How Many Pages Can an Ink Cartridge Print?

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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