Glossary of terms


Also called yield, a variety of different terms are used by the brand manufacturers to describe how long you might expect a cartridge to last.
Broadly speaking they fall within one of three sizes:

SC / STD / SY / L - Standard capacity / yield 
HC / HY / X / XL   - High capacity / yield
XHC / XHY / XXL   - Extra high, super high capacity / yield

For example, Epson use L, XL and XXL to denote different ink cartridge sizes, Canon, HP and Kodak use XL to denote their high capacity ink cartridges.

Higher capacity cartridge will last longer and print more pages, at a lower cost per page printed.

Codes and manufacturer references:

Most genuine original cartridges (OEMs / ) have a short code, known as the manufacturer number and a long code, known as the manufacturer part number (P/N). There are exceptions, for example Brother and Canon use a manufacturer number along with a colour name, the P/N is not clearly displayed

In all cases the coding data we display will reflect the main OEM format and coding convention. In other words the OEM codes will be shown as they appear on the branded packaging and you can use the manufacturer number or the part number to search for your requirements.
Compatible replacement cartridge codes will usually include a cartridge number short code that relates to the genuine original cartridge to be replaced. However, there are a number of compatible replacement cartridge that replace several different OEM universal cartridges. You can ascertain which cartridges any compatible replaces and the printers it will work for by clicking on “Data sheet & printers” in the relevant compatible product box.

Note: We use the term "ORIGINAL BRAND" when referring to OEM products.


Compatible cartridges:

Compatible is the term used to describe brand new cartridges. They are not remanufactured or refilled cartridges, nor are they manufactured by the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). Although compatible cartridges fit as expected, they are usually designed to look different from OEM cartridges so as not to infringe patents. Also known as generic or new build cartridges there are many different compatible cartridges available on the market. Many of these are of poor quality and care must be taken when choosing to use a compatible.
We source our compatible cartridges from reputable makers. They are the highest quality grades available to ensure little or no compromise with quality.

Note: We use the term "REPLACEMENT compatibleto refer to compatible, generic and new build cartridges and drum units. We also use the same term for remanufactured cartridges and drums.


Coverage, 5% and other:

OEM manufacturers will often include the term “pages @ 5% coverage” along with a claimed number of pages your cartridge will print (see ISO/IEC 24712:2007)
For the purpose of calculating these yields, most OEM manufacturers employ the methods set out by the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) as follows:

- ISO/IEC 19752 describes the methods and procedures used to determine the number of pages a monochrome (mono or black) toner will print. This is known as the cartridge page yield.

- ISO/IEC 19798 describes the methods and procedures used to determine the colour toner page yield.

- ISO/IEC 24711 describes the methods and procedures used to determine the ink cartridge page yield.

- ISO/IEC 24712:2007 defines the test page suite used to measure consumable yields in colour inkjet and laser printers and multi-functional machines.

Although many manufacturers quote page yields for their ink cartridges, the term “@ 5% coverage” is not apparent so often. Customers often complain that they do not print anything like the number of pages claimed by the OEMs on the cartridge packaging. We think that the use of subjective terms such as "varies considerably", “other factors” and “approx.” on OEM packaging must devalue the declared page yields to some extent.

For example the page yields published by Hp are based on this the ISO/IEC 24711 standard but HP declares that:
“Actual yield varies considerably based on the content of printed pages, frequency of printing, ink used in printer set-up and other factors. Some HP inkjet printers include an introductory cartridge in the printer box, which may print less than an HP replacement cartridge. HP's printer packaging indicates whether introductory cartridges are included with the printer.”

Whereas the page yields quoted by Brother on printer cartridges are accompanied by the declaration:
“Approx. cartridge yield is declared in accordance with ISO/IEC 24711.”

(See also FAQs: How do ISO page yields differ from actual page yields?)


Doctor blade:

The doctor blade is the toner cartridge component that meters the toner powder onto to the developer roller.


