How Many Pages Can an Ink Cartridge Print?

If you do a lot of printing, you know how easy it is to run out of ink. Knowing how many pages you can expect to print from a cartridge helps ensure you always have a supply for your home or office needs.

However, many variables can affect this calculation, making it challenging to predict when you need to reorder. If you’re wondering how many pages can an ink cartridge print, you need to consider your print job size, settings and printing frequency.

Calculating the Page Yield

Page yield refers to the maximum number of pages a cartridge can print before running out of ink. Because there are many printer types and numerous cartridge brands, calculating the page yield is not straightforward. While manufacturers often display how many pages a cartridge can print on the back of the package, even this figure can be misleading.

Manufacturers base their calculation on 5 percent ink coverage of the total page surface. This figure equates to approximately ⅓ of a double-spaced text page, which isn’t a large amount of page coverage. Printing shaded areas, or having pages with a lot of text, can mean you’re using as much as 15 percent of the total surface area.

Stack of paper with CMYK scale

If the manufacturer states you can expect to print 3,000 pages at 5 percent coverage, but you use three times the amount of page space, you need to recalculate to get an accurate figure. This example simply divides the 3,000-page quote by 3, bringing the number of pages you can expect to print from that cartridge to 1,000 pages.

One of the most ink-heavy tasks occurs when printing photographs. In this scenario, you can use up to 80 percent of a page’s surface area, which changes the number of pages you can print with a single ink cartridge.

Factors Affecting Page Yield

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the major printer manufacturers agree on a standardized system for calculating your page yield. But other factors can affect how many pages an ink cartridge can print.

Factors Affecting Page Yield

Print Job Size

If you are printing a large document that runs into many pages, it’s more efficient to process this as a single job. If a printer warms when printing and cools again while waiting to process the next job, it performs less efficiently. This leads to using more ink than necessary and increases the printing cost.

Because the internal components can suffer from wear and tear, it’s best to keep them at a steady temperature, when possible, by printing a large job in one order. This means you are less likely to replace parts or require a printer servicing service before it is due.

Printing Frequency

While it is intuitive that the more you use your printer, the more ink you require, there is also an effect on ink requirements when your printer is idle for extended periods. When printers have been idle for an extended period, they often need their print heads cleaned. This process requires using small amounts of ink, but these can add up to a significant amount over time.

Unclogging print heads is necessary to produce sharp images and text, so it’s best to regularly use your printer to keep these components in good condition.

Printer Settings

If you’re printing high-quality commercial documents, you need to use the setting providing the best clarity. However, if you’re printing out text you are reading at home, it may be better to use a draft mode that uses much less ink. Although the quality may lower, it is still suitable for reading or viewing images.

businessman fixing cartridge in printer

Printer Age

Older printers experience more wear and tear, and the internal components are not as efficient as when they were brand new. There are also continuous advancements in printing technology, with manufacturers developing methods to print more pages using less ink at affordable prices.

If you find your printer is using ink less efficiently, it may be worth upgrading to a newer model. Although there is an upfront investment, using a newer printer can be significantly less expensive to run over an extended period.

Humidity Levels

Many people are unaware of how humidity levels can affect how many pages an ink cartridge can print. When there is high humidity, there is a lot of moisture in the air that can affect the page quality. A damp piece of paper allows ink to seep through when using an inkjet printer, which can cause blurry lines that make it challenging to read text.

If there is low humidity, there is less moisture in the air and paper can shrink and stick together, making the text and images look unsightly and difficult to separate. If your home or office’s atmospheric conditions are not conducive to economical printing, you can waste a considerable amount of ink.

It’s not always easy to control humidity levels, but you can increase the number of pages you can print from an ink cartridge by keeping the air quality neutral. If you have air conditioning, you can find the right balance between the amount of moist and dry air in the room. If you print in a room without air conditioning, it might be worth investing in a small fan to improve air circulation.

