Why are HP Ink Cartridge Page Yields Inconsistent?

Published: 03rd November 2008
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What is going on with HP printer ink page yields?

Traditionally, there have been several ways to determine the size of the inkjet cartridge before you bought it. There was most often the volume of ink in ml (milliliters) or sometimes fl (fluid ounces) printed on the box, cartridge or both. Sometimes there were page yields listed on the company web site or listed at the retail level. This information was crucial in differentiating expensive cartridges from economical models.

Until recently, much of that information could be taken at face value but last week, an accidental discovery brings up a valid question regarding the validity of OEM stated page yields.

First, let me say that there really is no accurate way to predict how many pages you may end up getting from a particular ink cartridge. This is due to the numerous variances in printing material, environments, habits and all of these variables change over the time frame in which the cartridge is used. With that being said, I still can't help but call "shenanigans" on HP.

While searching for ink volume information on new cartridges from HP's website, we found that there were no longer ink volumes available on any the cartridges we looked up. Fortunately, we had already gathered OEM ink volumes and page yields on all the older printer cartridges as they had been released in the past, so those weren't needed. The new models like the HP 60 black (CC640WN#140) and HP 901 (CC653AN#140) cartridge only showed "Cartridge yield: approx. 200 pages (actual yield depends on printer and specific use".

A quick trip out to our own warehouse was fruitless in finding the information we needed from the boxes on the actual product. None of the new OEM HP 60 boxes listed ink volumes and the page yield numbers were rounded to even 100 page increments such as "~200 pages" which is unusual.

I picked up an HP 74 OEM cartridge from the warehouse shelf, (released a few months ago); it read "HP 74 4.5 ml/0.15 fl oz" on the back of the box. We just got another shipment of the HP 74 OEM cartridges so I looked on the back of a new shipment of cartridges, it read "HP 74 ~200* pages", but the volume of ink had been removed?

The Hp 74 now shows 200 pages and I know it has 4.5 ml of ink because the older OEM box listed it. The HP 74xl contains 18ml of ink and has a listed page yield of 750 pages so let's assume that it is an honest estimation for now.

The new HP 60 black "standard" cartridges has a listed 200-page yield so I would guess it must have a 4.5ml ink volume since it also retails for the same price- right? Well, there is no way of knowing.

Wondering if all of the older HP cartridges now have new information regarding their page yield, I randomly looked up a few older HP models. To my surprise, the page yields listed on HP's website had changed!

I verified HP cartridge page yields from asapinkjets.com with Staples.com and all of them matched. Checking again with HP.com, I found that the page yields had been altered, all in the direction of up or not available. Here were a couple examples I found.

C9351AN-HP 21 Staples 150 HP now N/A

C9352AN-HP 22 Staples 140 HP now 165

C9362WN-HP 92 Staples 210 HP now N/A

C9361WN-HP 93 Staples 175 HP now 220

C8765WN-HP 94 Staples 450 HP now 480

Struggling to find an explanation, I gathered as much information on each HP cartridge from their website. I thought that maybe a change in the ink drop size could explain the changes in page yield if HP changed the printhead on the cartridges?

After comparing the known ink volume of each cartridge to the listed page yield of each cartridge (supplied by HP), I came up with a pages per ml figure. After that, I matched up similar PL (Pico liter) drop sizes (size of a single drop of ink formed by a single nozzle) from different models that had been released over the last 10 years for some black and color ink cartridges.

I could see huge variances in page yields per ml of ink between different HP cartridge models with the same size of PL drop. Color ink cartridges with a 5 PL drop ranged from 21 pages per ml to 68 pages per ml? Black inkjet cartridges with a 17 Pico Liter drop ranged from 22 pages to 30 pages per ml?

Granted, there may have been some advances in technology over time, which could have contributed to the overall increase in pages per ml. However, the swings are so large that I can't help but feel that the manufacturer page yield information is inaccurate at best and completely fabricated at worst. The Pico Liter drop size also appears to have little to do with page yield.

So what does all this mean to you? Well, it means that it is harder than ever to figure out what you're getting for your dollar.

Page yield information is being rounded up or just arbitrarily increased and actual printer ink volume information is not being released which makes it tough for the average consumer to gauge the value of a particular cartridge. This also makes it much easier to list unrealistic page yield information on the box since they are clearly washing their hands of any liability to realize those numbers.

The pool of information is becoming a little murky. HP may be up to something, so buyer beware.

Save up to 76% on your ink cartridges and laser toner by purchasing online at ASAP Inkjets. Join our free newsletter for tips & discounts at: subscribe@asapinkjets.com or visit http://www.asapinkjets.com/inkjet-cartridges-hp.html

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