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Demystifying Page Yield

Demystifying Page Yield

Every cartridge has it. It might be on the box, or on the web. It may seal the deal, or elicit laughter. It is page yield. From brand to brand, and printer to printer, the number of pages cartridges can print will vary drastically. But once you've narrowed your sights down to one particular model, one may ask, what constitutes a page? Also, how does one know if each page they print technically counts as one page, not two? These are important questions that linger in the minds of ink consumers. Let's start with a simple definition and background of page yield and its calculation.

Page yield, simply put, is the number of pages a particular cartridge is expected to produce. It is dependent on many factors, including the printed content, print settings, paper type, and paper size. Traditionally, each individual manufacturer would develop their own standards for testing page yield, but today, they rely on ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards to evaluate their cartridges. ISO is a multi-national organization that enables the development of a consensus on testing standards among manufacturers. This allows consumers to accurately compare and contrast the published yields of different brands of cartridges, without the wide margin of error produced by disparate standards. Generally, ISO standards mandate that cartridges be tested using default settings on plain paper, under controlled temperature and humidity settings, and using a standard test page that represents approximately 5% coverage.

So, it is safe to assume that 5% coverage constitutes one page by the standards manufacturers use to estimate page yields. But, the question of how to determine the coverage of a specific printed page remains unanswered. At this point in time, there are only two ways to determine page coverage: estimate by comparison to a page that has been confirmed to have 5% coverage, or to use software that determines page coverage. While an estimate may be sufficient, it is not as accurate as software, but the software will come with a price tag. So, one's choice may have to come down to a cost benefit analysis.

HERE is an example of a page with approximately 5% coverage

As pointed out by the text of that example, its coverage was calculated using software called APFill. It's easy to use, and will fully function for 30 days as an unregistered trial version. After that, the user must register for $49.95, but given the cost analysis potential of the software, some businesses may find it a useful tool that merits the cost. Regardless, give it a try; it's free for 30 days. Check the page coverage of the documents you print the most. You may be surprised to find out that you are really printing twice as much as you thought you were, with respect to ISO page yields.

You can download APFill from their website HERE.