Color toners in the digital printer

Ink Cartridge Cost Per Page

The most common reason for calculating how many pages an ink cartridge can print is to find out the cost per page. Whether you publish in a commercial setting or use your printer at home, costs can spiral if you don’t keep track of the price per page. Several factors determine how much you pay per printed page, and you can significantly reduce printing costs by understanding how they come together to provide an overall price. Creating an Excel spreadsheet can help you record costs as they change, ensuring you can keep your costs within budget.

Cartridge Price

The cartridge price is straightforward; it’s the price you pay for the printer cartridge containing your ink. However, the different brands have various pricing strategies, so you may pay more for some cartridges than others.

Whether you are purchasing Brother printer ink or HP ink cartridges, you also need to consider the cartridge’s size. Some printer models use larger cartridges that don’t require replacing as often, but they come at a higher price because they contain more ink.

Replacing ink cartridges is the most expensive part of owning a printer. OEM cartridges are costly and may not be practical if you print on a large scale. However, they’re an excellent choice for a home office where you may only need to print documents once or twice per week.

If you’re looking for ways to lower your printer ink costs, remanufactured cartridges are a reliable option. Many remanufactured and compatible cartridges undergo the same stringent tests and quality control procedures as the original cartridges, making them a high-quality choice if you’re on a budget.

If you order ink in a commercial office, it’s beneficial to coordinate with different departments. Rather than ordering ink separately, you can obtain lower rates by combining your requirements and placing a bulk order.

Digital printing machine during production

Paper Cost

Printer paper can be expensive, but you also need to balance price with the need for value. Paper quality is paramount when using an inkjet printer because the sheet needs to prevent the ink from soaking into the surface. It’s unlikely you’ll need a premium paper that can cost up to $0.10 per sheet, but even average-quality paper can cost around $0.01 per sheet, so the costs can quickly mount up with large print jobs.

While you can reduce your paper’s cost by buying in bulk, it’s important not to purchase inferior-quality paper. Because the printing standard reduces with lower-quality paper, you can end up using a lot of ink to print considerably fewer pages.

Once you have the individual prices that make up your printing costs, you can calculate how much you pay to print a single sheet of paper. By dividing the printer cartridge cost by the page yield and adding the paper cost, you can identify your printing outlay per sheet.

For example, consider a printer cartridge that costs $60, and the page yield is 3,000. The paper cost is $0.02 per page. The calculation is 60 / 3,000 + $0.02 = $0.04 per printed sheet. If you know this is the price you pay each time you print a single page, you can calculate the costs to prepare a weekly or monthly printing budget. A less expensive cartridge will lower your cost per page.

Number of Color Pages Per Ink Cartridge

While printing using a black and white cartridge produces many pages and is relatively inexpensive, this can change when printing in color. Besides the black ink cartridge, magenta, cyan and yellow cartridges combine to produce the final result.

If you are trying to calculate how many pages an ink cartridge prints, you need to incorporate each color cartridge. Bright and colorful images require more ink, so you use more ink per printed page. You can use a straightforward formula to accurately calculate your color printing costs.

Color cost-per-print

Cartridge cost of one color cartridge ÷ page yield of one color cartridge x 3 + paper cost  = color cost-per-print

If we use a color cartridge cost of $60, a page yield of 2,000 and a paper sheet cost of $0.02, our calculation is 60 / 2000 x 3  + $0.02 =  $0.11 per printed sheet.

The number of pages you can print using color ink cartridges varies, depending on the images’ size and resolution. Pictures cover more page surface area. Because they require a substantial amount of ink from more cartridges, you can quickly find supplies running low.

Because graphics often require more of one ink color than another, you may find you need to replace some ink cartridges more often. In this scenario, it’s beneficial to order an in-demand color in bulk to save costs.

If you are using a cheaper printer, you could find the long-term costs are higher than using a more expensive model. High-end color printers can often print at a lower cost per page because they are more efficient, making them an excellent investment if you intend to use the printer for several years.

