What is Page Yield and How It Affects Your Cost-Per-Print?

Mar 11, 2021

All to know about printer ink page yield

Page Yield is the estimated number of pages that a toner or ink cartridge is able to print before needing to be replaced.

How is Page Yield Calculated?

Page yield is determined by testing defined by ISO (International Organization of Standardization)

According to ISO standards, a single page is defined as a 5% coverage of an A4 page. Meaning 10% coverage of a page would technically equal two pages.

Where Can I Find the Page Yield?

Page yields are usually never explicitly advertised through promotional materials or even on the box. Manufacturers often hide the page yield from being seen by the average consumer.

However, the page yield of your specific ink cartridge is always available online or through physical manuals. 

Factors that Affect Page Yield

As mentioned before, page yield is just an approximation, not a definitive number. There are many external forces that can either increase or decrease the number of pages printed by a single cartridge. These include:

  • Page Size
  • Font Selection
  • Page Coverage
  • Temperature
  • Age of Cartridge
  • Prior Storage Conditions
  • Frequency of Printhead Cleaning

Do All Cartridges Have The Same Page Yield?

Very rarely will you find two separate cartridges with the same page yield. Even within the same printer family, you will find differences between the page yield amounts. However, high-yield cartridges will always be able to produce more pages than their standard yield cartridge counterparts.

For example, HP 63 Tri-Color and HP 63 Black both have differing page yields even though they share the same name. 

HP 63 (Black) HP 63 (Tri-Color) HP 63XL (Black) HP 63XL (Tri-Color)
Up to 190 Pages Up to 160 Pages Up to 480 Pages Up to 330 Pages

It’s important to check the page yield of every individual cartridge because they may drastically differ.

What Does 5% Coverage Actually Mean?

According to ISO, 5% coverage is deemed as one page. But what does 5% coverage look like? Oftentimes, you’ll find yourself printing much more of the page than represented by ISO. 

Keep in mind that images will always cover more of the page than text, so be mindful of your printing habits.

The image below represents what 5% coverage could look like. 

5% page coverage sample

Image-based documents will use ample amounts of ink, even if the image itself is not that large.

Why You Need to Know Page Yield 

When you know the correct page yield of your cartridge and the price you paid, you can calculate the Cost Per Page.

The Cost Per Page (CPP) is a simple metric used to calculate how much every page costs to print while using a particular ink or toner cartridge.

The equation looks like this:

Price / Page Yield = Cost Per Page

With all of this information, you’re able to better assess how cost-effective an ink cartridge really is. So in a nutshell, page yield is probably the single most important number to look out for, besides the price of course.