Blog > Print Experts: How to Tell if Your Cartridge is Empty

Print Experts: How to Tell if Your Cartridge is Empty

Print Experts: How to Tell if Your Cartridge is Empty

Running out of ink halfway through a print job is one of the most annoying things that can happen during your workday. It seems we spend half our time either replacing the ink cartridge in our printers or yelling at the printer for saying there’s low ink when we swear we just replaced it! Our print experts are here to weigh in on how to tell if your printer cartridge is actually empty.

How Ink and Toner Cartridges Work

To understand why printer cartridges give you a low ink sign, you must know how they work. Ink and toner both work similarly. A cartridge filled with either liquid ink or powdered toner is inserted into the machine. The machine has a sensor that reads how much actual pigment is inside the cartridge and uses that pigment to place images on paper. When you send a print job from your computer, the computer tells the printer where to deposit the ink or toner. If there isn’t enough ink or toner left in the cartridge, the printer will display a low or empty sign to indicate you should replace the cartridge soon.

The Dreaded Low Ink Message: What’s the Truth?

There are two arguments in the low ink argument. Cynics argue that printer manufacturers design printers and ink cartridges specifically to display low ink messages before they’re empty to incentivize purchasing additional cartridges. While this theory definitely might have some truth backing it, it’s not the whole story. Printers are actually in danger when filled with an empty cartridge. If a cartridge doesn’t have enough ink or toner in it, it starts overworking itself. In the overworking process, the cartridge begins to heat up. Even slight temperature increases can cause incredible damage to the printer. Printer manufacturers argue people would rather purchase additional ink cartridges instead of dealing with costly machine repairs.

What to Do if Your Cartridge Isn’t Actually Empty

Most printer cartridges can run for much longer than the low ink message says they can. A recent study saw empty cartridges with as much as 40% toner remaining in them! If you suspect your cartridge isn’t dry, take it out and shake it a few times. Shifting the material inside can trick the machine’s sensors into thinking there’s more than before. Another trick is to put your cartridge, not the device, in warm water for a bit to loosen up any stuck ink or toner. If you go with this route, make sure to thoroughly dry it off before inserting the cartridge back into the machine!


When the Ink Runs Dry

When your ink indeed does run dry, don’t wait around to replace the cartridge. If cost is an issue, consider choosing a refurbished cartridge from a trusted print supplier. You might even get a discount for recycling your old cartridge through the program offered by Vegas Ink & Toner. Replacing cartridges is a fact of life in the modern world, but it doesn’t need to be a painful experience. Contact Vegas Ink & Toner today to learn more!


For more common printing and other related tips, please contact Vegas Ink and Toner.

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