Do I really need to buy Brother toner cartridges

I need to replace my toner cartridge again. There is a huge difference between Brother cartridges and off brands. I’ve usually stayed with Brother as that seemed safest. What are the pros and cons of using off brands? What do you do when buying toner?


Aftermarket cartridges might work just fine. Plenty of people (including a former employer of mine) used them without problem for quite a long time.

The catch is that there is no guarantee that it is manufactured to the correct specifications. Potential issues regarding toner include:

  • Colors are not exactly the same as Brother’s colors. So the color balance of pictures may not look 100% right. You might be able to work around this by generating a custom color profile for the toner and then use it instead of the printer’s built-in color settings.
  • The toner might not be ground to the same density. If it is too coarse, you may find less-than-ideal resolution especially on curves, text at small point sizes and halftoning. I don’t know if too-fine toner will cause a problem.
  • If the composition doesn’t match, the fuser temperature may not be right for it. If the temperature is too low for the toner, it won’t stick to the paper properly.

Unlike an ink-jet printer, I don’t think low quality toner can cause damage (e.g. clogged heads in ink-jet printers).

If you want to give it a try, I think it should be fine. If the print quality is good enough, stick with it. If not, switch back to genuine toner and accept that that’s how much you’re going to pay.

BTW, be sure to shop around. I’ve found that (for my Brother laser printer) I can get a set of four genuine Brother toner cartridges from Amazon for about $100 less than buying the same set from a retail store like Staples.

I’ve always stuck with HP cartridges for our HP printer for two big reasons. At two places I’ve worked, as well as some people I know, ended up having problems with a printer after using off brand cartridges, and the manufacturer wouldn’t help when a problem arose because it was caused by an unauthorized cartridge. And at another former job, the owner bought an off brand cartridge, and the documents did not print as well. So I’m risk adverse about off brand, and we do sometimes have to send out documents we’ve printed. But if other people can recommend a good off brand source it could be worth a try.

Using a simple Brother b/w laser printer (Brother HL-L2360D) I never experienced any problems with (cheaper) off brand toners. Try it!


Thanks to all who replied. I appreciate the advice.

I had a Brother black and white printer and had no issues using cloned toner. However, for a color laser I had, they eventually caused the printer to die. It was an accumulation of toner inside the printer that caused all sorts of printing problems. (In theory it’s cleanable, but it’s not easy to do and you have to do in the dark as you can’t expose the drum to light without ruining it.)

I now have a Brother color laser and I only buy genuine cartridges for that. Expensive, but I print very little (for anything in quantity it is cheaper/better to use a print service like Staples).

I have two Brother B&W laser printers which are approaching 10 years of service.

I always use the official cartridges. I would rather do that than wonder if my printer died prematurely because I had used a knock-off. Fortunately I don’t print that often, so it’s a minimal expense.

Never had any issues with them, which is exactly what I want from our relationship.

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I have a Brother color laser and a Brother black and white laser printer I’ve had for 8 and 10 years. I finally wet to non-Brother cartridges about 5 years ago because I retired and could not afford Brother’s monopolistic exorbitant prices. I’ve had no problems but it also helps having a skilled son-in-law who can fix any problems I may have. I DO however buy Brother drums.

I meant to add that I have found Brother printers to be excellent and have had no problems with any I have owned.

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Thank you. I’ve just purchased a non-Brother cartridge to try it out. The price difference is huge. Brother is $115 from Amazon while a 2 pk of a generic brand is $44. It’s worth a try. I’ll keep in mind buying a branded drum when I need it.

Thanks to everyone else who commented.

Good luck. I’ve been buying 3rd-party toner cartridges for my b/w HP LaserJet at home for a long time and never suffered any issues. The price difference is huge, at least a factor 3, and if you buy double packs probably more like factor 5. I just make sure to choose a product with lots of good reviews. So far, all good. If this were a professional $3k printer I might be more concerned, but it’s a consumer device. Even if a bad toner ruined it now, a new printer would still be far less than all the money I’ve saved in the meantime not wasted on HP’s overpriced toner.

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That’s a fair point, too. Brother’s B&W laser printers are pretty reasonably priced.

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Just got a (used) Brother color laser printer that came with three new high capacity Brother toner cartridges. Anyone have thoughts about using after-market black toner as needed? Might that be reasonably safe? We use black far more frequently than color.

I bought a third-party toner cartridge, and it was okay, but the prints were noticeably lighter than the official cartridge. It was fine for Amazon labels and such, but I only buy the official ones now.

I buy these for my Canon monochrome.
Havn’t had an issue in 10 years.

I’ve been using a Brother B&W printer with generic printer cartridges and drum units for about 10 years now, and it still runs with minimal problems. I also use electrical tape on the cartridge to fool the sensor that monitors remaining toner, because some toner usually remains. That said, I’ve been printing less and less over the last few years. So I still have two unused toner cartridges sitting in my storeroom.

How’d you get the generic drum unit to work? I bought one and the printer just gave an error message that it wasn’t authentic and I never could get past that, though I tried all the reset sequences posted on Amazon comments and elsewhere on the web. Nothing worked.

Since buying a Brother drum cost more than the original printer, I ended up buying a whole new printer (a color laser) instead. I’m only using Brother toner with it to avoid problems. But I print so little, it’s not too bad, and it’s a business expense.

But I still have the perfectly good old b/w unit with a drum that doesn’t work. It would be nice to figure out how to get it working if possible.

Now that you raise the question, I am not certain if I got the no-name drum working or just bought another one. I only had to replace the drum one time, and that was seven years ago. I remember it was a struggle to get it running then, but I’m not sure if I was able to get the replacement running or had to buy a second.

First time I went to replace the cartridges in my Brother color laser and they cost more than I paid for the printer in the first place, it was an easy decision to go with third party. They always worked fine. Eventually switched to an HP, which is a much better printer!