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Home > Page Yield / Cartridge Yield

Page Yield / Cartridge Yield


What is page yield?

Page yield is the number of pages that you can print with a printer cartridge.  It is also known as ink / toner cartridge yield.  Page yield is one of the factors you should consider when purchasing a printer cartridge.  Some printer cartridge manufacturers use general terms such as standard yield or high yield to describe the cartridges, but each printer cartridge model should have a page yield (the number of pages it can print under standard conditions).  It gives the consumers an estimate of the cost per page (CPP) for that cartridge.  Other than page yield, you should also consider factors such as the price, print quality, reliability, warranty, etc. when purchasing a printer cartridge. 

Page yield is affected by many things such as the content or the image you print, print settings, paper type, paper size, frequency of use, how much time passes between each use, and environmental conditions (temperature and humidity).  So, how is page yield determined?


Page Yield Testing

Traditionally, different manufacturers use different tests to measure page yield, so it is difficult for consumers to compare the page yields of different cartridges from different manufacturers.  Nowadays, most printer cartridge manufacturers use the same standard established by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) to evaluate the page yield of a given cartridge. 

ISO is a network of national standards institutes of 156 countries.  It is a non-governmental organization but it occupies a special position providing industrial standards across the public and private sectors.  The ISO standard is widely recognized as the most reliable method to test page yield / cartridge yield under standard conditions.  It enables the consumers to compare the yield of different cartridges in an objective manner. 

ISO has established two standard testing methods, ISO/IEC 24711 and ISO/IEC 19752 for measuring ink cartridge yield and monochrome toner cartridge yield respectively. 


ISO standard for testing inkjet cartridge yield (ISO/IEC 24711):

  • the tests are conducted using default setting on plain paper;

  • a suite of five pages are printed consecutively until the ink cartridge reaches its end life;

  • a cartridge is considered at its end life when the printer shows a signal that the ink has been depleted or the test pages show discoloration or a significant increase in lightness;

  • a total of 9 cartridges should be tested on 3 different printers (i.e. 3 cartridges on each printer), not including the 1st set of installed cartridges and the average result is taken;

  • the tests are conducted under controlled conditions (temperature and humidity) similar to home and office conditions.

For color ink cartridges, a test is performed on 3-color composite page yield (a combination of cyan, magenta and yellow).  Color yields for individual color cartridges are determined by taking the average yield, based on continuous printing, of all individual color cartridges.  For color cartridges with combined color tanks, page yield is determined by the first color to be depleted. 

Some photo printer models may use supplemental color cartridges such as light cyan, light magenta to improve contrast and print quality.  For these supplemental cartridges, page yields are determined separately because these colors are not used substantially in regular printing.


ISO has not established a standard to measure the page yield of photo printer cartridges yet, but most cartridge manufacturers use robust testing method similar to ISO/IEC 24711 in these cases.  For example, HP has employed these strict criteria in testing the yield of their photo printer cartridges:

  1. the  tests are conducted using the default print mode on photo paper

  2. 3 printers are used in each test

  3. 9 cartridges, 3 for each printer, are tested for each of the color, photo and gray cartridge yield tests

  4. the test photos represent typical subject matter from amateur photographers

  5. the  tests are conducted under controlled humidity and temperature

  6. printing is continuous with normal breaks for paper change

  7. printing stops when a cartridge reaches its end life, indicated by a message “out of ink” from the printer or discoloration is noticed on test page.


ISO standard for monochrome toner cartridge yield (ISO/IEC 19752)

  • the tests are conducted with printer default settings on plain paper;

  • a standard test page is used (represents approximately 5% coverage);

  • a total of 9 cartridges are tested, 3 cartridges on each of 3 different printers, and the average yield is measured;

  • almost continuous printing with normal breaks for changing or adding paper;

  • printing stops when the cartridge reaches its end life, which is determined based on the manufacturer’s recommendations in handling the toner cartridge (e.g. how many times the toner cartridge should be shaken);

  • end of life is defined as the printer reports “replace toner” or “replace supply”;

  • the tests are conducted under controlled conditions (temperature and humidity).


As you can see, page yield or cartridge yield is measured by vigorous testing.  This information is useful to determine the value of different types of printer cartridge (OEM vs remanufactured vs compatible, standard yield vs high yield).  So next time when you shop for discount ink / toner cartridges, remember to compare the page yield (cartridge yield) and the cost per page (= cartridge price / page yield) of these cartridges. 





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