How can we differentiate one from the other, or should we say is there such a difference between these two products? Let's try to find out by giving you guys a brief description about these third party printer consumables.
Starting with the remanufactured cartridges, as I myself use it with most of my printers at work. Not everyone who uses it knows that they are actually made from worn out or rather used tanks of original cartridges. For example, if you've got a lot of empty Lexmark toner cartridges or ink cartridges, you can send them out to your respective manufacturer for recycling purposes. That's right, just like any other plastic bottles out there, toner and ink cartridges are also recycled, thus producing remanufactured cartridges. Why are they cheaper if it's also made from original materials? Simply because, it doesn't require them to use virgin materials for the production, instead they utilize those returned cartridges from their customers, saving them time, money and energy.
Now with the compatibles, these are literally third party products. Although they not substandard, I mean it depends on the quality testing they run. Anyhow, unlike with remanufactured cartridges, compatibles are brand new printer cartridges, but not branded. Manufactured on a different process over OEMs, yet still they work and function the same way as branded cartridges do. Whilst it provides similar benefits like remanufactured, which is to give savings to all consumers. However, if we're talking about which is more environment friendly, I'd still go for the remanufactured toner cartridges and ink cartridges, since they're made from use materials instead of new resources.
Occasional errors and print failures is inevitable, whatever type of cartridges you're using, believe me, any remanufactured or compatible cartridge may lead to print problems as much as OEM products might cause. So which one is more preferable on your choice? Regardless of what type you choose, or you would still like to stick with the OEM, please do recycle your printer cartridges as much as possible, to protect the environment.