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What is Page Yield?

The page yield count is an estimate of the number of pages that a toner or ink cartridge can print before it needs to be replaced.

How is the number of pages calculated?

Page count determined by tests defined by ISO (International Organization for Standardization)

According to the ISO standard, a single page is defined as 5% coverage of A4 paper. This means that 10% coverage on one page is technically equivalent to two pages.

Where can I find the page count?

Page counts are often not advertised explicitly through promotional materials or even on the box. Manufacturers often hide page yields from the average consumer.

However, the page yield for your specific cartridge can always be obtained online or through a physical manual.

Factors Affecting Page Yield

As mentioned earlier, page yield is only an approximation, not a definitive number. There are many forces that can increase or decrease the number of pages printed by a single cartridge. These include:

  • page size
  • font selection
  • page coverage
  • temperature
  • Cartridge life
  • previous storage conditions
  • Printhead Cleaning Frequency

Do all ink cartridges have the same page yield?

Rarely will you find two separate cartridges with the same page count. Even within the same printer family, you will see variations in page yields. However, high-yield cartridges will always print more pages than standard-yield cartridges.

For example, HP 63 Tricolor and HP 63 Black have the same name but different page counts.

It is important to check the page yield for each ink cartridge as they can vary widely.

HP 63 (Black) HP 63 (Tri-Color) HP 63XL (Black) HP 63XL (Tri-Color)
Up to 190 Pages Up to 160 Pages Up to 480 Pages Up to 330 Pages

What does 5% coverage actually mean?

According to ISO, 5% coverage is considered as one page. But what does 5% coverage look like? Often you will find yourself printing many more pages than the ISO represents.

Remember that images always cover more of the page than text, so be mindful of your printing habits.

The image below shows what 5% coverage looks like.

5% page coverage example

Image-based documents will use a lot of ink, even if the image itself isn’t that large.

Why You Need to Know Page Yield

When you know the correct page yield for an ink cartridge and the price you’re paying, you can calculate the cost per page.

Cost per page (CPP) is a simple metric that calculates the cost per page printed with a specific ink or toner cartridge.

The equation looks like this:

price/pages = cost per page

Armed with all of this information, you can better assess the actual cost-effectiveness of your ink cartridges. In short, aside from price, page yield is probably the single most important number to keep an eye on.


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