Standard vs. High-Yield Print Toner and Ink Cartridge: What to Choose?

With the right knowledge, the world of toner and ink cartridges is full of unexpected opportunities that can save you and your business lots of time and money. In this post, we’ll uncover the differences between standard yield and high yield printer cartridges, then dig into why you might want to choose one over the other.

We’ll also explore how these choices can save your business on printing expenseswhy some options are better for the environment, guide to calculate your print cost per page and more! 

But first, let’s look at the different toner cartridges available for print devices: 

Starter cartridges are the ink and toner cartridges included with the initial purchase of a printer. Starter cartridges are not officially available for purchase, though they’re sometimes seen for sale and labeled as “refurbished.”  

With a low price point, it might be tempting to buy a starter or refurbished cartridges. However, it’s not recommended as they’ll run out of ink much more quickly than standard cartridges. 

Standard cartridges are the typical products that show up at the forefront when doing a typical internet search for new printer ink and toner. As the name implies, standard cartridges are considered the basic industry standard—nothing too fancy but it gets the job done well. 

You’ll most often see standard cartridges used at businesses where the print isn’t the primary function of the operation or where there is a low to medium print need. Common examples of these kinds of businesses include hair salons, retailers, grocery stores, etc.

High-yield cartridges have the extra capacity to store additional toner and ink. That way, printers can go much longer before needing a replacement cartridge. Though they do cost more upfront, they almost always save time and money in the long run.

Organizations that often use high-yield toners will regularly produce large print jobs and/or have a high print volume. These toners keep them from having to constantly change out empty cartridges which can cause interruptions for the entire team.

Insurance companieshospitals, advertising agencies, and law firms are common places that find a benefit in using highyield cartridges. 

Different yield types aren’t specific to brands like Brother, HP, Lexmark, Epson, or Xerox. These manufacturers all offer wonderful high-yield and standard toner options, and both cartridge types should be easily available for purchase, especially within online retailers and manufacturer websites.

However, how long it takes for a specific toner yield or model to arrive can vary greatly, so be sure to specifically search for what you need well before you actually need it. This allows for plenty of time to get the cartridge without risking running out of toner before a replacement arrives.

A great managed print service can also ensure that you’ll always have the right toner ready when you need it without worrying about ordering, delivery time, or current availability.

Print Tip: You can easily locate the cartridge type by checking the label which should clearly state the product’s yield. If it doesn’t, you can also check the product code. Every manufacturer has letters and/or number in the product code which differentiates the yield. With HP, for example, standard cartridges have a product code ending with “A” while high-yield cartridges will end in “XC” or “XL.”

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How Can High-Yield Printer Cartridges Save Money?

All printer cartridges will come with a toner or ink yield range. This number represents the estimated number of pages a cartridge can print before it runs out of its precious ink or toner.

From here, it’s possible to tabulate what is called the cost per page—or how much it costs to print out a single page. Figuring out this number is important because it will help determine the cost savings (or losses) seen from our cartridge choices:

Here is the formula to determine your cost per page (or CCP):  

(Cost of Cartridge) / (Estimated yield of cartridge) = cost per page 

Let’s use the cost of a standard cartridge CF281A for an HP LaserJet M630 printer as an exampleAccording to HP, the price is $189.99 and has a 10,500 estimated page capacity. 

By using that formula, we’ll find that: 

$189.99/10,500 pages = 0.018 or 1.8 cents per page. 

Now, look at the difference with a high-yield cartridge. We’ll use the HP LaserJet M630 as an example, which has a 25,000 estimated page capacity at $311.99. 

$311.99/25,000 pages = .0124 or 1.2 cents per page. 

Just by switching from a standard to a high-yield cartridge, you’ll see a whopping 44% decrease in cartridge and printing costs! No company would want to miss out on easy savings like that. 

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When Should I Choose a Standard Yield Printer Cartridge?

For most scenarioshigh-yield toners are the best choice when it comes to picking the right cartridge. But there are some scenarios where a standard yield may make sense. 

Let’s look at a few different scenarios that might influence your decision: 

Scenario #1: Quality Control and Warranty
Here’s a good rule of thumb for maintaining optimal printer ink quality—the typical shelf life or life expectancy of unopened toner and ink cartridges is between 1-2 years. Ink cartridges are also susceptible to environmental storage conditions, and even more so after it’s opened 

It may be wise to purchase standard yield cartridges if your storage conditions aren’t ideal, or your print yields are so low that both the initial cartridge and its replacement would go bad before they’re needed. Since high-yield cartridges take longer to use up, if not used fast enough, it could mean that their backups are sitting in storage long enough to risk expiration.

It’s also important to note that most cartridge warranties last one year. So, don’t count on returning old cartridges, even if they’re unopened.

Fun Printer Fact: While plugged in, most modern inkjet printers use their ink to clean the print head. This keeps the print heads from drying up and causing quality issues such as those pesky white lines that are sometimes seen on printed pages. 

Scenario #2 Upfront Costs 
Though they almost always equate to a much better return on investment, high-yield cartridges do cost significantly more upfront. Sometimes, this can understandably factor into budgeting decisions.  

But before deciding to go for the more affordable standard yield option, do consider the ultimate ROI generated from the initial higher expense of a high-yield cartridge. Is it worth spending that money elsewhere today just because it takes too long to see the future returns?

Scenario #3 Environmental Factors 
If creating a green, eco-friendly print environment is a priority at your workplace, read this! 

Though admittedly not a huge changechoosing a high-yield toner cartridge will have a more positive impact on the planet. Since fewer replacements are necessary, that also means less plastic, fewer packaging materialsand a lower carbon footprint due to minimized shipping needs.  

Fun Printer Fact: Many manufacturers of printer toner and ink including HP offer cartridge recycling programs so you can recycle your cartridges and further minimize your print program’s environmental impact. Some manufacturers also let companies “refurbish” their used cartridges by refilling them with new toner and may even offer a small rebate.

These are just a few situations that may influence your decision about purchasing the right yield for your business’ computers. If you’d like more insights, talk to our expert print team at imageOne today!

In a short, no-obligation phone callone of our print management experts will talk with you about everything ink and toner, as well as potential strategies, tools, and workflows that’ll boost productivity and save money!