How Many Pages Does an Ink Cartridge Print

Last Updated on July 6, 2022 by ronnie

If you’re doing a lot of printing or using a printer for any business, you need to have an idea of how many pages will your ink cartridge print. This will help you get the cost of printing and you can order new supplies beforehand without disturbing your business. 

You might wonder whether you’re getting value for the money you’re paying for ink cartridges and whether ink cartridges last longer or end up running low.

On average you can have 220 print pages in 11 ml in a survey by PCMag.And if you are using a high-capacity cartridge tank that has 16 ml ink, you get 350 prints.

Pages Does an Ink Cartridge Print

The printer’s manufacturer has described something as “page yield” in the manual and it describes how many pages an ink cartridge can print before running out. 

Each printer has a different page yield and each company has described the printer’s page yield in the user manual that comes with it. You can also search online by typing your printer’s model. It usually is a specified number of papers that an ink cartridge can print. 

Most users mistake it for the real number of pages that your printer can print; however, it is just a number under a specified condition.

The print industry has specified those conditions and the page yield is calculated based on an A4 paper having a 5% of ink coverage. 

However, in normal working conditions, you might as well go up to 80% ink coverage on an A4 page. So, we can’t say that the number prescribed by the printer’s manufacturer is 100% accurate as there are several other factors affecting ink consumption.

What is Page Yield Or Duty Cycle?

Duty cycle or page yield is the same thing and refers to the maximum number of pages an ink cartridge can print before it needs a refill. However, it isn’t that simple as for years each manufacturer has their own way of determining page yield. 

It caused problems as HP worked out their black toner cartridges had a page yield of 2500 pages while the Brother had put out the same cartridges with a page yield of 3000 pages.

To standardize the calculation of page yield of all ink cartridges, ISO and IEC worked together to come up with a way of calculating page yield. This gave customers a consistent way of knowing the duty cycle and they can get an idea of how many pages can a particular ink cartridge can print.

However, it is still a pretty complicated thing as they have only described it for 5% paper coverage.

Paper Coverage

The specified number of pages described in the manual of ink cartridges will be based on page coverage and page coverage is the amount of ink toner used on an A4 paper. 

Normally, the printing companies describe the duty cycle of an ink cartridge on the 5% paper coverage. Meaning if from whole paper only 5% is printed then the ink cartridges will be able to print the prescribed amount of pages.

Calculating How Many Pages Can an Ink Cartridge Print

You might be printing with more than 5% paper coverage and for that, you can’t rely on the amount given by the manufacturers. In this case, you need to know how can you calculate that amount. Here is a quick idea of how you can calculate the number of pages an ink cartridge can print.

Suppose the ink cartridge you got has a duty cycle of 3000 pages, so to do calculations, you need to know the page coverage you’re targeting. Let’s just say 30% page coverage and you can do whatever page coverage you want.

So, at 30% page coverage, you need to divide the new coverage value (30%) by the old coverage value which is the same for all ink cartridges (5%). In our case, the result would be 6. Now, you need to divide the duty cycle which was 3000 over 6, and you will get the answer. 

In our case, it’s 500 pages. This will give you a more accurate answer as compared to the one prescribed by the manufacturers. However, there are still some other factors that can result in an increase or decrease in ink consumption per page.

Factors Affecting Your Page Yield Or Duty Cycle

Things like color, text, images, etc will certainly affect the duty cycle, and page coverage is made up of all these things. However, there are still other factors in play that affect the duty cycle of an ink cartridge and you need to know them to increase the duty cycle of ink cartridges.

1.   Type Of Ink Cartridges

The most powerful factor that affects the number of pages a cartridge can print is the type of ink cartridge, its quality, size, and other things. You should choose a high-yield ink cartridge as they last longer and help in printing a lot of papers as compared to normal ink cartridges. The XL size of ink cartridges has more ink in them and can last longer as compared to other sizes.

2.   Age Of the Printer

It is true that older printers are less efficient and as technology has advanced there are printers that consume less ink or consume ink efficiently resulting in more prints. If you have an old printer that is 5-10 years old, then it is surely consuming a lot of ink as compared to modern printers. 

Even new printers if not used with care or maintenance aren’t provided and become less efficient when it comes to ink consumption. The age of the printer plays an important role in determining the usage of ink per print.

3.   Humidity

Humidity causes ink or toner to print onto a page and it is proved in research that humidity can cause the ink to move slowly meaning sometimes it will not print on a page. 

This will cost a significant amount of ink every time you print. So, be sure to keep printer ink cartridges completely deprived of humidity for better performance.

4.   Size Of Print Job And Frequency Of Printing

If you’re printing a number of pages in one go, then it will cost less ink as compared to printing one page at a time. Consider you’re printing 50 pages in one go or 50 pages one-by-one, then printing in one go will cost less ink as compared to one-by-one printing. 

However, if your printer isn’t good with large volume printing then it may heat up resulting in more ink usage. For printers capable of large volume printing, you should definitely use this option as it doesn’t reset the ink and keep using the ink which is much more efficient.

The frequency of printing means how often you use a printer, if you use it frequently then the ink consumption will be decent as compared to using it once in a while. 

If you use it once in a while, then it may use some ink to clean and clear print heads while using it frequently your printer won’t use excessive ink to clean as they are already in use or cleared.

5.   Printing Type

One of the most important factors is printing type, whether you’re printing color or black prints. Color prints require much more ink as there are hues, and saturation of images, and the printer should be able to copy that and for this, it will need more ink. 

Black prints on the other hand are only one or two colors max, black and gray. It will consume less ink when it comes to printing black documents with 20% page coverage as compared to the color document with 20% page coverage.


To conclude, many things influence ink usage when it comes to printing however, with the above-provided calculations, you can get a rough idea of how many pages will your ink cartridges print. By keeping other factors in your mind and according to them you can add or subtract a couple of pages off your calculation. 

In short, using the duty cycle provided by the manufacturers and using the above formula, you can get a rough idea of or calculate the number of pages an ink cartridge prints.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

How long should ink cartridges last?

As a thumb rule, usually, ink cartridges are made up to stay functional for 2 years until they start drying and need a replacement.

How many pages a HP cartridge can print?

The yield depends upon the type of cartridge you are using. HP 60XL Black Ink Cartridge is the standard ink cartridge of HP which can print up to 600 pages while HP 60 Black Ink Cartridge can print up to 200 pages with HP 60 Tri-color ink Cartridge.

Why do ink cartridges run out so fast?

When you print high-density prints fast and more frequently, the ink runs out soon.

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