Knowing how long printer toner will last in your business depends entirely on how often you print and at what sort of quantity.
A range of other factors will affect how long your toner lasts too, the most obvious of which is the print quantity in your business. If your business relies on regular printed reports and other documents, you can expect toner to only last a couple of weeks. However, if printing is only used minimally in your business because you use digital platforms for collaboration or reporting, your toner will last much longer.
Toner cartridge care is also important to keep them working at their best for as long as possible. There are several best practice toner maintenance tasks, including regularly dusting or using a toner vacuum to clean the inside of the printer and properly storing your spare toner cartridges.
How you know printer toner is running out
Even if you can’t accurately estimate how long your printer toner will last, you will still be able to determine when you’re getting close to the end so that you can order a replacement.
The first sign that you’re getting close to the end of your toner cartridge for most printers will be a low toner warning on the exterior of the printer, whether on a screen or an LED light. This warning tells you that you’re nearing the end of the cartridge, but you should still be able to complete a good number of prints before it is depleted.
If your printer doesn’t show a low toner warning, or the warning flashes but your printer is still running well, you can wait for signs of low toner coming from your print-outs themselves. Towards the very end of a toner cartridge, prints will become streaky, discoloured, or faded.
Extend the life on your printer toner cartridges
There are a few ways of extending the life of your toner cartridges to get better value for money. The main way of doing this is by focusing on optimising your printing habits by switching to a skinnier font, avoiding printing images, and printing using draft mode.
When you’re nearing the very end of the cartridge, you can even take it out of the printer and gently rock it to re-distribute whatever toner is left. You might find that this allows you to print a few more pages, giving you time to get your replacement cartridge.
When to replace toner cartridges
When you need to replace your cartridges depends on how important print quality is in your business. If you need high quality prints that are suitable for clients or customers, you’ll want to replace your cartridges as soon as you notice they’re running low. This will avoid the fading, discoloured, or streaky prints that are typical of the end of the cartridge.
If you can get by without perfectly accurate prints, you can basically continue until text becomes illegible. It’s a good idea to have printer toner on hand if you’re planning on doing this, to avoid completely running out when you need to print.