Print Yields of MICR toner cartridges

On our website the yield means the number of checks a toner cartridge should be able to print, based on printing 3 checks per page. On other websites you may see a disclaimer that says toner cartridge yields are based on 5% toner coverage. Toner coverage doesn't mean much to most people, nor does it really apply when printing checks. Actual number of checks that can be printed with any MICR cartridge is based on a number of variables:

Printer Darkness Settings

#1 cause of getting a 'lower than expected' yield is having your laser printer set at the wrong darkness setting. Unless you manually lower the toner darkness setting in your printer, it was likely set VERY high by the manufacturer. Printer manufactuturers do this intentionally because they make huge profits on toner and want you to use it up as quickly as possible so you'll buy more from them.

High darkness settings can use up to 10 TIMES the amount of MICR toner for each check printed.
Our CheckToner™ MICR is specially formulated for specific printers. This means that some laser printers can be set at "#1" (on the 1 to 10 darkness setting scale) when using our CheckToner™. Most of our MICR produces the best bank-readable checks at darkness settings #2 through #4. Some of our MICR cartridges can print good checks at setting #1 because our MICR toner is so much darker and denser than competitors. On printers without "1 to 10" settings, use the Toner Saver mode (a/k/a Ecomony Mode). Toner Saver mode is the equivalent to a darkness setting of 3 or 4 on most low cost laser printers. We believe the printer manufacturers intentionally leave off the "1 to 10" options on cheaper printers so people who purchase them are forced to use much more toner (more $$$ in the pockets of the manufacturers, especially Hp and Samsung). When you scrimp on the cost of the printer, you usually end up paying much more over time for toner cartridges. All our posted check yield estimates are based on using the best laser printer in each category. In other words, most toner cartridges fit into a variety of different printer models around the world. Our estimated yields are based on our ACTUAL testing with the best printer in each group. As new printers become available, we test at least one in the group to determine and formulate the best blend of MICR that will deliver the best yield. If you want to see samples of our testing, look at the test checks on our MICR Information Page.

Types of checks

#2 cause of lower than expected yield is number of checks per page that you are printing. Quicken is the most popular checking software and it primarily prints 3 checks per page so we base our testing on their format (3 checks per page). Photos below show the variety of standard check papers. The left and center photo use almost the same amount of toner because there is text in all 3 sections of the paper. If you print only 1 check per page like the photo below on the right, the yield may be higher, depending on how much text, lines and graphics you print in the "non-check" areas.

What most people do not know is that ALL laser printers cover the entire page with a thin layer of toner every time you print a sheet and some toner also goes into a waste bin that is either built into the toner cartridge or is part of the imaging unit (drum assembly). This means that you won't get 3 times the amount of pages when printing single (one per page) checks.

    3 checks per page             voucher check & 2 stubs         single check per page

Content on checks

#3 cause of lower than expected yield is the text, images and other elements being printed on each check. Printing the minimal amount of text to make a legal check using a font size of 8pt, 9pt or 10pt in Arial (the font you see here) without adding ANY other divider lines, photos or logos, will use the least amount of toner. BOLD faced type, larger type, heavier fonts, extra text, images, watermarks, logos and extra lines ALL reduce yield. If you are not sure about the content of your checks, mail us a sample (to address shown at bottom of page) for a free analysis.

Printer & cartridge condition

#4: Condition of the printer and cartridge parts has a MAJOR affect on the number of checks that can be printed with a MICR cartridge. New printers with new cartridges and new drums produce the best yields. Older printers with used or recycled cartridge parts have the lowest yields. Every laser printer has a shiny green or blue metal roller called the drum. If the drum is built into the cartridge, purchasing and using our Max-Fill™ MICR cartridges will give you the best yield. If your printer uses cartridges where the drum is not part of the toner cartridge, your laser printer likely has an imaging unit. Imaging units normally contain the drum and a toner waste compartment. The drum in an imaging unit normally lasts 3 to 5 times as long as a Max MICR cartridge. However, the waste bin in the imaging unit CAN get full and overflow into the printer. If you start to see specks (spots) of black toner on your checks, remove the imaging unit. If it appears to be leaking toner when you remove it, your waste bin is full and MUST be emptied or you should replace the entire imaging unit. New printers with imaging units that can run faster than 35 pages per minute MUST be stopped to let the fuser wire cool or the heat WILL damage the drum. We suggest stopping all laser printers every 2 minutes or 70 printed pages for cooling to avoid drum damage when printing with MICR toner. If you fail or forget to do this, printed text starts to get lighter and you'll get lower yield from the drum in the imaging unit (need to replace the imaging unit more frequently than normal).

Are you using a brand new imaging unit or did you purchase an imaging unit from us? We mention this because we've seen competitors selling MICR cartridges with used drums that are in very poor condition. You can't tell by physically looking at a drum. When you install a cartridge or imaging unit with a bad drum the output is light gray, full of spots, streaks or all 3. Our Single- filled CheckToner™ MICR cartridges have used drums, but we inspect them to make sure they can print bank-readable checks. Unfortunately we can't calculate how much life is left in a used drum. In other words, the used drum may fail before you've used all or even most of the MICR toner in the cartridge.

Our Max-filled MICR cartridges and MICR imaging units have 100% brand new drums. This is another reason why most of our customers purchase our Max-Fill™ MICR cartridges and MICR imaging units.

Printer usage

#5: People sometimes forget to remove MICR cartridges from printers when printing other documents that can be printed with regular toner. Or, some prefer to use a MICR cartridge to print everything. Our print yields are based on printing ONLY checks. Some users of our Max-Fill™ CheckToner™ cartridges have said they prefer our cartridges to print everything because they've determined that 1 of our Max-Fill™ is cheaper than buying 6 or more regular (non-MICR) toner cartridges. However, when printing documents other than checks with one of our MICR cartridges, we suggest lowering the toner darkness setting.

Check paper

#6: ABA (American Bankers Asssociation) standards for check paper is 24 pound thickness, which is thicker than normal copy paper. Check paper may have background color(s) or pre-printed patterns and a coating. The type of background ink or paper coating can affect how MICR toner looks and adheres to the paper. If you're not sure about the check paper you have, send us a few sample sheets for a free analysis. If you don't already have check paper, we offer our ChecksForms™ which meet ABA standards.

All estimated yields on are based on using our MICR cartridges to print 3 checks per page with minimal amount of text and lowest toner darkness that produces bank-readable checks on ChecksForms paper. We determine these estimates based on actual check printing tests in our offices with laser printers from Dell, Epson, Hp, Lexmark, Okidata, Samsung and Xerox.

NOTE: Chip, heat, humidity, other forms of damage to CheckToner™MICR cartridge and/or imaging unit drum caused by improper end user storage or use voids all our warranties.

For more information about our CheckToner™ MICR cartridges click HERE


Our Max-Filled™ MICR cartridges = lowest cost per check.

For free analysis of your checks, mail a sample page of your check(s) to:
Glenn Welt / ChecksNet
342 Island Reef Ave
Henderson NV 89002.

1. Mark the check with the Toner Darkness setting used to print.
Include BANK NAME & CITY if you submitted your (checks) to magnetic testing.
3. Include your email and phone number.

We email findings & suggestions within 1 business day after receipt.

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