP cartridges are used, and 79% of these technicians said they clean it at least twice as often3.

Unlike HP, imitation cartridges may not comply with important European legal requirements and regulations4

Original HP cartridges are simply a better choice

1. 2019 Intrinsik risk evaluation, commissioned by HP. Based on 2019 Blue Angel indoor air quality compliance study which included VOCs emitted from relevant imitation toner cartridges in accordance with Blue Angel DE-UZ 205 and health-based screening levels established by USEPA (2019) and Cal/EPA Department of Toxic Substances Control (2019a). See:

2. InfoTrends, 2018 Western Europe Supplies Recycling study, commissioned by HP. Findings are based on average results of interviews with 7 remanufacturers and 6 brokers. See

3. Jan 2018 Market Strategies International study commissioned by HP. Results based on 223 surveys from HP ServiceOne Partners who have at least 6 months of experience servicing HP monochrome and/or Color LaserJet printers with Original HP cartridges and non-HP toner cartridges installed in the past 12 months. Study was conducted in 27 countries: UK, IE, FR, DE, IT, AT, BE, PT, ES, NL, SE, RU, UA, PL, HU, CZ, HR, RO, ZA, SA, AE, EG, MA, QA, and TR. See

4. See Top 8 Sustainable Supplies Procurement Criteria

5. A printing system consists of HP printer, paper, and toner cartridge

6. Programme availability varies. For details, see

7. Dec 2017 WKI Blue Angel Indoor Air Quality compliance study, commissioned by HP. The study tested 4 New Build Compatible toner cartridge brands sold as substitutes for HP LaserJet Pro MFP M425dn with cartridge 280A. The tests were carried out in compliance with Blue Angel RAL-UZ 205. See

8. 2019 EMEA Four Elements Consulting LCA study, commissioned by HP, compared Original HP 55A and 26A monochrome toner cartridges with a sample of imitation alternatives across eight environmental impact categories. See The LCA leverages a 2019 SpencerLab study, commissioned by HP, comparing Original HP LaserJet toner cartridges with two brands of imitation toner cartridges sold in EMEA. See

9. 2019 SpencerLab Monochrome Reliability study, commissioned by HP, compared Original HP mono cartridges with five brands of NBC cartridges sold in Europe, Middle East, and Africa for the HP Pro M402 and Pro 521 printers, HP 26A and 55A cartridges. See

10. Depending on the type of product being sold, there is a need to comply with different applicable directives. EU Directives for ink and toner cartridges are: 2014/30/EU = Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive (EMC-D) and 2011/65/EU = Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS). Original HP cartridges comply with the abovementioned EU Directives when applicable – this means that they have been assessed to meet the applicable safety, health and environmental protection requirements. For more information