Share this post

Why you should avoid clone cartridges

This post is sponsored by HP

If you are looking around for a replacement HP toner cartridge for your printer it is very tempting to simply price shop.  You look at the cost of the official cartridge and then at a clone version and notice the latter is cheaper.  You click buy.

But, this can be a mistake in many ways and, in the long run, it is highly unlikely you will have saved any money.  In all probability you will actually end up paying more.

What is a clone cartridge?

A clone cartridge will look similar to an official HP cartridge, however it will not produce the quality and quantity you would expect from a genuine product.

Types of clone cartridge

There are two different types of clone which you may come across:

Clone or new build

This is a cartridge manufactured to look like an original.  The manufacturer will use aftermarket parts and toner.

Reman or remanufactured

This is a used HP cartridge which sometimes has replacement parts fitted and is filled with non-HP toner.

compatible toner cartridge

How to spot a cloned HP cartridge

When trying to differentiate between official and cloned cartridges there are three main things to look at:


Clones can look very similar to official HP cartridges and of course remans will actually use an empty HP shell.  However, you can often tell a clone by looking at the labelling and there may also be small differences in colour and the notches on the cartridge.


Beware of any packaging, labelling or product descriptions which use phrases such as ‘compatible’ or ‘remanufactured’.  Official HP labels will also be absent from any packaging.


If something seems to be too good to be true than it usually is.  According to research carried out by HP cloned cartridges can be priced up to 70% cheaper than the official version.

If a price is very low it is a sure sign the cartridge is a clone.

Why you should avoid clone cartridges

The quality of cloned cartridges is often very low.  They are usually mass produced, often in China, and sold under different brand names.

The toner used in the cartridges is poor quality and not only will the final printed page be sub-standard but a clone cartridge can produce less than half the number of pages that an official cartridge will print.

original hp toner cartridge

By comparison original HP cartridges are tested for quality and undergo ISO yield testing to ensure they produce their advertised page yield.

Many clone cartridges won’t print at all.  A study commissioned by HP found nearly 50% of clone cartridges were dead on arrival or quickly failed compared to official cartridges which worked first time every time.

Another reason to avoid clones which isn’t immediately apparent is the impact on the environment.

Most cloned cartridges will finish up in landfill as, unlike HP, their manufacturers don’t have a recycling programme or any process for returning used cartridges.

Benefits of using official cartridges

There are many benefits from using original HP cartridges in your printer the most obvious of which is performance.

HP platinum partner logo

The toner used in HP cartridges is far superior to that used in clones and is specifically formulated for use with HP printers.  This produces nearly 50% more usable pages with a far higher print quality.

Of course the biggest argument put forward in favour of buying cloned cartridges is that they are so much cheaper than the official versions.  This is undeniably true.

However, when you take into account the number of spoiled or sub-standard pages and the lower number of printed pages produced the costs of the cloned cartridge begins to rise appreciably.

In addition there is the potential damage to your HP printer.  You could invalidate the warranty on your printer by using a cloned cartridge and, should damage occur which is attributable to the cartridge, HP will charge for the time and materials needed to service the printer.

Should you require any more reasons to only use original cartridges consider the environment.  HP are committed to responsible recycling and provide a free service to all customers with 17,000 tonnes of ink and toner cartridges recycled in 2016.

By contrast clone manufacturers do not provide such a service with most non-HP cartridges sadly ending up in landfill.

Official HP cartridges from

Here at Ebuyer we only sell genuine HP cartridges.  You can find a full selection of individual cartridges in mono and various colours along with multipacks in both standard and high-yield versions by clicking here.

Share this post


Add yours
  1. JT 15 July, 2017 at 13:48

    Nice add for hp but the price difference is so great I can save more than the cost of the printer after a couple of replacements

  2. Anonymous 15 July, 2017 at 21:33

    mass produced and made in China, what like most of the over-priced original toners.

