Everyone has experienced it at some point – you’re in the middle of a project and you get that dreaded “low toner” warning. Most cartridges fall short of the page yield reported in the product specs, but that’s not because they’re improperly filled or labeled. Within the printer industry, page yields are calculated based on a 5% average page coverage. In other words, when technicians perform print tests to determine the page yield of a given product, they’re printing about a paragraph worth of text. If you’re printing full-page text documents or color images, your actual page yield will be substantially lower.
Diagnosis: You could be running low on toner, or your printer may just preemptively warn you that your toner levels are low. Many printers come with toner level monitors, but the accuracy of those measurements varies tremendously from one printer model to the next, even within the same brand or printer series. Some cartridges that are recognised as being empty by printers still contain as much as 60% of the toner inside! If you’re convinced your cartridges could be lasting longer, you do have several options that may help you improve your cartridge life.
- Try removing your toner cartridge and gently shaking it. If there is any toner stuck to the walls of your cartridge, shaking it gently will help remove that toner. It can also distribute the toner more evenly throughout the cartridge.
- Avoid using color toner unless you have to. Generally speaking, black cartridges have a higher page yield than color cartridges, and they typically cost less than color cartridges (though neither generalisation is an absolute). You’ll also save more toner, as you’ll only have to replace the black cartridge instead of having to replace the entire set.
- Not all cartridge models come in a high-yield version, but if you’re able to get cartridges with a higher page yield, you’ll get more print work per cartridge. You may have to pay a little more for a high-yield unit, but you will ultimately save money when compared to the cost per page of using a standard-capacity
Solution: Opt for high-yield toner cartridges whenever possible. Ultimately, though, the best way to get more toner out of your cartridges is to keep printing until you notice substantial fading on your print work.