You’ve bought your ink cartridge or toner cartridge, put it in your printer and printed away. Sooner than you thought it would, your printer tells you you’re low on ink or toner. You check how many pages you’ve printed and see that it’s nearly half of what’s stated on the box or in the specifications you saw. And then you notice a little piece of text next to the estimated page yield, ‘at 5% coverage’.
What, you may be asking, is 5% coverage and why can I not print that many pages? We answer that question often, so we’ve put together a guide on what 5% coverage is and how to get the most out of your printer cartridges.
What is 5% coverage?
The 5% coverage standard was created by the International Organisation for Standardisation as a way for printer manufacturers to reliably state how much a printer cartridge could print. There are three standardisation documents that are used:
These documents use 5 commonly printed pages in different designs in order to determine how many pages a cartridge can print. The coverage pages assume basic text, with no bold characters, no graphics and no pictures. Five percent page coverage looks like this:
That’s not a whole lot of text at all and is not very close to what you would print in a real world situation. In fact, a full page of text is actually about 30% - 40% page coverage. And printing pictures or graphics along with the text increases your coverage percentage. Essentially, 5% coverage is an estimate of what the printer cartridge is capable of printing.
The amount of pages your ink cartridge or toner cartridge can actually print is based on a number of factors, like the content of a printed page, the size of the document being printed, whether you’re printing in colour or black and white, how often you print and even environmental factors.
How can I get the most out of my printer cartridges?
There are programmes you can use that will measure the page coverage of the page you want to print. A good example is AVPSoft’s APFill programme. It will give you the page coverage percentage as well as the percentage of various colours and shades.
If you don’t want to go the download and software route, you can follow these tips:
By printing carefully and planning your printing, you could end up printing out close to the manufacturer’s estimated page yield.