The short answer: Page yield is the number of pages you can print with one cartridge.
The page yield of a cartridge is based upon the ISO standard for measuring ink cartridge yields by printing out pages with 5% page coverage* until the cartridge runs empty.
*What does Page Coverage mean? Page coverage is how much of the page is covered with ink or toner.
*What’s 5% Page Coverage? It means only 5% of the page has ink or toner on it. This is what a page with 5% page coverage would look like:
Think of the page yield as a rough estimate and not a hard number because there are many factors that determine the actual number of pages your cartridge prints.
- Content: Colored images vs mostly black and white text. Expect to run out of black ink faster if you print more documents than photos. And expect to run out of colored ink if you print more colored images than text.
- Content size / length: Do you print documents that contain lengthy chunks of text? Do you often print large photos? Doing so will consume more ink and will drive down the total number of pages you can print from your cartridge.
- Print quality: If you always print in draft mode, you’ll get more mileage out of your ink. But if you always print in high quality mode, you may run out sooner than you think.
Different Page Yields
Cartridges usually come in a couple of different sizes so naturally their page yields vary. Larger cartridges, also called high yield cartridges, print much more than a standard cartridge. Let’s take the ink cartridges for the HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 for example.
- HP 902 – This standard size ink cartridge for the HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 prints 300 pages.
- HP 902XL – This is the larger version (high yield) of the HP 902. This high yield cartridge prints 825 pages.
- HP 906XL – This is the largest cartridge for the HP 6978. It’s what you would call an extra high yield cartridge. It prints 1,500 pages.
Installation: Installing a larger sized cartridge is no different from how you install a standard cartridge. For instance a high yield HP 564XL should fit perfectly into the slot for your HP 564.
When to use a Standard and a High Yield Cartridge
For Inkjet Printers
If you don’t print a lot regularly, it makes more sense to get standard size ink cartridges. Don’t overstock on ink by getting high yield cartridges if you don’t print regularly. You won’t be saving money because there’s a good chance that the ink will dry up anyway. But if you print a lot and often, high yield cartridges is a more economical option and also reduces the number of times you have to replace ink cartridges. If you REALLY want to save on ink, get compatible ink cartridges and save as much as 70% compared to brand name cartridges.
For Laser Printers
Laser printers are known to be high volume printers compared to inkjet but the question of which cartridge size you should get still depends on your usage. If you use your laser printer at home, a standard size toner cartridge should be able to accommodate your printing needs for awhile. If you’re cartridge shopping for your office laser printer (which most likely prints way more than a home printer), you should go with higher yield toner cartridges.
Shopping Based on Page Yields
Different printers use different cartridges, and different cartridges offer varying page yields. Most people buy a printer based on the upfront cost of owning one but we suggest taking a printer’s running cost just as seriously.
The page yield of the cartridge will determine how often you’ll need to replace cartridges and how many replacements you may end up buying to keep your printer running. Higher page yields mean less frequent replacements and more cost savings.
Another factor to consider when shopping for a printer, a color printer in particular, is: Does cyan, magenta, and yellow come in one cartridge? Or does each color come in a separate cartridge? If you print a good volume of colored documents, we recommend getting a printer with individual color cartridges (one for cyan, one for yellow, one for magenta). Not only do they come with more ink; but you will also be able to use the printer even if one of the color cartridges is running empty.
Have more questions about page yield? Post your comments or questions below and we’ll get back to you in a few hours!