Trying to determine how much ink you'll use may seem like a difficult task. But with the help of a little equation, you'll know how much ink you need in no time. So here it is:


Pages per week × 26 ÷ pages per cartridge = Number of cartridges you'll use over 6 months


Let's break it down...

1. Pages Per Cartridge

The first thing you'll want to figure out is how many pages your inkjet cartridge will yield. This can generally be found in the owner's manual or displayed on the packaging for the printer. This is an average number that covers basic pages, not graphic-heavy pages or photos from a non-inkjet photo printer.

For this example, let’s say that the printer model you are using says the typical cartridge will print 225 pages.

2. Pages Per Week

The next thing you'll need is how many pages per week you plan to print. This is something only you will know, but the average in a production environment is 100 pages per week. Take that number and multiple that by 26 weeks (aka 6 months). We'll go with the average, 100 × 26 = 2600 pages per 6 months.

3. Finish the Math

Lastly, take the number you just came up with (2600 pages per 6 months) and divide it by your pages per cartridge (225). 2600 ÷ 225 = 11.55. On average, you will use 12 ink cartridges over 6 months.

Determining Cost

Now that you know how many inkjet cartridges you will likely need, figuring out your spend is easy. Simply multiply the cost per cartridge by how many ink cartridges you'll use over 6 months. If the cartridges cost $28 each, in our example, you can plan on spending $312 every 6 months (12 cartridges × $28).

Another Way to Estimate

If equations aren't your thing, here's another way to estimate how much ink you'll use. On average, 1 ml of ink will equate 1 square foot of printing with average coverage. Therefore, 9 ml cartridges (4-color) should yield 36 square feet of printing. 30 ml cartridges (4-color) should yield about 120 square feet of printing. 110 ml bulk bags (4-color) should yield about 440 square feet of printing.

Keep in mind, these are only estimates, and there are countless variables such as the initial ink fill, cleanings, printer clean cycles, saturation, etc!  The first set of ink will generally yield less, as it has to prime the machine. Remember that the yield will always vary, and the maximum yield will hardly ever be achieved because it is impossible to print the exact same amount of all colors.

Good luck and happy printing!