Drum unit:

A drum unit, also known as the OPC, is the laser printer component used to apply toner to the paper.
The printer’s laser charges the drum unit with the image to be printed. A reflection of this image in toner powder is attracted onto the drum electrostatically, the powder image is then transferred and heat-fused to the paper as it passes through the drum and fuser units. The drum unit is then discharged and the wiper blade collects any powder residue and transfers it to a waste toner collector.


Gel and solid inks:

Some ink cartridges contain ink in a gel or solid form. To the best of our knowledge, two manufacturers, Ricoh and Xerox currently manufacture printers that use gel ink and solid ink respectively.



A fuser unit or assembly is a pair of rollers, one of which is heated, the other a rubber backed pressure roller. As paper passes between these rollers, the toner powder transferred from the drum unit is bonded to it with heat and pressure.


Imaging unit:

See drum unit above.


Inkjet cartridges and ink tanks:

Inkjet cartridges contain liquid ink and this is applied to the paper through the printhead. Some inkjet cartridges incorporate a printhead and some are merely tanks containing the ink. In the case of ink tanks the printhead is incorporated within the inkjet printer itself.


International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC):

The IEC collaborates with the ISO (see below) to publish yield standards for printer cartridges.


International Organisation for Standardization (ISO):

ISO is an organisation that develops and publishes International Standards. The standards most often quoted by manufacturers in our industry are ISO 9001 which specifies the requirements for quality management systems, ISO 14001 which specifies the requirements for environmental management systems and ISO/IEC 19752, ISO/IEC 19798 and ISO/IEC 24711 which relate to printer cartridge page yields (see Coverage above).


Magnetic ink character recognition (MICR):

MICR inks, ribbons and toners contain mixtures of liquid ink, plastic powder, lubricants, enhancers and iron oxides.
MICR toner inks are used to print the magnetisable code lines on security documents such as cheques, bank drafts and lottery tickets. These code lines are machine readable and can be processed automatically.



This is the acronym used for multi-function printers. As well as printing, these devices copy and scan documents and many are also fax machines. MFPs are also known as all-in-ones or AIOs.


Millilitres (ml) Ink Content:

This is volume of ink contained in each cartridge. Although Brother, Canon, Epson, Hp and Kodak declare ink content for many cartridges, others such as Dell and Lexmark only publish page yield information. Data relating to ink volumes, if not given on the cartridge packaging, can be difficult to find.
Any such data that is published by the OEMs is provided within our online store and can be quickly found by using our supplies wizard. This enables easy comparisons between the different costs per ml so you can calculate the savings to be gained using higher capacity cartridges.
If manufacturers do not publish ml content data, you can use the claimed page yields and the cost per page to compare the different capacity cartridges.



Also known as combo-packs, dual packs, twin packs and valuepacks these are pre-packed sets of cartridges which are offered at a reduced cost when compared to buying the cartridges individually. In recent times the OEMs have reduced the cost advantage available through purchasing these packs and in many cases savings are now marginal and the benefit has become one of convenience rather than value.
However, there are still some big savings available but be sure to compare costs before you buy to ascertain any financial gain available.


OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer):

OEM is the term commonly used within the industry to describe consumables produced by or on behalf of the printer manufacturer and sold under the Original Equipment Manufacturer brand. OEMs are commonly known to consumers as Genuine, Original, Brand or Branded cartridges or a combination of these terms.
We use the term "ORIGINAL BRAND" when referring to OEM products.


Page Yield:

Page yield is the approximate number of pages that can be printed with a print cartridge. Page yield is calculated by most manufacturers using the methods set out by the ISO/ IEC standards (see Coverage above).
To compare the different laser toner cartridge capacities, you will need to check the manufacturer page yield claims. You can do this by using our smart quick printer search wizard. First enter your printer model reference in the “Search supplies by printer” panel. Next, click on the dropdown that matches your printer model reference and you will get information about all the products that are suitable for your printer including cost per page to facilitate any comparisons you need to make.


