What is a Printer Duty Cycle?

December 22, 2009 No Comments

Ask this question to a lot of people and I’m sure they are not familiar with the term “printer duty cycle”. A printer duty cycle is a specification or a function that is used to identify or define the printing workload that a particular printer can handle. In most cases, this is measured in months and, don’t be surprised, is an extremely high number.

A printer’s duty cycle is measured by the so-called duty cycle rating. The duty cycle rating is established based on the stress testing that is conducted by the printer manufacturer. Since there are several printer manufacturers in the industry, the definition of duty cycle rating also varies based on the manufacturer. This is the reason why consumers like you will see different duty cycle ratings among the various brands of printers in the market.

Hewlett Packard (HP), being a leader in the printer industry, also has the highest duty cycle ratings. Most of the other printer manufacturers tend to follow HP’s footsteps. As a result, there is a tendency for the other printer manufacturers to copy or mirror the duty cycle ratings of HP. Technically, most of the offices utilize only 5% to 8% of a printer’s stated duty cycle.

Although it is a good habit to check on the duty cycle rating of a particular printer model when you are shopping for a printer, you can actually bypass this specification. For one, it is not an accurate number and second, you will not be able to maximize this rating at all.

Instead, when you are shopping for a printer, it is more advisable to focus on other specifications or features like the paper tray capacity and printing volume. In this way, you can match the printer more accurately to your needs.

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