Printer majors rally around ISO toner lifespan standard

But what about print quality?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

As the debate over the price of toner and ink continues to bubble over, printer makers Epson, HP, Canon and Lexmark have attempted to show their noses are clean by jointly announcing they will support the ISO's new laser printer toner cartridge yield benchmark.

The standard, ISO/IEC 19752, defines a universal measure of monochrome toner cartridge longevity. Some printer manufacturers have long been criticised for quoting cartridge life stats that are not matched by real-world experience. The ISO's benchmark is not only intended to provide a metric more relevant to users but one that allows better vendor-to-vendor comparisons.

The benchmark defines a standard page to be output using default printer settings. At least nine toner cartridges available on the open market are used to yield a statistically significant maximum page count. Each is run until the printer stops printing. And at least three printers are used to cater for variations in the hardware. The environment in which they operate is also defined and controlled.

Crucially, the benchmarks can be used to measure the longevity of manufacturers' own cartridges, third-party products and refilled cartridges equally.

It's these latter products that the major vendors hope the ISO standard will expose as poor value. Users are currently faced with expensive-seeming 'official' cartridges or cheaper no-name alternatives that may not deliver comparable print quality or toner longevity. The standard should allow them to more easily compare products - assuming, of course, that the third-party producers submit their products for testing.

So far the standard only applies to black-and-white lasers, but the major vendors said they hope the benchmark will be extended to cover colour lasers and inkjet printers. These standards are expected to be complete by the end of 2005.

Even then, the ISO may need to go further: there's no metric for print quality, only how many copies a given cartridge type can churn out. It's possible for a product to offer a superior ISO-based longevity rating yet yield poorer prints than lesser-scoring alternatives.

Details of the ISO standard can be found at the organisation's website, here. ®

Related stories

Printer ink seven times more expensive than Dom Perignon
Dell's Rollins turns on ink-dealing HP
Lexmark printer ink resists fading
EU recycles Lexmark ink cartridge probe
Bring on the empty cartridges
Epson, we have a problem
Lexmark loses round 2 in DMCA chip case
Lexmark slapped with anti-trust suit
Lexmark wins Round 1 in DMCA chip case


Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.