Photo conductor: See drum unit above.


Printer model references:

Many printer model references include prefixes and suffixes.
Common prefixes include the letters L for laser, M for mono (black and white) and C denoting colour.
Suffixes include c, d, f, n and/ or w denote that the printer is colour, duplex (automatic double-sided printing), a fax, network ready and/ or wireless (WiFi).If there is an x in the suffix this denotes that the printer has more than one paper tray.



Some inkjet printers will use ink tanks to feed ink to printheads on a carriage that moves left and right across the page being printed through which the ink is applied for each line printed. Where the printhead is incorporated with the cartridges, they will be inserted into a carriage that traverses back and forth across the page as each line is printed.



The term refilled is used to describe toner or inkjet cartridges that have had their toner powder or liquid ink levels topped up. Unlike remanufactured cartridges, refills will rarely have any of their components replaced and the level that they can be topped up is dictated by both the original capacity and any content remaining prior to refilling. Consequently, refilled cartridges are unlikely to last as long as a genuine original, compatible or remanufactured cartridge.



Also known as recycled or refurbished cartridges, both inkjet and laser toner cartridges are remanufactured.Remanufactured cartridges will re-use the outer casing of the OEM along with other components.


Remanufactured Inkjet Cartridges:

Many inkjet cartridges contain a sponge to help stabilise the ink contained within them. ActiveJet remanufactured inkjet cartridges have this sponge replaced with one of a lesser density thereby enabling up to four times as much ink or more in the cartridge as against that originally provided. However, it should be noted that it is not possible to reset the electronic ink level reader on these cartridges so they will often register as nearly empty. Therefore the only way of knowing that a recycled inkjet is running out of ink is when the ink appears to be fading.


Remanufactured Toner Cartridges:

Remanufactured laser toners will have several components replaced such as the drum unit, seal, wiper blade and doctor blade along with the toner powder.


REPLACEMENT compatible:

We use the term "REPLACEMENT compatibleto refer to compatible, generic and new build cartridges and drum units. we also use the same term for remanufactured cartridges and drum units.


Starter cartridges:

At best the cartridges supplied with new inkjet printers will be of standard capacity but in many cases new inkjet printers have what they call starter cartridges. We believe that the latter will only contain little ink and only be sufficient to get you started by allowing you to print a small number of pages. Hence we hear that customers are often sold extra cartridges sets along with their new printer.



Laser printer cartridges contain toner, a dry powder which performs a similar function to the ink in an inkjet cartridge. Also known as laser toner, toner powder consists of minute dye coated magnetic particles. This fine magnetic powder will include plastic and carbon particles coated with black, cyan, magenta or yellow colouring agents (see Drum unit above)


Toner cartridges:

Laser toner cartridges are the container carrying the toner powder that you use in your printer. Some toners incorporate a drum unit and some will require attachment to or insertion into a separate drum unit (see Drum unit above).


Universal products:

Universal cartridges, which can be inkjet or laser toner, are "REPLACEMENT compatible" that replace a variety of "ORIGINAL BRAND" products and consequently work in a greater range of printers than any of the individual OEM products being replaced.

You can ascertain which cartridges any compatible replaces and the printers it will work for by clicking on “Data sheet & printers” in the relevant compatible product box.

There are many other products which we class as universal including OEM fuser units, maintenance kits and staple cartridges that will work in a variety of printers in addition to non OEM cleaning products and ink refill kits that have universal applications.


Wiper blade:

This is the component that collects the toner powder residue and transfers it to the waste toner collector.



See capacity above.


Contact us

Your comments, questions and requests concerning this glossary are welcomed. Please see our contact details below:


Telephone:  +353 (0)1 475 1000

Fax:             +353 (0)1 478 9303


Address:       Inkplus Limited,

                    34a Wexford Street,

                    Dublin D02 VX98,



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