Renewable Toner Cartridge


Renewable Toner Cartridge: a reader asks…

I have a question regarding replacing the toner cartridge in my older HP laser printer.  It takes a 49A HP…I see where I can order one “renewable” toner compatible to 49A on Amazon, but will the printer refuse to operate if it’s not a genuine HP cartridge? I know my  HP Envy 5660 printer  won’t let me replace the cartridge with anything renewed!  Does this make sense?  Obviously the price is considerably cheaper on the “remake” one.  I don’t want to buy it if you think the printer won’t let me insert this renewed one!  I don’t trust them…I will either pay $100 or more for a new cartridge or only $30 or less for this compatible one….Seems to good to be true!


While I’m quite aware that printer manufacturers have shifted their business model to make money on consumables (e.g., the toner and ink cartridges) rather than the purchase price of the printer, I’m still wary of buying any off-brand, knock-off, refurbished, or ‘renewable’ supplies that don’t come from the printer manufacturer. While the cost savings are significant, there are risks that I think make the savings simply not worth it.

You don’t need to worry about voiding your printer warranty since you say it is an ‘old’ printer. But you do want to make sure that the printer continues to work, and that’s where cheap toner cartridges can end up costing you more. Similar to auto parts, lithiom-ion laptop batteries, and other precision parts, if your toner cartridge isn’t manufactured to pretty exacting tolerances in the specifications, you might get malfunctions. Such malfunctions could be simply poor quality printing, it might also leak toner into the guts of your printer, it might cause a moving part in your printer to break, and it might not last as long as the genuine article.



While some folks swear by these cheap replacement toner cartridges, it really comes down to a matter of opinion, and preferably one based on experience. I have actually used these non-standard products in the past, and have been burned by their cheap quality and lackluster performance. Once to the point that the printer was no longer usable and had to be replaced. So nowadays I don’t take chances and purchase my inkjet and toner cartridges from the printer manufacturer. I recognize that others may have had perfectly fine experiences, which simply means that sometimes the risk pays off – you save money and don’t suffer any consequences. To me that is a personal judgement call, and one only you can make. My recommendation is to pay the premium for a genuine HP toner cartridge.


  1. Curt Sandler

    I believe that toner cartridge kit is a replacement for the black stuff not the cartridge itself. Therefore, the printer shouldn’t balk when the cartridge is replaced.

    • Thanks for your comment Curt, while the picture I used is for toner, the text answers the op’s question about using 3rd party toner cartridges. I should have used a different picture.

      That said, your assumption that refilling an HP toner cartridge using a toner kit like the one pictured is generally incorrect. The cartridge circuitry will notify the printer if it has been tampered with (such as refilling), kicking off a ‘non-genuine’ warning.

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