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HP Toner Cartridges Running Out Prematurely?

HP Toner Cartridges Running Out Prematurely?

If you have been using HP toner cartridges or even a compatible/remanufactured version for some time, you may notice a deterioration in print quality. This can happen even when the printer thinks there is still some toner remaining. These print quality issues can show as missing colours or even lines down your prints. This is pretty normal for many LaserJet printers and is sadly unavoidable.

A Hewlett Packard Supply Status Report

But, why is this happening with my toners?

Just like inkjet machines, laser printers rely upon historic usage of a cartridge to estimate the current level and how much toner remains. These estimated page yields are just that, estimates, and may not accurately represent how much life the cartridge has left in it.

With HP laser printers specifically, the machines normally estimate how much toner remains and the approximate pages remaining, based upon how the first 20% of the toner has been used. As such, if the first fifth of your cartridge has been used for light printing, but you then proceeded to use the rest for image or text heavy prints, you may start to notice quality issues towards the end of its life.

How do I know if my laser printer is affected by this?

The quickest and most concrete way of seeing if your machine can fall victim to this, is printing off a “Supplies Status” page, like the one pictured above. The exact method varies from printer to printer, but the process will be covered in your machines’ manual. If you take a quick look at the right-hand column, you may notice a couple of brief warnings that can be easily missed.

In addition to the warning that “HP uses the first 20% of the cartridge use to estimate the pages remaining”, we would also recommend taking into consideration the warning above it. When the report mentions “Approximate only: varies depending on types of documents printed and other factors”, this page coverage playing a factor in pages remaining.

So once again, unless you are very uniformly printing the same thing every time, you are likely to see some variance to the “Approximate Pages Remaining” figure shown above.

How do I know if there is actually an issue with my toner cartridge?

Generally speaking, print quality issues caused by a toner cartridge in HP printers become obvious very early in the life of the unit. They may manifest immediately as coloured stripes down your prints, missing colours or even the pages being stained in black cyan, magenta or yellow. In the rare instance that we experience problems with one, it is normally obvious within the first few pages.

If, however, you experience print quality issues after a significant amount of use, the toner itself is unlikely to be the cause. You could always get in contact with whoever the cartridge was purchased from or even its manufacturer, but I would recommend printing off a “Supplies Status” report prior to this.

We hope this has helped, but please let us know any further questions by email or on Facebook.

About the author

I have been involved in the printer industry since I was 18 and have been an employee of Refresh Cartridges since early 2009. I am a dedicated family man, gamer, music fan and friend to all. I write the majority of the content here on Igloo and am responsible for its upkeep.

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