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Why is My Printer Cartridge Running Out So Quick?

empty printer cartridge premature

“I could have sworn I just replaced that printer cartridge...and it’s already empty?” 

While you’re always recommended to determine the cost of ownership of a printer or copier by cost-per-page, it can sometimes seem like your device has begun chugging down cartridges faster than usual. So, what gives? Well, there may be a few reasons for that. Let’s see which reason fits your scenario. 

More Users = Less Ink or Toner

Though you can easily account for every image produced on a home printer or copier, you likely can’t do the same in a busy office. If multiple team members all use your office copier or printer, there’s really no telling what they’re printing short of closer supervision. 

We get it—you trust that your team members aren’t printing off fliers for their smooth jazz band’s gigs or copies of their favorite J.K. Rowling novels. However, if you feel that your toner and ink cartridges are running dry prematurely, analyzing your organization’s print volumes may unmask the print-happy culprit.

printer culprit

It was Carl from sales printing off copies of the Yellowpages!” 


Not How Much, But What You’re Printing

We’ll be the first to admit that most projected print yields for printer cartridges don’t reflect the most faithful version of reality. With this being said, they’re certainly attainable if your team is mindful of what they’re printing. 

  • Was that news article’s featured image really necessary to print? 
  • Does your company’s default letterhead contain a chunky black line or huge bold text? 
  • Did you really need to print the blue background of that slide presentation?
  • Will the copier handle those print-outs of your grandkids at the pumpkin patch as well as Shutterfly?

Printer-friendly versions of website pages and slide presentations not only save toner and ink but can also reduce the wear-and-tear on your printer devices. 


  • Before you print absolutely anything, utilize “Print Preview.” This simple feature will let you know what Jackson Pollock painting you’re about to put your printer through. 
  • Look for a “printer-friendly” option button on website pages before printing. If you can’t locate this feature, open a new tab, type in “”, and then paste the URL of the website page you want to print there. This free tool not only produces a more printer-friendly view but also allows you to remove any unwanted image-heavy elements on the page before printing. 

Yes, It Could Certainly Be Defective...But Probably Not

Congratulations on eliminating all of the most-likely and non-mechanical reasons for prematurely spent cartridges—especially since blaming the technology was what you wanted to do all along. (I mean, yelling at a machine is much easier than confronting a human, right?

But yes, the defective technology could certainly be to blame. It’s probably not, but not out of the realm of possibility. 


  • Start cheap and work your way to the expensive fixes. If you were to take a faulty sewing machine to be fixed, the first thing the technician will do is replace the needle. Why? Because the reason for a skipped skitch could be a slightly bent $0.65 part. The same may be true for your printer. Replace the cartridge with another to see if it lasts the same amount of time under the same conditions. If the new one fares better, that may have been your problem. It’s not unheard of to receive multiple defective cartridges in a single order. If this is the case, let your vendor know immediately.
  • If the various cartridges all perform equally inefficiently, there may be a problem with your printer. If this is the case, your best move is to consult a reputable printer repair company certified to work on your model device. They will be able to diagnose your machine’s issue properly and suggest the necessary next steps. 

In Conclusion

So, to review, some of the reasons why your printer cartridge is prematurely running low vary.

  • Your team may be printing ink-rich or toner-heavy documents in high quantity. 
  • You may be printing off unnecessary graphics or imagery. 
  • Your cartridges or printer may be defective. 

Cheers to efficient printing! 

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