Printer Cartridge Brands

So, how many pages can an ink cartridge print? It varies by brand. The answer to which brand offers more printed pages per cartridge is complicated and comes down to what you’re printing, what printer you’re using and your equipment’s condition. All the major printer brands offer outstanding quality, and it’s now possible to use remanufactured ink cartridges to get even better value for money.

For printing in color, consider Epson vs. HP printers for photos and high-resolution images. Epson consistently performs better when printing photos, posters and other color-saturated materials without significantly affecting the page yield. However, for home office use, HP has a range of compact, affordable models that offer economical color and black-and-white printing.

Color toners in digital printer

Which brand is most suitable for your needs usually comes down to personal preference. When you are happy with the print quality and ease of use, you can calculate the number of pages you can get from each cartridge. If the figures are acceptable, you can aim to increase the value by shopping for discount cartridges that come in a more affordable price range than OEM brands.

You can also choose long-life printer cartridges based on environmental concerns. Many ink cartridge components do not degrade, meaning they stay in landfills, potentially harming the environment. At InkJetSuperStore, our recycled ink cartridges reduce unnecessary waste.

We stand by our recycled ink cartridges’ integrity, with a 12-month guarantee, and we refill each unit with exacting ink formulations. Because we employ high-quality control standards when creating our cartridges, you can be confident you are sourcing cost-effective and high-quality inks.

Laser Printers vs. Inkjet Printers

If you engage in high-volume printing, a laser printer is ideal. Using toner rather than ink, a laser printer can produce a greater amount of pages of documents from a single cartridge. However, when printing high-definition images such as photos, you may find a more detail-oriented inkjet printer is the better option.

You can purchase an inkjet printer that uses different cartridges for each color, increasing the number of printed pages you can achieve from each unit.

Wide range of choices

Contact InkJetSuperStore

At InkJetSuperStore, we provide inks and toners ideal for small and large printing needs. Our wide range of OEM and remanufactured cartridges offers the best choice, at price points that suit every budget. You can save even more money with a bulk order discount on printer ink and toner cartridges.


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Answering Bulk Order Questions: Can Printer Ink Go Bad?


Printer ink is a vital supply for school, office and home use, especially if you frequently handle hard copies of documents. If your office has multiple printers, one or more of them might go unused for a few weeks, but you still need printer ink on hand for fast printing.

Many organizations and families have concerns about printer ink expiring. Although printer ink formulations have improved considerably, they will still expire even if you store them properly. If you’ve wondered, “Can printer ink go bad?” take advantage of these tips for storing printer ink to prolong its shelf life and avoiding problems with your printer.

Quality and Damage Concerns

Dye-based and pigment-based inkjet cartridges can dry up within a few years and usually have an expiration date printed on their box. This is true across all inkjet printer brands because they all use similar properties in their inks, so even quality brands like Brother ink can still dry out over time.

Your printer ink may continue to function even after your ink’s quality has degraded or after the expiration date, which can cause the print quality to drop dramatically. Printed pages may come out with streaks, blotches or colors missing.

If your print quality suffers significantly before you realize it, you may need to take advantage of tips on how to remove ink from paper to salvage your prints. For cheap and quick print jobs, just wait until the printer cartridge is replaced and re-print the document.

There is also a serious risk of damaging the print heads if the ink is dry and expired. Printer heads are precise and delicate. If the system tries to push dried-up ink through them, it can cause enough damage to require extensive repairs.

It’s always safest to replace the cartridges rather than risk the chance of damage. Remove the cartridges and recycle them, taking care to avoid any drips or smudges from the remaining ink.

Used cartridges are removed to replace new ones.

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Contributing Factors

HP ink and other brands have built-in monitors on their printers to estimate when your printer ink has expired or is about to. However, your ink can dry up before the expiration date if environmental conditions are less than optimal.

