laser cartridge scam?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2010
I've searched around the internet and found a lot of beefing about laser printer cartridges being a rip off, but not much substance. I don't know where to start, so I thought I begin here. I weighed the cartridges before and after.
I have an HP 2605dn color laser jet at home and a 2600 dn in my classroom.
I recently weighed the cartridges using a gram scale. I did this when the printer stopped working, and said to replace cartridges.

Color New (grams) Old(grams) Difference (grams)
Yellow 646.3 636.38 9.92
Cyan 646.2 641.3 4.9
Magenta 644.3 642.1 2.2
Black 659.6 603.5 47.5
Toner cartridges are all new H-P, in sealed cartons.
All were replaced when the printer refused to make anymore prints and indicated they needed replacing. All were less than 6 months old.

I almost never print color, yet the olor cartridges need replacing twice a year. Black cartridges about 3x. As can be seen the black cartridge used 5 x the toner as the Yellow, almost 10x the Cyan, and 24x the Magenta. I don't believe these cartridges 'spoil' over time.

The only problems I've ever had with print quality were from bad drums in the authorized cartridges themselves. ( I wasn't aware that I'd just spent $75 or at school $200 (district mark-up) for a bad Hp cart.
I think if a measurement protocol were established and large numbers of users weighed and shared their results patterns would emerge indicating that we're being scammed.
Any thoughts? Thanks


macrumors 601
Feb 9, 2011
I don't believe these cartridges 'spoil' over time.
Toner obviously doesn't spoil but humidity and other environmental factors can definitely affect the usability of a toner cartridge and the toner in it.

A lot of toner cartridges use optical sensors to detect when they're "out" and, depending on the sensor, may or may be accurate. Toner's certainly nowhere near the scam that ink is.


macrumors 6502a
Jun 1, 2010
The 'ham. Alabama.
Toner's certainly nowhere near the scam that ink is.
Amen to that. I went through 4-5 inkjet cartridges per year on my old inkjet. After 2 years, I finally replaced the first toner cartridge on my Brother AIO laser printer. Interesting note, we got the "low cartridge" warning about a year into use. I would periodically gently "rock" the cartridge back and forth, and gained an entire year of addtional printing.

To the OP, check the internet for your printer or cartridge model, there are work arounds to extend cartridge life in many cases (rocking, tape over a sensor window, etc).

Mr. McMac

Dec 21, 2009
Far away from liberals
My 11 year old HP LaserJet 2200DN barely gets any use but still prints beautifully on it's original toner cartridge. I'd say toner doesn't spoil over time even though they have an expiration date printed on them.

InkJet's on the other hand are a complete ripoff. If you don't use them on a regular basis, the ink will dry up, or the print nozzles will get clogged.. Unfortunately InkJet's are much better for printing photos than color Lasers
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macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2010
It looks like the printer is giving erroneous toner level readings. Instead of replacing a cartridge when the printer balks, just do a cartridge out override via the printer's control panel. The procedure is explained on page 134 of the 2605dn user manual. Then you can continue using the cartridge until low toner symptoms start to appear on the printed output. You may be able to extend that a bit longer by tipping the cartridge to redistribute the toner. I don't know if it's the same with the 2600dn, as it has less features.

Re the color toner usage, the 2605 uses some color toner for all printing, even B&W only.


macrumors 6502
Mar 15, 2008
Loveland, CO
I used to have an HP 2600n color laser printer for home and there is a setting on the menu that will let you keep using the cartridges after they claim to be empty. I found that the printer would declare that the cartridges needed to be replaced well before they actually stopped providing good printouts. I do think the HP method of determining the lifespan of the cartridge is extremely flawed. (And their toner is over priced.) I switched to a Samsung 315W. It also claims cartridges are empty well before they are done, but it does not stop printing ... it just pops up annoying dialog boxes to complain. Here are the instructions for disabling the cartridge out function:

Cartridge Out Override can only be enabled from the printer's control panel menu.
1. From the main menu, press (RIGHT ARROW) to System setup and press (SELECT).
2. Press (RIGHT ARROW) to Print quality and press (SELECT).
3. Press (RIGHT ARROW) to Replace supplies and press (SELECT).
4. Press (RIGHT ARROW) to Override out and press (SELECT).
5. Press (SELECT).


macrumors 68030
Jul 7, 2009
Please note, HP is the company that pioneered the expiring toner cartridges. They embed a chip inside the cartridge to cause them to automatically expire after so many days. That being said, they got a ton of negative feedback because of this and MIGHT have pulled that technology. But, for me, the damage was done, I won't purchase HP equipment anymore.

I have a Dell color laser printer I purchased almost 10 years ago; the damn thing is JUST running out of it's toner cartridges now.
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