How long does a printer toner last? If you’ve had a toner for a long time, you might wonder, do toners expire? And how can I make them last longer?
Do toners expire? Yes, but not like food. Toner cartridges don’t come with an expiration date. They can expire by being too old, running out of toner, or experiencing damage that affects performance. Printer toner best before dates are generally 2 years after manufacture.
Do Toners Expire?
Generally, the toner cartridge’s shelf life is two years for unopened protective bags and six months after opening the protective bag. If you extend your toner usage past this, your printer may not operate at the highest quality. Of course, your printer will still recognize your toner cartridge.
Printer toner is not the same as printer ink, which can expire.
There are various ways to make printer toners last longer. Below are some tips to extend the utility of your toners.
But first, let’s review what printer brands say about toner expiration dates.
How Long Toner Should Last, According to Printer Brands
Here is what the following printer brands say about their toners’ expiration.
HP states clearly on their site that “There is no expiration date for the use of HP toner cartridges.”
They provide a manufacturing date and the warranty end date on their toner cartridge. The warranty end date is usually 2 years after its manufacture.
The date of manufacture on the toner cartridge box is intended for HP internal processes and may be required to comply with regulatory standards in certain countries. The date of manufacture is not an expiration or “use before” date. There is no expiration date for the use of HP toner cartridges.HP.com
Brother says their toner cartridge has a shelf life of 2 years if the protective bag is unopened. However, the brother toner cartridge will last 6 months if the protective bag is opened.
The toner cartridge shelf life is 2 years if the protective bag is unopened or 6 months after the protective bag is opened.brother.com
Canon released a statement saying they provide a 90-day warranty for their toners. The warranty also backs up the omitted manufacture date.
The manufacturer claims the toners remain effective provided the tanks’ seal is intact.
Epson ink cartridges indicate a “Best Before Date.” The date is usually approximated to 2 years after its manufacture.
Lexmark toner cartridges have an approximate shelf life of two years and six months out of the packaging.
6. Other Brands
Most manufacturers state that a toner cartridge works best within 12 to 24 months after purchase.
How to Extend Toner Life (Reduce Consumption)
Since printer toners don’t expire for about two years, the next factor affecting how long toner lasts is consumption.
Here are a few tips and tricks to stretching out the lifespan of your toner,
Adjust Printer Settings
You can configure different ways on your printer to save on ink or toners. For instance, consider the steps to change your printer setting:
- Use your computer to access the built-in printing preferences
- Access printer settings on windows computers
- Click Start, then go to Settings
- Select printers and scanners from the devices section, and choose your printer
- Click on the manage button
- Adjust your preferences
- Click Apply Settings
Standard printer preferences include:
- Grayscale: One of the printing preferences is printing in grayscale. It allows you to save on color cartridges by printing documents in black and white only.
- Printing Modes: You can use draft mode or economy mode when printing.
- Multiple Pages per Sheet: Under document options, you can print multiple pages per sheet. The choice is excellent for printing lengthy PowerPoint slides for your documentation. I prefer this setting for large documents. By printing 2 pages per sheet, then printing double-sided, I can have 4 pages on one sheet. Much easier to scan the data.
- Duplex Printing: When you print on both sides of a piece of paper, conserve paper and use about half the toner. It can save you a lot of money in the long run.
These settings may vary depending on your printer’s design. Consult with your local printer dealer to know what is accessible to you.
Clean and Maintain Your Printer
Like all equipment, your printer needs regular maintenance to function correctly. Standard printer maintenance practices include regular cleaning, checking for loose parts, and replacing worn-out components.
To clean your toner cartridge, remove it from your printer and gently tap it on a hard surface to loosen any built-up toner. Then, use a soft cloth to wipe away any debris.
Use Original Toner and Drum
Using generic toner or drum in your printer can shorten your printer’s lifespan.
Original toners and drums are specifically designed for your printer model and will help it run more smoothly.
Commonly Asked Questions
Here are some other commonly asked questions about toners.
Do printer toners have an expiration date?
Most manufacturers state that you get the best out of your toner cartilage within 12 to 24 months after purchase. But most laser toners don’t have a stated expiration date.
What is the best place to store my toner?
Consider the following places:
- A location that is consistently between 60 to 75°F (15 to 24°C).
- A location that is 50% relative humidity or lower.
- Store all your cartridges horizontally
What happens if a toner cartridge is stored in high heat, direct sunlight, or above 50% humidity?
When your toner is exposed to heat or direct sunlight, the toner can clump together and forms toner pebbles, you can check for this by shaking your toner cartridge which sounds like someone put small rocks in it.
Such toner cartilage is unusable, and consider replacing it.
Have an ink printer? Here’s how to keep printer ink from drying out.
Toner is a precious printer accessory that needs proper maintenance for an efficient, cost-conscious office. Toner lifespan is an essential part of deciding what brand of printer works best for you.
So, how long does toner last in a printer? For at least two years. For most offices, you’ll run out of toner before it degrades in quality. And it will last even longer if you store your cartridges properly and follow these tips.
How did these work for you? Have a tip to share? Join me below!
Dena Haines is a co-founder and writer on PrintLikeThis. We troubleshoot printer problems to get you back to printing.
She also writes at Storyteller Tech and is a travel blogger at Storyteller.Travel. Dena is co-founder of Storyteller Media, a company he started with her husband, Bryan.