Printer ink is designed to operate at average room temperatures — typically around 68°F–75°F. It’s specifically engineered for this temperature range to avoid leaks and other problems associated with the ink being too runny.

Colder temperatures cause the ink to solidify, although it may warm back up and return to normal. Warmer temperatures may make the ink dry up completely within a few months.

Unopened ink lasts much longer than opened ink because of the special packaging manufacturers use. Avoid opening printer ink packaging until you’re ready to replace your cartridge, or the aging process will accelerate earlier than necessary.

How to Store Properly

The long- and short-term storage locations of your ink make a huge difference to its lifespan. Start by checking the temperature in any area of your office or home where a printer is located. If this area is vulnerable to drafts or is in direct sunlight, consider moving the printer to a location where the temperature is normal and consistent.  

Storage closets and cabinets are potentially a problem for long-term storage if they are not properly cooled or heated. Consider moving a small cabinet close to your desk or another area where temperatures are more consistently regulated.

If you have a printer that won’t be used for several months, remove the cartridges and store them in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel. Ensure the paper towel doesn’t touch the nozzles directly since it can make the nozzles leak.

Online purchase delivery service concept. Cardboard parcel box delivered outside the door. Parcel on the door mat near entrance door. 3d rendering

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Can Printer Ink Go Bad? Is Ordering in Bulk a Good Idea?

Many people think of bulk ordering as only good for wholesalers or large companies, but anyone can take advantage of a bulk discount. Although the exact definition of a bulk order varies between retailers, some offer discounts for orders of three or more of the same cartridge. 

The discount adds up fast when you are buying multiple ink colors, especially if you are buying for multiple printers. Add toner for your laser printer into the same order to get everything delivered to your door for the lowest price possible.

This means bulk ordering is a smart option for you, whether you print photos at home regularly or you’re ordering for an entire corporate headquarters. You can even customize the number of cartridges you get in each color to match your current needs.

As long as you take good care of your printer ink, buying bulk ink can help you save money and avoid suddenly running out of ink. 

Your Best Source for Bulk Ink

With these tips for printer ink storage, you’ll be set to make the most of your purchases from InkJetSuperStore. We offer bulk discounts for a huge range of printers, ranging from popular brands like Epson and Canon to lesser-known brands common in older printers. 

A History Guide: Where Does Printer Ink Come From?

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Printer ink is one of the most critical supplies for workplaces around the world. While many companies are transitioning to paperless offices, ink remains an essential facet in most administrative settings. For anyone who’s ever worked in a role where printing is part of their job, it’s normal to wonder “Where does printer ink come from?” 

In short, ink is a partially liquid substance that contains a colorant and is used to create images, drawings or text. It comes in several thicknesses suited to various uses. Light or thin inks are used to draw or write using pens, pencils or brushes. Thicker inks can take the form of a paste and are often used in letterpresses and lithographic printing. 

Modern inks are generally placed into two main categories: printer ink and writing ink. The type of ink you find in Canon ink cartridges differs significantly from the ink found in a ballpoint pen. 

Where Did Ink Originate?

Many ancient civilizations used natural ingredients to create ink and paint for writing and drawing. The very first ink used by humans is believed to have come from China. It was made using carbon black, which is a common black pigment produced by charring or burning. This was readily available from fires. 

The Egyptian and Chinese cultures created more advanced variations of ink. In Ancient Egypt (26th century BC), they used red and black inks for writing and drawing on papyrus. These inks were made using iron- or ocher-based pigments, various salt-based ions and lead. 

The inks developed by Egyptian and Chinese civilizations were the earliest versions of the ink used in modern society. The manufacturing process involved mixing materials using a pestle and mortar, and then pouring the mixture into a ceramic dish for drying. A wet brush liquefied the ink for use. 

Technicians are install setup the ink cartridge of a inkjet printer the device of office automate for printing

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Modern Printer Ink

The most common types of printers today are laser and inkjet printers. If you’ve ever been tasked with the responsibility of finding out how to put ink in a printer, you’ll quickly realize these printers need certain types of ink to operate. Since they function differently, you can’t substitute ink varieties. 

