Understanding ISO Page Yield

What is page yield and why is ISO page yield important?
Page yield is the approximate number of pages that can be printed with a printer cartridge
Printer manufacturers have historically used their own methods for estimating how many pages their printer cartridges would yield. But these different methods made it difficult for customers to compare competing products.
That’s where the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) comes in. In 2004, the ISO began collaborating with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to publish yield standards for monochrome toner (ISO/IEC 19752), color inkjet (ISO/IEC 24711) and color toner cartridges (ISO/IEC 19798). With these new standards, customers now have a more accurate way to compare products from different manufacturers, empowering them to make better-informed decisions.
Note: The page yield tests only work with either A4 or 8.5x11” paper. There are currently no page yield standards associated with 4x6 prints (a commonly used size for photos). 
Find out more about ISO/EIC standards.
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How is ISO page yield determined?

ISO page yield is determined by thorough testing, which differs slightly between monochrome and color cartridges.

Monochrome toner cartridge yield test

This test (ISO/IEC 19752) uses a standard test page with about 5 percent coverage. The test page is printed continuously until the cartridge is empty (indicated by an “out of ink” message from the printer or discoloration on the test page).

Color inkjet cartridge yield and color toner cartridge yield tests

These tests (ISO/IEC 24711 and 19798) use a standard set of five test pages — four typical customer pages and one diagnostic page-that are printed continuously until the cartridge is empty. The standard set contains a mixture of images and text in different quantities to achieve an average of 5 percent coverage per color per page (for an aggregate total of approximately 20 percent page coverage). Page yield tests are conducted in a controlled environment with a temperature of 23 ° C +/-2 ° C.

Number of cartridges tested

At minimum, three cartridge sets are tested on three different printers (for a total of nine cartridges tested). These cartridges have different manufacturing dates and locations.

How does ISO page yield differ from actual page yield?
Because customers are unlikely to replicate the precise conditions of the ISO test’s controlled environment, actual page yields will vary. Factors of actual use (like page coverage, room temperature, single vs. double-sided printing) cause this variation.
While ISO page yield may not be an accurate predictor of exactly how many pages your cartridge will yield, it’s still a reliable way to compare competing products, since all tests are subjected to the same set of ISO testing standards.