high yield ink cartridges vs. standard comparison

What's the Difference Between High Yield and Standard Ink?

Are you shopping for ink? It’s not quite as simple as it used to be. There are so many options for shoppers such as high yield, standard (or regular) ink. While that’s a great thing, it can also be a little confusing. By understanding what you need when shopping for ink, you can make smarter purchases that stretch your budget further.

Since it’s easy to get lost in the terminology of printer ink, we’re breaking things down into the most important facts you need to know before shopping for printer ink cartridges for your at-home or office printer.

Printer Ink Terminology

Understanding basic terminology will make it easier for you to make smart purchasing decisions when it comes time to replace your printer ink.

  • Standard Yield Ink Cartridge: Also known as “regular” ink to many shoppers, this ink is the standard or default ink cartridge. It is most often the type of cartridge that comes with the printer and is only designed to print small-scale projects. Depending on the size and brand, you can typically get 150-300 pages out of it before it needs to be replaced.
  • High Yield Ink Cartridge: This type of ink cartridge is designed to print more pages than a standard yield without running out of ink. High-yield cartridges can usually print about 50% more pages or even double the amount of a standard yield cartridge. The most important thing to understand about high-yield cartridges is that they are still the same physical size as a standard yield cartridge. These cartridges are sometimes referred to as XL.
  • Extra-High Yield: These cartridges have the highest page yield that is available to consumers and can typically print around three to four times the amount of a standard yield cartridge. Not all printer models can support extra-high-yield cartridges, so checking your manual before purchasing is important. These cartridges are sometimes referred to as XXL.
  • Page Yield: Page yield is the expected number of pages a cartridge will print in its usable lifetime. Page yield is based on 5% page coverage, so printing a full 8.5x11 photo is the equivalent of printing 20 pages at once. This number is often estimated, as there is no way to measure the liquid in the cartridge or know the types of documents you’ll be printing. Knowing the estimated page yield of a cartridge can help you better determine how much you can print before you’ll need to purchase new ink. Not all brands advertise page yield, as it can vary greatly by your printing habits. Page yield is impacted by the printer model, frequency of printing, type of paper used, room conditions, and the actual contents printed.

Which is Better: High Yield Ink Cartridge vs. Standard

Now that you understand your options, you’re probably wondering which option provides you with the biggest bang for your buck. It all depends on your specific needs.

Standard yield cartridges are the most common size on the market. They are easy to purchase almost anywhere and for relatively affordable prices, especially through InkGenie. Since it yields a smaller number of pages than an XL cartridge, it makes sense that it is more affordable.

If you don’t plan to print often or will only be printing pages that are black and white text documents, you might want to save the money upfront and purchase a standard-size cartridge.

High-yield cartridges hold more ink than a standard cartridge despite their dimensions being the same, and so they typically have a slightly higher price point. Since a high-yield cartridge has a lower cost per print overall, it might be worth the higher upfront investment.

If you plan to use your printer frequently, it is probably more logical and cost-effective for you to spend a little more upfront to get a cartridge that will last you longer and provide you with consistently high-quality prints. XL cartridges can sometimes be a little more challenging to find in stores, but by shopping InkGenie, you never have to worry about that.

high yield ink cartridges vs. standard

Ink Naming Conventions

When you’re shopping, it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for, depending on the brand of your printer. Since there is no standard naming convention for high yield printer cartridges, you need to know the variations to shop for online.


HP ink cartridges usually only come in standard and high yield sizes, with the high yield version having “XL” at the end of the cartridge number.

Example: HP 902XL

HP toner cartridges are named a little differently. A standard HP toner cartridge is signaled by an “A” at the end of the number, and the extra high yield toner cartridges are signified by a “Y” at the end.

Examples: HP 37A, HP 37Y


Canon ink cartridges follow the same naming conventions as HP for inkjet cartridges with an “XL” at the end for high yield.

Example: Canon PGI-280XL

Toner cartridges by Canon don’t have a high yield option for the majority of their cartridges, but the ones that do are signified by an “H” at the end.

Example: Canon 131 H


Brother ink cartridges aren’t as consistent as HP or Canon. Some models use the “XL” at the end, and others have an entirely different part number. Check your printer manual for compatibility.


Epson printer ink cartridges follow suit with HP and Canon by adding an “XL” at the end of printer ink numbers to indicate a high yield cartridge.

Example: Epson 212XL

Now that you are well-versed in the sizes of printer ink available to consumers like yourself, you can shop confidently for the right size ink cartridge for your personal or professional needs.

Find High Yield and Standard Ink and Toner Cartridges at Ink Genie

Ink Genie® is one of the leading ink and toner suppliers to businesses, government institutions, schools, and homes in the country. We have thousands of customers that we consider part of our family and always offer them our best service, satisfaction, and savings! Learn more about Ink Genie and shop our selection of name-brand ink cartridges and toners. Shop for OEM ink and toner cartridges from top brands, including Brother, Epson, HP, Canon, and more.