Laser printers use a powdered laser printer toner instead of an ink cartridge. The cartridge dispenses toner onto a printer drum. The laser within these printers changes the drum’s electric charge and essentially melts the toner powder onto a material to make a print. They are more expensive than inkjet printers, and the toner cartridges are pricier as well. However, they are cheaper to run (per page) and print faster. 

Inkjet printers operate using regular ink cartridges. They spray microscopic droplets of ink onto print materials to create text documents, images or photos. Inkjet printers are mostly found in households. 

How Is Modern Printer Ink Made?

Depending on the brand, modern printer ink is made using a variety of substances. The exact ingredients can vary if the ink is intended for a specific use, such as photo printing.

However, most printer inks have a foundation of the pigment carbon black. This is the same core ingredient used in the first inks from ancient China. This substance is added to using colorants, solvents and vehicles or binders. 

For functionality, printer ink uses dispersants and resins. Dispersants enable the ink to flow effectively, allowing for an easy transfer during printing. Resins are added to the mix to give the ink binding properties, and multiple resins are often used to give specific textures to a print. 

CMYK Toner mixed on white background

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Colored Printer Ink

Printer ink is colored predominantly using pigment or dye. Pigment inks are more common than dye-based inks; however, they are more expensive and lack consistency and range of color. Pigments must be ground to ensure a smooth spread across a surface. They also add chemical resistance to temperature, light and other solvents. 

Dye-based inks are more capable of producing color due to the density per unit of mass. They dissolve during the liquid phase, meaning they often soak into paper, distorting an image. To counteract this, dye-based inks made with solvents speed up the drying process. 

Taking Care of Your Ink and Printing Needs

As a leading supplier of ink for personal or large-scale business projects, InkJetSuperStore is your go-to for printing supplies. We stock a wide range of printer ink and toners from the top brands, ensuring you have exactly what you need for any upcoming tasks.

We cater to every budget. If you’re buying in bulk, we offer excellent discounts, helping you and your business save money. 

The Best Large Format Printers of 2021

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Large format printers are a critical tool for many businesses requiring sizable print jobs, including large promotional materials, marketing collateral and more. These handy printers are essential for printing bigger and aesthetically pleasing pieces standard printers simply can’t perform.  Continue reading “The Best Large Format Printers of 2021”

How to Select the Right Weight of Printer Paper

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The weight of your printer paper is an important consideration for every print job. It can affect the look of the final document and impact the way your printer functions. However, with so many types available, it can be challenging to determine your publication’s correct paper weight.  Continue reading “How to Select the Right Weight of Printer Paper”

What Are the Best Color Laser Printers for Photos?

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Not all printers are created equal. Some are better for printing fast, high-quality black-and-white documents, while others excel at creating beautiful photos. Before purchasing a printer, decide what you’ll use it for the most. For example, if you’re a fan of scrapbooking, you may want a printer that can give you crisp pictures without taking hours to do so.  Continue reading “What Are the Best Color Laser Printers for Photos?”

How to Check Toner Level and Replace When Low

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If you have a long document you need to print, you don’t want to leave the room and come back to an out-of-ink message and only half your pages printed. Luckily, it’s easy to check and see how much toner you have left and take action if you need to replace it.  Continue reading “How to Check Toner Level and Replace When Low”

What Is the Best Printer with the Cheapest Ink Cartridges? 

There’s never a good time to find out you’re low on printer ink, or worse, you’ve entirely run dry. Beyond the hassle of ordering more ink, printing when the cartridge is low can damage your printer and result in poor quality documents and images. With so many people working from home or not having easy access to the office, being able to print documents readily and not break the bank on ink costs is essential.  Continue reading “What Is the Best Printer with the Cheapest Ink Cartridges? “