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How do I Refill Toner Cartridges?

Refilling toner cartridges is a savvy way to save money and reduce waste. It involves purchasing a refill kit, carefully following the instructions to avoid spills, and resetting the cartridge chip if necessary. With the right tools and a bit of patience, you can breathe new life into your printer. Ready to learn the step-by-step process? Join us as we explore the details.
Lorna W.
Lorna W.

There are different styles of toner cartridges used in laser printers, but you can refill most of them in similar ways. Toner in a laser cartridge is used up over time, as prints are made, and you can replace the cartridges to get more toner into the printer. There are some toner cartridges, however, that can be easily refilled rather than simply replaced. These typically have a refill hole that you can open up to fill them, though doing so without proper training can create messes and potentially void the warranty on your printer.

Removing the Cartridge

A laser printer toner cartridge.
A laser printer toner cartridge.

One of the first things you usually need to do to refill a toner cartridge is remove it from your laser printer. Read the instruction manual that came with your device to determine the best way to remove the cartridge from it. This is usually quite simple, though you may need to press a release button or move a lever that normally keeps it in place. You should also be careful of any toner on the outside of the cartridge, as it can easily stain your clothes and the area around your printer.

Cartridges with Refill Holes

Laser printer that uses printer toner.
Laser printer that uses printer toner.

Some toner cartridges are designed to be easily refilled, often having holes in them into which toner can be poured. These holes are usually clearly visible on the cartridge and typically have a stopper or plug that you can remove. Refill kits provide toner in small bottles that include funnels or narrow tips, making it easy for you to place the tip into the refill hole without spilling it. The toner itself is powder so fine that it moves much like a liquid, and it can easily be poured into the cartridge.

Making a Refill Hole

There are also toner cartridges that do not have refill holes in them, since they are not designed to be refilled, only replaced. You may be able to create a hole in such a cartridge by using a hot object to melt its plastic case. Some refill kits suggest that you do this, but you should be very careful about doing so. Such changes are likely to void any warranty you have on a printer cartridge, which means you will need to pay for a replacement cartridge if you damage it. Improper placement of the hole can also result in toner spilling out inside of your printer, causing damage that might not be covered by your warranty since the hole you created likely violated it.

Choosing the Right Toner

When refilling toner cartridges, it is important to choose the right type of toner for your particular printer. There are guides you can follow when ordering a refill kit to ensure the toner is compatible with your machine, and the manual that came with your printer may also indicate what toner to use. If the manufacturer of your printer sells refill kits for toner cartridges, it may be best to use one of these to ensure you get the right toner and equipment for your hardware. Once the cartridge is refilled and the hole properly sealed up, simple replace it in your machine as instructed in the owner's manual.

Calibration and Resetting Counts

Many laser printers need to be properly calibrated and toner cartridges within them must be aligned prior to printing. After you refill and replace the cartridge, be sure to run any setup procedures as appropriate to ensure clean, aligned printing. There may also be a page counter on the cartridge that needs to be reset to indicate to the printer that the toner has been replaced. The instruction manual for your device should indicate how to do this.

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Discussion Comments


How do I order a toner refill kit? Please suggest a good toner kit, and a good toner brand. The refilling men always stink. They made me change two drums within three months, so I've decided to learn how to do it myself.


I have a XEROX WORKCENTRE M 20i. how can I refill the cartridge? Thanks, Mike.


I just bought a "ricoh aficio sp c220n"color printer new cost me £86 inc delivery! not bad as it weighs in at a hefty 50 pounds! great, but i looked at replacement toner cartridges. You get the four starter cartridges free and up to 1000 pages at 5 percent, but to replace it will cost in excess of £250! plus a waste tank!

i think when the toner needs replacing i will buy a new printer. oh, the reason all the cartridges have a killer chip on them, so to refill you need to replace the bloody chips too, at extra cost?

what do you all think?


use a jet tec toner cartridge and save your money.


After refilling my HP toner cartridge and replace it in the printer, it does not recognize that I refilled the cartridge and consequently it will not print. Am I forgetting to do something?


Thnks for the info. It helped me refill my printer toner cartridges


Update on last post - I ended up buying the toner online. I do not think it is worth the hassle and the time refilling your own cartridges.


I think this article should be updated with pictures. It is very hard to follow. After an hour of trying to refill my CB435A I have, I end up making a mess on my floor and also losing refill toner without success. I could not identify all the parts mentioned. A photo would be very helpful.


May I reuse the toner from the waste hopper?


ive refilled my toner cartridges for years, i just use the DIY refill kits to make a hole, pour toner into the cartridge and then seal the hole. after a couple of life cycles, you need a new cartridge. changing all the components mentioned (drum, blades, rollers etc) will bring a dead cartridge back to life, but it's very complicated and i would leave that to professional remanufacturers


In my office, we used to remove the toner cartridge from the printer when the copies started to pale, twist it sideways a few times, put it back, and got a few more copies out of it.

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    • A laser printer toner cartridge.
      By: MWiner
      A laser printer toner cartridge.
    • Laser printer that uses printer toner.
      Laser printer that uses printer toner.