Refilling your own toner cartridges is a good way to keep costs down without sacrificing print quality. Most cartridges can go through two to three refills before they show any deterioration, and some can handle even more. Plus, by refilling your own cartridges instead of buying third-party refills, you control the toner quality and type.
Whether you figure it by the price per cartridge or the price per page, refilling your own toner helps you stay within your budget. All you need to do is find or create a fill hole in the cartridge, then use a funnel to pour a new bottle of toner into the empty space. Reseal the fill hole using either the plug that came with the cartridge or a piece of aluminium tape designed for the purpose, and you're ready to print again.
Not all toner refills are the same, of course. You'll need to find a type that's compatible with your cartridge, and which will produce good quality prints reliably. Avoid generic toner, though. There's no one toner that will work well with every kind of printer. Brands that advertise themselves as 'all purpose' are likely to produce mediocre results on every machine.
You may have trouble with bargain toner brands, as well. The very cheapest toner may seem like another great way to save money. However, many of them do not work as well as a slightly more expensive brand, producing light print or uneven results. Remember - you're already saving plenty by refilling instead of replacing. Do some research before you choose your refill toner, to ensure you're getting the best option for your printer.
Colour laser printers create a slightly greater challenge, since you have multiple toner colours to manage. Most machines will use three different colour toners: cyan, magenta and yellow, as well as the same black toner used by monochrome printers. Many machines use a separate cartridge for each colour, so the refill process is the same as for single-colour printers.
Take care if you own a very new printer, however. Manufacturers have begun to equip their toner cartridges with smart chips that monitor the toner levels inside. These chips make it easy to tell when you're out of toner, but must be reset or replaced if you refill the cartridge. Otherwise, the chip keeps reading the cartridge as empty, and won't activate the printer. You can buy resetting devices or new chips from a number of suppliers, making the refill process extremely simple.
Why refill your own instead of buying re-manufactured? While a commercially refilled cartridge costs a lot less than a new one, it's still an expensive choice. The cost savings of filling your own printer cartridges is still greater. Third-party refilled cartridges are even cheaper than OEM-certified refills, but their quality can be suspect. When you do your own refills, you know what's going into the cartridge, and you know the job's being handled responsibly.
There's no reason not to refill your own laser printer cartridges at home or at the office. You'll save money, control your toner quality and keep on printing, even after the printer manufacturer's cartridge has run dry.