  3. Adrian Morgan 20 July, 2017 at 08:52

    The easiest way to stop cloned toner/ink is for the big companies like Epsom, HP etc is to lower the cost of original consumables.
    I see on Ebuyer the other week a Ricoh colour laser printer where one of the replacements was as expensive as the unit itself.
    These huge companies shouldn’t be so expensive.

  4. Anonymous 20 July, 2017 at 08:54

    So HP stopped me using the printer and the scanner. I will not be buying any further HP products.

  5. Anonymous 20 July, 2017 at 09:06

    I have used cloned cartridges for the last 5 or 6 years and have not had any problems with these , I have an Epson WF3530 Printer and I can get 4 sets and 4 extra Black cartridges all XL for about £12 , Original cartridges are 4 or 5 times the price of these just for 1 set , the quality is excellent and the ink levels all register , I use about 2 sets of XL cartridges each month a saving of about £90 per month , the cost of the printer , Why buy the originals , ok you have to shop around , a good guide is to look at the reviews and the rating

  6. Anonymous 20 July, 2017 at 09:07

    Also if you buy compatible cartridges, all your friends and family will disown you, and you’ll come out in warts.

  7. JOJ 20 July, 2017 at 09:13

    I find it somwhat sad that a respected source of information has now been reveald to be motivated by comercial interest thus rendering any future hints or tips suspect & best ignored

  8. Anonymous 20 July, 2017 at 09:24

    The cost of manufacturer replacement laser and Inkjet new spares is outrageous. The main reason buy generics is cost I have had canon, Epson and Samsung generics with no problems over the years we are not cash cows to be milked by greedy manufacturers

  9. Alan 20 July, 2017 at 10:09

    I have used compatible toner for my, now very old, HP Colour Laserjet 4600 for years with no issues.

    The cartridges are huge and the HP originals are £920 for a full set whereas the compatibles are only £270. I get over the 8000 pages stated on them and the ink levels register fine on the printer and software and the print quality is great.

    This is the second time I’ve read a scaremongering story on here recently. This is just an advertising campaign, not a story.

    The company I use did send me out a cartridge once which was not great quality but once I informed them of the low quality, they sent a replacement one out next day which was perfect.

    Most importantly, the re-manufactured cartridges save the environment rather than chucking out more and more plastic into land-fill.

  10. Nick 20 July, 2017 at 10:24

    This article doesn’t address the obvious conflict of interest with its sponsor, making it completely untrustworthy.

  11. Anonymous 20 July, 2017 at 10:35

    Whilst I recognise that companies should make a fair profit HP cartridges just seemed a rip off – It was a choice of dumping the printer due to excessive ink costs or using clone cartridges, thus I used clones for several years perfectly satisfactorily (and charged with more ink than the HP versions) .
    Whilst no doubt someone in HP is getting accolades for the margins they are bringing in on printer ink, the downside is that I wont now buy any HP product.

  12. Anonymous 20 July, 2017 at 11:16

    To be fair, this post DOES say at the top of it “This post is sponsored by HP”. But it really should be posted making it more obvious it’s just an advert rather than a “true” blog post.
    As for “compatible” cartridges, I agree with everyone else here – been using compatibles in my HP and Epson printers for years without any issues at all.

  13. Anonymous 20 July, 2017 at 11:27

    Check out what consumer body WHICH UK has to say , before jumping to any foolhardy conclusions

  14. Anonymous 20 July, 2017 at 11:35

    This is just a case of ebuyer boosting the sales of HP products; wonder if they get a commission for it? I have often used clone cartridges for various manufacturer’s printers and never had any problems with them. As someone else pointed out, if the original manufacturers want to stop people using clones, then they should charge far more realistic (lower!) prices for their products.

