The cost of buying replacement printer inks can often be the most expensive item on an office supplies purchase ordering list. For those working from home, a printer may stand idle simply out of fear of using up costly ink. Problem is of course, the cartridges dry out and become blocked, wasting more valuable ink and worse, not working properly or producing sub standard printing when urgently needed to meet unexpected, last-minute deadlines.
Everyone is trying to get the last drop out of their ink cartridges! While some people are careful to check the side of the cartridge box to see the manufacturer’s indication of just how many pages you might expect to print, ink yield figures can be unreliable. Confusion arises because it’s impossible to know if the brand manufacture is quoting standard test page results or estimates based on using a particular printer’s own test settings. In addition, test types vary between different manufacturers so it may be impossible to compare between cartridges.
There are now many different versions being made available on the market. The alternative ways of replacing inkjet cartridges, from recycling and tank refilling to compatible cartridges and upgraded versions from the same original brand manufacturer makes it increasingly difficult to know what is the best type for a particular model of printer. It’s practically impossible to know just how long cartridge ink can be reasonably expected to last, no matter how you try to save on unnecessary printing.
Even cutting back on daily use can make little difference as ink yields can also vary considerably according to the types of images usually printed. Other factors affecting yield include print settings selected, gauge and type of paper, humidity and temperature as required by final image quality, fade resistance, printer reliability and its’ individual features.
Up until fairly recently, it would be fair to assume that no cartridge manufacturer could devise a single yield standard which would realistically reflect any one printer’s actual usage. However, leading printer ink brands did get together to try and reach an agreed standard to help provide customers when making comparisons between different printing capabilities.
The International Standards Organization for Standardization (ISO) worked with industry representatives and independent experts who provided their support to help create the ISO/IEC 24711 and 24712 standard. As a result, the ISO/IEC standard is generally accepted as the most reliable testing method to provide achievable ink yield comparisons from the major brands for inkjet printing. Stated yields are rounded down to comply with the ISO standard +/- formula to maintain accuracy and reliability.
Thus, in accordance with the ISO/IEC 24711 and 24712 standard, the ink yield testing method is conducted by using at least three printers in Default Mode, operated at a controlled temperature. At least three cartridges of each model, not including the first factory set of cartridges are tested. Print instructions are made from a standard PC running Windows OS to continuously print a set of five patterns in consecutive order on plain printing paper.
Only when each printer indicates the cartridges are empty and will not print further are the cartridges replaced. It has been a common complaint that some types of inkjet printers will stop printing when the ‘low ink’ warning appears. Other models which do continue printing have shown to have enough ink remaining to print up to 30 per cent or more quality copies.
While single ink cartridges have been found to not use just under a fifth of their ink, nearly three-quarters of ink capacity is wasted by some multi-ink cartridges. In both cases, cartridges are more likely to be disposed of when ‘low ink’ warnings appear on the printer.
A costly error no consumer can longer afford and definitely not environmentally friendly!