Trying to identify how many prints you can get out of a single ink cartridge or bulk ink system is a difficult and challenging task. There are definitely too many variables to just throw a number out there. So, here is an equation to help find the approximate number of prints you can get out of a cartridge.
Pages Per Cartridge: Each printer will reveal how many pages an inkjet cartridge will print. 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.
Calculate Use: Multiply the number of pages per week (the average in a production environment is 100) by the number of weeks in a six-month period (26). A good estimate is that you will print 2,600 pages each six months. Now, take 2,600 and divide it by the number of pages the ink cartridge will print (225). This means you will need to purchase 12 inkjet printer ink cartridges during the six-month period.
Determine Cost: Now that you know how many inkjet cartridges you will likely need, determine the cost of an individual replacement ink cartridge for the printer you are considering. If the new cartridges cost $28 each, you can plan on spending $336 every 6 months on cartridges (12 x 28 = 336). For an annual cost, just multiply the answer by two. This allows you a much better opportunity to save money by purchasing cartridges in bulk or by buying a printer that gives you the best cost per print.
If that last query had a little too much math for you, we’ve also put together some basic estimates as to what to expect out of standard cartridges and bulk bags.
About 1 ml of ink will equal 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, including, but not limited to, 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.
Not to end on a sour note, but it’s important to 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!