How to Measure Your Printer’s Toner Levels

How to Measure Your Printer's Toner Levels

When was the last time you checked your printer’s toner levels? If you have begun to notice streaks, blots or even areas of your prints that are missing entirely, it may be time to replace your toner cartridge. Continue reading this blog to find out how to check printer toner levels so you can proactively not waste paper by finding out the hard way.

What Is Printer Toner?

You may already be aware, but toner is different than ink. Ink is a liquid substance that has been tinted with pigments or dyes and is used in inkjet printers. On the other hand, toner is used in laser printers and is made up of polyester that has been ground into a fine powder.

Close up of an ink blot

Laser printers use static electricity to attract the polyester-based toner in order to print digital documents. A laser is used to create an electrostatic template of what you want to print on an electrically charged rotating metal drum. The toner dispensed onto the drum only sticks to the areas that have the charge. The drum then transfers the toner onto the paper in the exact shapes and lines that make up text or images, fusing the toner to the sheets using heat.

Typically, you will be able to print thousands of pages using a single toner cartridge. However, it will eventually need to be replaced, which will require you to know when your toner levels are low. So, knowing if you have an inkjet or laser printer will save you a lot of time and headaches if you’re searching for toner levels.

Signs You Need New Toner

There are three common signs that you need new toner you can look out for that will let you know when it’s time to order some new toner. After going over these signs, we’ll teach you how to check your printer’s levels so that you can prevent them from happening again in the future.

Clumpy Toner

The first sign that your printer’s toner levels might be running low, is that you begin to notice streaks on your printed pages. Sometimes, when cartridges are nearly empty, the last remaining toner can form clumps whenever you print. These clumps of toner can cause streaks to smear across your page.

To rectify this situation, you just have to remove the toner cartridge and give it a thorough shake. Shaking the cartridge can help the toner to settle more evenly so that clumps no longer occur. You may even be able to get a few more days of printing by doing so, so don’t dismiss any clumps as your toner cartridge running out. Order a new cartridge in the meantime and keep reading this blog to find out how to check printer toner levels before this occurs.

Inadequate Toner Coverage

The easiest way to check printer toner levels is when your printed sheets start to show signs of low toner coverage. Like we previously mentioned, this may include uneven prints or entire areas missing from a page. If the text or images aren’t as sharp and clear as they were before can also be a good indication that your printer’s toner cartridge is empty or close to it.

However, finding out your printer’s toner levels based on the quality of your prints can be an unwanted surprise. If you have important documents to print or deadlines to meet, being left without toner when you least expect it can understandably be extremely frustrating. Stay on top of your printer’s needs with regular checks and warnings.

Printer Warnings

The third sign that it might be time to replace your printer’s toner cartridge is when you begin to receive printer warnings, either on your computer or from the printer itself. Most laser printer models today will have a display panel that will blink or alert you to important information regarding your printer.

As your toner cartridge gets depletes more and more, you will receive messages warning you to replace it soon. However, you’ll likely be able to continue printing for a while before it completely runs out. When you begin to notice the signs we mentioned previously, that’s when it’s truly time to get a new toner cartridge.

If you want to avoid these signs in the future, continue reading to find out how to check printer toner levels.

Close up of a stop sign warning printer toner levels

How To Measure Printer Levels

For the most part, the way you will measure toner levels will depend on the model and manufacturer of your printer. Generally, there are two main ways that printers will allow you to do so; through the printer itself or on your computer.

A lot of newer printers will come with a built-in screen that allows you to get reports on all kinds of information regarding your printer and its status. If you do have a newer model with a built-in display, you can use the screen to check the printer’s levels easily. You might even have the option to print a system data or status page so that you can tangibly see your printer’s current toner levels.

Other printers will send all important information, including its levels, to your computer. You can access these reports through the printers panel, which can be found in settings. They’ll show you your printer’s toner levels for any cartridges that are currently installed.

Additionally, you can install an application on your computer that will monitor your printer’s toner levels and provide you with regular status updates.

We hope that this blog was helpful! If you have any questions on how to check printer toner levels on your particular make and model, contact us today.

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