  15. Stuart Mallion 20 July, 2017 at 13:04

    Being a retired PC Tech., I worked in a retail shop that was also an Epson dealer and can state from experience that some “compatible” cartridges have actually ruined really good printers. There use to be a company whose compatible ink was really good, so good in fact that Epson took out an injunction against them to stop them from producing ink carts for Epson printers.
    At the end of the day the manufacturers only have themselves to blame, when you consider you pay less for a litre of petrol than you would for a litre of ink, the mind boggles!
    Another part of the problem, IMHO, is printers are sold very cheaply, so in order to make up for the shortfall they make their cartridges expensive (When you think the cost of two multi-packs is virtually the cost of a new printer!). And then of course there’s the actual amount of ink you get for your “buck”. I’d rather buy a more expensive printer that isn’t going to be obsolete in a couple of years and pay for a cheaper cartridge with more ink in it.
    Which is pretty much why people go for the cheaper cartridges. As someone suggested look around and check out those with multiple good reviews, but be wary, it could cost you more in the long run.

  16. Chris Moore 12 September, 2017 at 16:23

    Colours First : I work for an OEM

    Secondly, we receive back, for repair under warranty, printers that have been loaded with clone carts. The clones have caused internal damage, and customers get really upset when we refuse to honour the warranties because of this. Yes some clones are “almost as good as originals” But in my factory, Almost means FAIL. We produce a high quality product, that is designed to function optimally in the device. We spend thousands of man hours on design and test. The moulds for the cartridge cases can cost millions. Pirates just use old carts.

    I can produce a fair tasting lager in my cellar. But if I shovelled it into second hand Heineken bottles and tried to sell it back to you, would you be so keen?

  17. A James 28 September, 2017 at 09:47

    Firstly PRICING – it is fair to say that “Orignal” Toners and Inks are the subject of much research and development as indeed are the printers themselves. However the sales model is the basic flaw here, they are marketed using the system pioneered by Gillete – “give away” the Razor and make your money on the consumables – so clearly they are not going to be happy about “clones”

    The majority of “remanufactued” and “comaptible” products are clearly marked and branded as such, many are now quite big names, and as in all products there are shoddy suppliers, the majority are not

    Bear in mind that HP et al have their cartridges manufactured in China and source from many of the same suppliers the “clones” use, so really is quality very different?

    The other point being the”clone” manufacturers usually produce one “full” cartridge, not using shady practices such as XL and “standard” , or tiny cartridge fills with a new product, so who are the good guys helping Joe Consumer here

  18. Steve 28 September, 2017 at 09:55

    Lager is lager as far as I can tell. If yours is fair tasting then that is more than acceptable. If its also 1/4 or 1/3 the normal price like compatible toners then Yes, I would buy it.
    Please advise how I can purchase your lager.

  19. Arg 28 September, 2017 at 10:05

    I use “Official” cartridges in my printer and the result is I avoid using the printer.
    If they lowered the price they would sell more cartridges its as simple as that!!!

  20. Frank Byrne 28 September, 2017 at 15:13

    HP and the like need to be brought under control. Ok, they can charge whatever they like for their product but when they start messing with software on purchasers printers afterwards to prevent the use of other brands that seems at best restrictive practice, and at worst downright illegal. They could undersell all the compatible manufacturers if they wished but greed makes them try to coerce users into using their overpriced product. Consider this: If I buy a new car, or a washing machine, I have the free market option of buying the manufacturers parts later, or, if I wish I can go to Amazon or eBay and get an equivalent part. My choice. What on earth would happen if on my next service the software on my car was reprogrammed to restrict my choice to Manufacturers parts only? Surely printer manufacturers are getting away with some dodgy practices here. Ebuyer should do the morally right thing here and distance itself from this sort of self proclaiming advertising.

  21. JJ 28 September, 2017 at 15:53

    Just imagine buying a car then finding out after a service that it would only run on a certain brand of fuel that was many times the price of what was available elswhere

  22. Del Rio 28 September, 2017 at 17:13

    I’ve had too many family members expecting me to fix their banding photo printers after they’ve been using compatible inks.
    These inks have been of such varying quality that some nozzles have blocked and it’s always on printers with non-replaceable printheads.
    I’ll never recommend compatible inks, it’s just not worth the headache.

Post a new comment