Laser Toner page yields are estimated using an Industry Standard (ISO) test with 5% toner coverage on each page. The stated toner yield does not guarantee a specific amount of pages per cartridge, but estimates the suggested yield to be expected if printing at 5% coverage throughout the lifetime of each individual toner cartridge.
Q: What are the factors that will impact the user's yields the most?
A: The most important factor affecting yield is page coverage. It is not unusual for office or home usage to run above or below that 5% average (for example, if you print a webpage with the Print Background Graphics option on, you could be printing 80%+ coverage).
In general, pages with significant dark, shaded, or colored areas (logos or pictures) or a large amount of fine print will generate area coverage much higher than 5%.
Other factors that can reduce cartridge yield include: higher temperature or higher humidity levels where the printer operates (in laser printers, high humidity can cause clinging or clumping of the toner, and in inkjet can cause evaporation or clogging of the print jets), and using a higher print resolution setting (which causes more dots to be printed per inch resulting in higher density).
Colour coverage varies by product class, but is generally much higher than black-and-white products. Letter/A4-size colour printers and MFPs can have average page coverages in the 7-15% range (depending on the application and mix between color and black-and-white documents).
Tabloid/A3-size colour printers and MFPs tend to drive higher colour page coverages in the range of 10-30% in office environments.
In graphic arts environments, average colour page coverages can increase to the 40-60% range.
In the home, coverage can be even higher since home users tend to be less aware of their options and use best quality regardless of need.