If you have used a printer before, you may already be familiar with a toner chip. However, if not, you must know that printers use these chips to keep track of the ink level in your current toner cartridge. 

When particular levels are exceeded, or any other problems occur, they communicate with your computer by sending alerts. In this article, we will answer all your doubts regarding "what is a toner cartridge chip?", "What does toner do in a printer?” and "why do you need to change the chip on the toner cartridge?".

Let’s find it out in the blog! 

What Is A Toner Chip?

Toner cartridges are made to produce a certain number of pages. Laser printers and copiers now use them to track and record the number of pages printed in every session. Toner cartridges are used by laser printers, whereas inkjet printers use ink cartridges. For HP printers, the HP toner chip inside the cartridge gives data, like how much toner is left, to the printer.

Direct contact or radio frequency are the two ways the toner chip is linked to the printer. Generally, it is mounted on a tiny PCB and uses its storage units to store data. It may occasionally have a CPU installed, particularly to handle requests from the printer or copier.

The toner chip acts like an electronic component that interacts with the computer and issues alerts when a specific number of pages are used.

What Does A Toner Do In A Printer?

A toner cartridge works in an entirely different way than how an ink cartridge chip works. Liquid ink is put inside inkjet printer cartridges. Through inkjet printing, this ink is discharged onto the piece of paper. Prints made using ink may be incredibly vibrant and clear. However, prints from laser printers are produced without the use of ink. Instead, they make use of toner.

In contrast, printer toner is a powder-based print substance manufactured from powdered polymers that are often kept in a compact cartridge and offer more accuracy and control. The loaded printing drum gathers toner powder and then transfers it to paper. Finally, the paper is heated as the last step to melt the toner particles and ensure your print sets are correct.

Should You Use A Third-Party Toner For Your Printer?

Users who are ready to take a chance can also choose third-party ink cartridges in some instances. Inkjet cartridges are a prime example. Due to the high cost of ink cartridge chips, some users are ready to take this chance. However, the confusion around using third-party cartridges can cause severe issues for printers in a corporate environment.

The print quality issue is one such issue. For example, ink clogs or poor-quality inks might produce streaky, discolored, or fading images. In addition, the quality of third-party toners can’t be trusted to compare with that of, say, an HP 48a toner.

Process quality with a reliable supply is another problem frequent printer users face in the process! Unfortunately, it is not always an assurance that a reconditioned cartridge will have the stated amount of toner in the third-party market.

Moreover, third-party toner cartridges often come only partially filled. To give you a better idea, here is a comparison between some of the high-end and genuine toners available on the market with a third-party toner:

Canon 121 toner

HP 48a toner

Brother TN760 toner

Third-party toner

High yield

High yield 

High yield

Low yield

Up to 5,000 pages

Up to 1000 pages

Up to 3000 pages

No guarantee in no. of pages

High-quality printing

Good quality printing

High-quality printing

Poor quality printing

Why Should You Replace The Toner Cartridge's Chip?

You must reset or change the chip after refilling a toner or swapping it out for a suitable toner cartridge to use your printer. Let’s take a Canon printer as an example here. If you want to reset your toner chip, the chip has Canon telling customers to change it when they refill their cartridge.

Moreover, the chips can be reset using a chip resetter, a little plastic device that physically attaches to the cartridge chip and directs it to reset its count of used droplets to zero.

How Do You Install Or Replace A Toner Cartridge?

You will need to replace your toner cartridge when it displays an error message. For instance, the HP toner chip replacement process is relatively simple. These printers show a "Cartridge is Low" or "Cartridge is Very Low" message on the printer control panel.

Open the scanner system and top cover, take out the old toner cartridge, and then put in the new one to replace it. However, if you remain confused, follow these steps: 

Step 1: Select the cartridge that belongs to the printer model by checking and verifying the printer model.

Step 2: Before removing the ink cartridges, turn the device off.

Step 3: Change the old toner chip in the toner with a new one.

Step 4: Insert the new toner chip, then close the cover.

Step 5: Switch on the printer by plugging it into the power source. Ensure that the printer's status light is green. You can now continue printing or copying until the toner chip repair is complete.

How Can A Toner Chip Issue Be Fixed?

You may come upon this issue sometimes. Regardless of whether the toner cartridge still has several print pages left, your printer can report that the toner is empty. This is due to the printer's inability to identify the toner chip correctly. Always turn off your printer when maintaining or replacing a cartridge to prevent this issue.

This error may also result from a faulty wire connection or replacement cartridge installation. Usually, top-end models like the Canon 121 toner include well-written instructions. Therefore, you may fix errors by reinstalling the cartridge and referring to these instructions.


Many people don't know much about toner chips, yet they serve a unique purpose. For instance, when a customer using Brother TN760 toner calls and reports that their toner cartridge isn't working correctly, the engineer at Brother can use the data in the toner cartridges to figure out precisely what's wrong with the printer. 

But remember, when using quality third-party cartridges, you’re at a better chance of making the most of your printer while keeping up with reliable quality.