What is Page Yield and why does it matter?


How many pages can a cartridge print – one of the first questions you should ask yourself when buying ink or toner. The larger the cartridge yield, the less often would you have to replace it. Logical, however not entirely true. The ink or toner consumption may not match the estimated manufacturer’s specifications. And sometimes, it is a rather significant difference (instead of the 2000 pages estimated by the printer manufacturer, you will only be able to get 700-800 pages out of the cartridge).

In this article, we will discuss how many pages the cartridge lasts and how to extend its life without losing out on print quality.

Page yield is the number of pages you can print with one cartridge. It is only meant to give you a guide to the maximum number of pages an ink or toner cartridge can print and not the exact number that it will print. When you buy a new printer, it will typically come with a sample ink or toner cartridge. This cartridge does not last for long and will eventually need to be either refilled or replaced. Even if the printer manual says that ink replacement will be required after 2-2.5 thousand printed pages, the first cartridge will only last for a short time. One of the main incomes for printer manufacturers is consumable ink and toner. In 90% of the cases, the first cartridge is only half full.

Example: The user manual for HP LaserJet 1018 indicates that the printer comes with a laser toner cartridge that is estimated at 2000 pages. From our tests, the first toner replacement was needed after only 1000 pages.

On average, a laser toner cartridge is estimated to last between 2000-25000 pages (at 5% page coverage). Ink cartridges are estimated to last 200-300 pages (at 5% page coverage).

This number of pages is calculated based on ‘5% page coverage.’ The 5% page coverage standard has been in place for years across our industry. This means only 5% of the printed page is covered with ink or toner. That means no bold characters, no graphics, and no images.

What affects page yield?

The main reason for the fast consumption of toner is printing with a page coverage of more than 5%. But other factors affect the operational life of the cartridge.

Many other variables have to be taken into account when measuring page yield:

 – Type of paper used
 – Type of printer
 – Print mode and driver setting
 – Software application used
 – Conditions such as ambient temperature, humidity, and frequency of printing
 – Condition of the printer

How to extend the life of a laser printer cartridge:

Improper use is one of the reasons for early cartridge replacement. When used correctly, it is easy to save on the cost of printer supplies. Here are some of the most common ways to extend the life of your cartridge:

 – Print drafts (in draft mode) without bold, in gray colors.
 – Before printing, go over the document and remove any unnecessary pictures or photos.
 – Do not use color printing more often than necessary.
 – Use the features recommended by the manufacturer. For example, the HP LaserJet 1018 printer has the EconoMode option. When activated, the toner consumption is significantly reduced and, as a result, the life of the cartridge is increased.
 – Follow the operating guidelines; Maintain a regulated temperature/humidity of the working environment, turn off the device if not used for an extended time. If you have an inkjet printer that is not used regularly, turn it on periodically and print several sheets so that the ink does not dry.