My grandparents' Brother HL-3170CDW always underestimates the amount of toner remaining; they always manually override the “Toner Empty” message, and reset the toner cartridges to printer another 100-200 more pages.

As the toner cartridge will have been lying in the printer for months, does removing it and rocking the toner (to and fro) loosen the toner and unleash more of it?

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    Printing does not occur evenly across the page, and this means that inside the cartridge the toner is no longer evenly arranged inside that cartridge. Depending on the design of the toner cartridge, rocking or shaking it may rearrange the remaining toner particles to more evenly fill the toner. – music2myear Jan 16 '19 at 0:35
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    Also, some toner gets clumped up in various places in the cartridge and may not fall down to the mechanism in the bottom that dispenses the toner. – David Schwartz Jan 16 '19 at 0:39
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    Also, if you are getting another 100-200 more pages, its probable that the toner is prematurely complaining it is empty. I'd expect to get 15-30 more pages by shaking a toner. – davidgo Jan 16 '19 at 3:18

Yes, on my HP Laserjet 1200 I always turn/shake the toner as soon as printing gets thin, and I get at least 30 pages more. After that I might be able to turn the cassette additional times, as soon as printing gets thin and repeat this until the cassette is really empty. That might be about five turns of shaking for me.


Yes, on every laser printer I've used, rocking and rotating (not shaking) the toner has yielded the ability to print more pages.

My technique is:

  1. Turn off the printer.
  2. Remove the toner cartridge.
  3. Carefully carry it to be over a sink.
  4. Hold it at each end.
  5. Rock it side to side gently 5-6 times.
  6. Rotate it 360 degrees in one direction (like you would roll a packing tube) 5-6 times.
  7. Rotate it 360 degrees in the other direction 5-6 times.
  8. Reinsert the toner cartridge.
  9. Wash my hands.
  10. Turn on the printer.

Has worked every time for many years!

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