2024 - Color Laser Printers - Which models are easiest to refill toner cartridges?


Getting Fingers Dirty
Oct 31, 2018
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Pro-100, 3800/80, R2400, 7880
See this post attachment is my best quality I can get with aftermarket with minor horizontal tear.

I tried refilling and it just too messy and no good way for these newer toner cartridges to plug-up the hole after you cut it out. Too leaky and you still get poor performance for poor aftermarket toner choice. I think they intentional design the cartridges so where you have to cut interfere with how the cartridge are installed.

If you are getting a new printer, expect to wait at least 2-3 years before a "decent" (not "quality") aftermarket toner cartridge to hit the market. Then wait another 1-2 years before price drop to more reasonable price. So if you buy new, try to stretch that starter kit for 5 years lol. Else expect to pay an OEM set for more than the cost of your printer.

My recommendation is to look on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and buy a used unit. That way it already burned the 3-5 years timeframe. Then go to Amazon and look for aftermarket cartridges with good reviews and customer service. In the event if your cartridge becomes leaky/explode, or yield result much below acceptable, you are abled to exchange for another one. Expect your prestine laser printer to get toner bomb and it is a PITA to clean the IBT belt. This is the only if you really want laser from my personal experience of buying a new unit on sale, lol. Full of regret! I lost about +$200 on after market refill toner, soldering iron cutter, aftermarket cartridge lol. I still have spare refill unopened toners CYMK if you want them for free, just pay for shipping lol. I bought Canon but I heard folks have better luck with Brothers and its aftermarket carts.

In the recent month, I explored with the Canon Maxify MB 2320 (older, no Eco-Tank) and extremely happy (10/10) with the inkjet. The pressurized ink system really clear out clog and air trap quickly! Avoid aftermarket refillable cartridge since they change the design to natural air respiration vs open-loop pressurized system. Some aftermarket cartridge are pressurized with spring load poppet valves and these are golden for refilling! Else, OEM cart refill is good but there is no spring loaded poppet valve thus ink can easily be leak out if not taped up after refilling/lay flat. I am trying to hunt for a MB 5420 for auto duplex ADF. Maxify MB series uses the same printhead. A brand new OEM sealed printhead is around $130 on ebay.

Edit: Too bad you are in the bay area. This looks like a good deal! https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/377631728238245?ref=search&referral_code=null&referral_story_type=post&tracking=browse_serp:fb615147-324a-4647-a3e3-abca71d01887
Typical price range of used laser color is around $100-$150. I target units for fax function too!
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Printer Master
Dec 27, 2010
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Been a while since this thread was active but I thought it might be useful to document my foray into laser printers.
I recently bought the Brother MFC-L8690-CDW printer. I spent most of a week researching the various brands, aftermarket carts, which ones had chips etc. I alwys returned to the Brother brand in the end.

The Brother has a proven track record of being a fairly reliable machine, has good quality aftermarket carts available for a decent price, and came with 3 Year on site warranty.

Just before the printer was despatched the company rang me to try and persuade me to take a HP laser instead. A quick google showed it has chipped carts and also no aftermarket caerts available. Their comment was that the Brother was "old tech" and not very popular.

I mentioned this to a big supplier of refill kits and he laughed and told me that the 8690 had been their most reliable printer in their own business and had gone through 5 years of daily printing with refills and aftermarket carts and no issues.

I also learned that 3-4 refills of a cart are the safe limit before replacing with a new set of aftermarket carts.
Given the amount of printing I do these days (very small amounts) I made the jump to a laser as I was tired unclogging inkjets every few weeks.

I can get a reliable set of four Laser carts for the Brother for £60 so I'm not even thnking of refilling, except maybe for the black cart and only then if my B/W printing increases significantly.

Downside is that it is a big machine but since it lives in one place in the little home office it doesn't matter as it is not being moved from room to room.