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Old 08-21-2003, 10:20 AM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,475
Do laser printer toner cartridges have an infinite shelf life?

I just bought a pair of 100%-new (not refilled nor refurbished) toner cartridges real cheap on ebay using the Buy-It-Now option. The first one I tried worked boffo on a few test prints I made. (I won't try the other one until the first is used up -- I don't want to break the toner reservior seal.)

Then I got a little curious about why such great cartridges were sold for such a low price. I poked around the boxes and found a shipping/inventory sticker that said they were vintage 1999. Hmmm.

Is that a problem? Did I get suckered? Do these things "go bad" with age?
Old 08-21-2003, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Pacific Grove, Calif
Posts: 17,493
I would assume they do because the manf puts a date on the box that you are supposed to use it by. I have sold toner on ebay & I always make sure the date on it hasn't come around yet.
Old 08-21-2003, 12:40 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 807
The toner cartridge in my laserwriter was purchased in 1995, and still works fine. It has been kept inside the printer, and I don't think I've done anything special to it beyond cleaning the corona wire from time to time.

I don't print very often. I did when I was in school, but I've probalby printed less than 500 pages on that printer since 1996.

I think you'll be fine with those, especially if they're still in their sealed mylar bags.
Old 08-22-2003, 08:56 AM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 88
As long as they are kept dry, and out of light, they'll last pretty much for ever.

Handy, who puts a use by date on the cartridge?
Old 08-22-2003, 09:12 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 26,588
Maybe things have changed, but around the late 80's early 90's when laser printers where starting to make it big in peoples homes, a friend of mine bought a bunch of cartridges really cheap. (Still expensive, but cheap when compared to what he would normally pay). Anyways, they ended up going bad and becoming non usable after sitting around his house for a while, but like I said, that was at least 10 years ago, things may have changed since then.
Old 08-22-2003, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Pacific Grove, Calif
Posts: 17,493
"Handy, who puts a use by date on the cartridge?"

HP does. The other ones may now, try to look at some in the store that are new.

"I recently bought a new-in-box toner for my laser printer.
when i got it, the outside of the box says
use by Nov 1997, does it actually expire?"

"Yes it does expire. But in most cases it will out last the date. You might want to test it out. You might get lucky if it is not to far past the date. Since yours says 1997, I would think it was junk, but hey I have seen some weird stuff in my day."
Old 08-22-2003, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 88
Originally posted by handy
"Handy, who puts a use by date on the cartridge?"

HP does. The other ones may now, try to look at some in the store that are new.

Thanks, learn something new everyday. I've just never paid attention to it. I sit corrected!


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