I've been recently asked to estimate the cost of ink for our business documents. Those documents are comprised mostly of text, some formatting frames (which may be colored), and few (most often no) images. While discovering this subject I've come across the paper coverage concept and APFill Ink Coverage Calculator software, which gives me the ink coverage of any of my documents. However, while browsing I haven't been able to find if the ink consumption/ink coverage is constant or not.

To make the matter clearer : our most used printer model in the company is the Brother MFC 8520-DN, for which two types of toner are being sold. The first can print 3 000 pages (each at 5% coverage, as specified by ISO : https://www.stinkyinkshop.co.uk/articles/what-does-5-page-coverage-mean), the second does 8 000 pages.

I understand that ink consumption can be modified by several factors : humidity, how often is the printer used/left turned on and lots more. However, putting those factors aside (no small task, I admit), will for instance the first toner print in total 1500 pages if each has a 10 % coverage ?

All this to give the best estimate of what will cost each of our template of business documents.

  • The ISO standard page is a way to get a standard amount of toner per page for consistent comparison. But when you talk about coverage, that's a direct measure of toner per page (what portion of the page is covered by toner). So if you ignore wastage, covering 10% of the page instead of 5% will require twice as much toner. A cartridge whose toner content is expressed as pages at 5% coverage will last half that number of pages if you use twice as much per page. – fixer1234 Jan 25 '17 at 17:43
  • Thinking about it, my aim is not to ignore all wastage, only "environmental" wastage (wastage due to specific use) and focus on the general wastage (wastage that can be expected however you use your printer), and how significant it is when considering the standard coverage. – ESStickman Jan 30 '17 at 10:13

With a laser printer there is very little toner wastage. Some printers do have a waste container, but only a small percentage of the toner ends up in that. Essentially all the toner used ends up on the paper.

Inkjets are different. They require regular head cleaning, which does waste a significant proportion of the ink. They run a cleaning cycle every time they are switched on, and from time to time even when running. And, of course, whenever the user manually initiates a cleaning cycle.

So you are correct, a 3000 page cartridge can be expected to yield 1500 pages at 10% coverage.

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