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What Does no Chip Mean on Toner Cartridges

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Updated November 15, 2021

If you are new to the world of the top-rated laser printer, you may have run into toner cartridges with no chips.


  • The chip embedded in a toner cartridge relays data, such as how much toner is left, to the printer.
  • Generic or off-brand toner cartridges tend to lack these sensors or chips, though buying a third-party cartridge will tend to save you some money.
  • You can remove the chip that came with your original toner cartridge and affix it to the generic cartridge to reinstate sensor readings.

What Are Toner Cartridges With No Chips?

If a toner cartridge lacks a chip, it just means that the cartridge will be unable to communicate with the rest of the printer directly. Generally speaking, only third-party manufacturers make toner cartridges that lack a sensor chip. If you buy a toner cartridge from a prominent printer manufacturer, such as HP, it will include a chip since it is a high-yield ink cartridge.

What Does a Toner Cartridge Chip Do?

You need to understand what a printer is used for before understanding what a toner cartridge chip does. A printer is an essential gadget for someone who runs a business or does a lot of printing. To be able to use your printer, it needs to have a sensory chip. The chip embedded in a toner cartridge relays a number of data metrics to the printer and, subsequently, to your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Primarily, the chip tells the printer just how much toner is left in the cartridge. In recent years, however, these chips have begun to be used by printer manufacturers to make it more difficult for consumers to use off-brand or generic cartridges.

Benefits of Using a Toner Cartridge Without a Chip

You can opt for a toner cartridge without a chip. You may lose out on knowing exactly how much toner is left in the cartridge, but there are some benefits to consider.

Reduced Cartridge Costs

Replacing a toner cartridge can be a pricy affair, as selling replacement cartridges is a key business strategy of printer manufacturers. You can save some serious money if you opt for a generic or third-party toner cartridge. These generic cartridges will often lack chips, especially if the cartridge has not been authorized for use by the printer manufacturer. Some chips, however, can be easily removed from the official toner cartridge that came with the printer. Once removed, you can affix the chip to the generic cartridge and continue to receive status updates and the like.

Insider Tip

You can save some serious money if you opt for a generic or third-party toner cartridge.

Higher Yields

Generic toner cartridges will often feature a higher yield than what would be found with a cartridge made by the printer manufacturer. Toner cartridges tend to feature a page yield of around 2,500 to 3,000 pages before they will need to be replaced. Official printer manufacturers will make high-yield cartridges, but they have a distinct financial incentive to keep this yield as low as possible. Third-party manufacturers, on the other hand, have a financial incentive to keep the page yield as high as possible.


Do remanufactured or compatible printer cartridges track ink or toner levels?

In most cases, yes, if the cartridge has been remanufactured by the original manufacturer of your printer. Generic remanufactured cartridges may not be equipped to track the toner level.

Are remanufactured and compatible printer cartridges just as reliable as the name brand?

Yes, these cartridges tend to be on the reliable side, but we still recommend doing some research and reading some reviews.

Will I get the same page yield and print quality as a name-brand printer cartridge?

In most cases, yes, assuming that your printer can accept a generic toner cartridge.

STAT: In a recent earnings report, HP said printing revenue dropped 14 percent year over year, with supplies revenue (ink and toner) down 18 percent. (source)