Having backup toner readily available in the office is not a necessity but it is certainly recommended. Especially in offices that print frequently and blow through cartridges quickly, keeping reserves on hand will eliminate the possibility of running out completely. Toner cartridges range in print capacity and cost, but all will come with an expected page yield so you have an idea of how many pages can be printed before replacements will be necessary. This is really important information.
Another way to keep tabs on the remaining life of a cartridge is by printing a statistics page. This can often be accessed through a computer, but most can simply print the information by navigating the menu of the actual printer. Find the options for maintenance, supplies or status information and select the statistics page, which will look something like this HP LaserJet P3005 example:
If you do lose track of the status of your cartridge, warning messages will pop up on your printer LCD when toner is running low. At this time, if you do not have backup toner, you should order replacements. If you already have backup cartridges, though, you don’t need to do anything until the print quality begins to be affected by the nearly empty cartridges.
When you purchase a set of replacement cartridges, typically the more you buy at one time, the higher the discount level you will receive. Additionally, many vendors provide reduced shipping costs for large orders. And don’t worry about letting the cartridges sit on the shelf for a while as they are designed to have extended shelf lives. Just be sure you are rotating the oldest cartridges to the front.
Offices that do a high volume of printing should be especially aware of the importance of having backup toner. Running out of toner completely and being unable to print at all would be catastrophic, so doesn’t it make more sense to have a shelf full of cartridges ready to keep production moving?