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The printer toner and supplies you need, whatever laser printer you use

How do laser printers work?

Laser printers use an electrostatic printing process. A laser scans across the surface of a rolling drum, building up a static charge in the shape of what you are printing. The static charge attracts powdered printer toner. The drum rolls the toner onto a page of paper, which passes over a fuser that melts the toner permanently in place.

The advantages of laser printers over inkjet

Because toner is dry and not wet ink droplets, text is sharper on a laser printer. A laser printer can print much faster than a typical inkjet printer. There is far less reloading of supplies required.

However, the single biggest reason for laser printers’ popularity is likely the fact that printing costs much less per page than with an inkjet printer. People or offices that print a lot almost always opt for a laser printer.

How many pages can you print with one toner cartridge?

A laser toner cartridge will last much longer than a typical inkjet cartridge, but just how many pages does that translate into? That depends on two things: print coverage (or density) and cartridge yield.

Simply put, the more text or images there are on a printed page, the more toner is used. Yield is basically the amount of toner the manufacturer puts in the cartridge. Newer laser printers also tend to print more efficiently, using less toner than older models.

In general, for typical text printing, a standard laser toner cartridge will often print 1,000 to 1,500 pages before needing replacement.

Standard yield vs. high yield printer toner

Most printer manufacturers offer an even more attractive option: a high yield printer toner cartridge. The hardware is the same, there’s just more room for toner. So for a modest additional cost over a standard yield cartridge, a high yield toner cartridge might be good for 2,500 pages or more.

Check the packaging, because the actual yields will vary by manufacturer and printing coverage.

Tips on choosing the right laser toner cartridge for your printer

Choosing the right laser toner cartridge for your printer is pretty straightforward. Your user manual will include the replacement cartridge numbers. You can check the label on the toner cartridge that is currently in use. You can also simply search Best Buy for your printer model.

How to change a toner cartridge

Replacing the toner cartridge on most laser printers is much simpler than it once was. The actual process will vary by model, but generally speaking it involves opening the printer’s lid, waiting a few minutes for it to cool, and carefully pulling out the depleted toner cartridge. Be careful not to spill any excess toner. The new cartridge will come in a sealed bag the old one can then be placed in for recycling. Remove any shipping tabs from the new cartridge, rock it gently (to distribute toner), line it up and slot it into place.

How to extend the life of your laser printer toner and drum unit

There are a few measures you can take to preserve your laser printer’s drum unit. Clean the corona wire on the drum whenever the toner is replaced (most printers come with a brush for this purpose). Other than that, drum life is measured in rotations, so the more you print, the shorter its lifespan will be.

To get more life out of your toner cartridge, occasionally, you might want to remove it and gently shake it to redistribute the toner. Most printers also come with a “toner-save” mode that can be very effective.

Want more info? Check out some of our resources on the Best Buy blog:

Printer Buying Guide