As with most things we purchase, those toner cartridges you keep on hand for your printer have an expiration date. However, does this expiration date really matter? While toner lasts longer than the printing ink used in inkjet printers, just like your milk, eggs, and condiments, a toner cartridge has a finite shelf life and should be used before it goes bad. Unlike those other items, using toner after its expiration date has passed won’t make you violently ill, but it can have ill effects on your print jobs and the devices they’re used in.
The most visible effect you can experience from using expired toner is poor quality for your prints. Over time, the consistency of the fine toner powder within a cartridge can change, clumping and turning lumpy. In this state, it’s more difficult for the powder to be fused onto the paper, which will result in poor-quality prints from your laser printer. While this might not be a big deal when using a home printer, compromising the quality of your prints can have a significant impact in a business setting. You certainly wouldn’t want to print documents that will be seen by clients or other professionals you partner with using expired toner. It’s hardly a good look.
Using expired toner can lead to much bigger problems than print quality, although you won’t notice them nearly as easily. Some printer manufacturers have warranties for their devices that are voided by using toner cartridges after their expiration date. If you’re using an expired cartridge and a technical issue arises that requires service, repair, or even replacement of a device, if it’s discovered you’ve been using expired toner your warranty could be voided. This would leave you high and dry, without a functioning printer or coverage to fix or replace it.
Toner cartridges for printers aren’t cheap, but using one in your device after its expiration date is not worth the risk. Running out of toner when you’re up against a deadline can be a huge headache, however, there’s no need to keep extra toner cartridges that might expire in your supply cabinet. A great alternative to a cache of cartridges is entering into a Managed Print Services (MPS) partnership with a local business solutions provider. One of the many benefits of MPS is automatic supply replenishment, so you’ll never have to keep extra toner cartridges on hand or worry about running out of toner during an important print job. To learn more about our MPS solution, contact us today. We provide free MPS assessments to local businesses.