Page Coverage & Page Yield

The Concept of Page Coverage

My cartridge prints 600 pages at 5% page coverage – What does that mean?

You’ve most likely been disappointed by the fact that your cartridge hasn’t run as long as the manufacturer claimed it should.

Almost all the ink and toner cartridges mention 5% page coverage, yet buyers don’t have a slightest of idea what it means. In todays post will be discussing how to calculate  page coverage, page yield, and the reason why cartridges and ink toners do not print the number of pages it says that it should!

Page Coverage and Page Yield
Page Coverage and Page Yield

What is 5% Page Coverage?

International organization for standardization (ISO) introduced a standard measuring concept of page coverage that helped consumers understand the exact page yield for a toner or cartridge. Using this standard, we are able to differentiate the product with respect to the cost per print.  The main intent behind standardization was to provide grounds basis which the judgement could be made. 5% page coverage implies the area of an A4 size paper that would be totally filled with ink. A black and white document with a 5% page coverage implies that 5% of the page is filled with ink and the remaining 95% is white.

Of course this is not an accurate basis for judging the number of pages a refill can print, it also depends upon the type of printer being used, font and the content to be printed. Yet it provides a standard comparison before purchasing a product.

5% Page Coverage Examples

Almost all the manufacturers mention 5% coverage on the back while marketing their products. This means only 5% of the whole page is covered with ink without any graphics, pictures and highlighted fonts. Without this parameter it would become quite difficult to analyse the count of pages any cartridge could yield.

Let us look at an actual A4 page with 5% page coverage for better understanding.

5% Page coverage Example
5% Page coverage Example

As shown above, only 5% of the entire A4 sized page is utilized by the content, the rest of the page is blank. The page yield is generally calculated basis this parameter. For example, an HP cartridge with 5% page coverage can yield a maximum of 1800 pages.

Likewise, the same cartridge will yield 900 pages with 10% page coverage. With page coverage of 10%, you’re utilizing twice as much ink per page, so your page yield will be sliced down by 50%. However if your coverage is 2.5% than the normal 5%, your page yield will be double.

Page Coverage Calculator

If you are reading this post, chances are you are looking buy cartridge or ink for your printer. But before purchasing your next cartridge, you might want to make sure which one will print the highest count of pages.

Under standard conditions where the coverage percentage is same, let’s say 10%; choose the cartridge that has higher value of page yield. For example, an HP Deskjet Ink with a page yield of 2400 is better than the one with 1800 pages, with the page coverage percentage being the same for both.

What if the page coverage percentage is different?

In order to compare the two cartridges with different page coverage consider this example. Cartridge A with 5% page coverage and 1600 page yield. Cartridge B with 10% page coverage and 1200 page yield.

On an average a normal print page consists of 20% coverage. So cartridge “A” in real conditions will have 20/5= 4% Page coverage. And the number of pages it will actually print will be a maximum of 1600/4= 400 Pages.

Similarly, cartridge “B” in real printing conditions will have 20/10= 2% Page coverage. And the maximum amount of pages that can be printed will be 1200/2= 600 pages.

At first glance we thought that the page yield of cartridge “A” was higher than cartridge “B” simply by looking at it. But after calculating basis their page coverage, we can now make the right decision.

How many pages can be printed with one laser cartridge?

A standard cartridge has a page yield of around 2500 pages under standard condition. However in real conditions the actual page yield may not be more than 1000 pages. Similarly for industrial cartridges the page yield under standard conditions can be around 10,000 pages, which under real conditions can give you a maximum of 5000 page yield.

Another important factor to be kept in mind is the nature of content you print. This factor hugely affects the page yield as amount of ink released from cartridge depends upon the type of printing job usually done from it. The page yield will considerable reduce if most of the content has graphics and images. Under these circumstances a cartridge listed with a page yield of 2000 pages may not last till 500 pages.

What is Page Yield?

Page Yield is the number of pages you can print with one cartridge. This is usually mentioned on the back of the cartridge. However, page yield should only be considered while comparing the two products and not for finalizing the amount of prints you can take. The page yield is a maximum limit of the number of print outs you can take for the said cartridge. Depending upon the content of printed page, the page yield can increase or decrease.

Page Yield Comparison
Page Yield Comparison

Take a look at the above image for example, it shows different type of content that is printed through printer. Now depending upon the content the page yield will vary. A toner that prints mostly simple content with basic font will have a high page yield when compared with a toner that prints high density texts and colorful info graphics.

Let us discuss few more important factors that can affect the page yield.

  1. Age: The efficiency of printer varies greatly with age; a new printer will generally print more pages as compared with a printer that is 5 years old. Likewise, with the advancement in printing technology, modern day printers are more efficient as they tend to consume less ink.
  2. Frequency: The frequency of printing is also an important factor that affects the page yield. It is generally advisable to print every alternate day to keep the printer heads clean. Failing to do so will jam the printer head, making the printer consume more ink to clean the printer head.
  3. Maintenance: For improved performance regular maintenance and servicing is required for the printer. This includes keeping the machine away from humidity, removing clogged pieces of paper and cleaning of printer head. The quality of paper being used also affects the performance of printer.
  4. Compatibility: If you understand the difference between a good print and a bad print, you will probably understand the importance of purchasing compatible cartridges for your printer. Incompatible accessories will not only produce a poor print with a low page yield, but will also reduce the printer life.

Calculating Cost Per Page

Calculating cost per page is relatively simple when it comes to black and white printers. For a single cartridge or toner the cost per print is relative to the page yield. For example, a black cartridge with an average page yield of 2400 pages can cost around $40. So the cost per page will be 40/2400 = 1.6 cents per page ($0.016/page).

The cost of color cartridge per page is calculated in the same manner by adding all the cartridges that involve the printing of a single page. For example, a color printer has 4 cartridges: black, cyan, magenta and yellow. Assuming the page yield to be 2400 pages, a single color cartridge is priced around $60 and a black cartridge is priced around $40. So using the same calculation we discussed above, the average cost per page will be:

Increase Page Yield and Save Printer Ink

Increasing the page yield of your printer is much more simple that you thought it would be. Although new printers are already consuming the ink efficiently. Still there are few things that when taken care of will increase the page yield of your cartridge. Take a look at the below list of guidelines to ensure your printer ink lasts long.

  1. Reduce the quality of print pages to Draft or Fast. Right click the printer icon and choose printing preferences. Depending upon the brand you will have various options to choose from the type of quality to go for. This is the best way to increase the amount of pages you can get from a single cartridge.
  2. “Think before you print”. Avoid if necessary. This way you can save both ink and paper.
  3. If the printer is too old, it is economical to buy a new printer. Purchase a printer that matches your requirements.
  4. Regular maintenance and servicing should be done to increase the efficiency.
  5. Print test page to remove any obstruction from your printer head.
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