For a laser printer, how often do I need a new drum?

I am thinking I should get a new black ink cartridge for my HP 2550n.

But now I’m wondering if I should buy a new imaging drum at the same time.

I seem to remember that the ink lasts for about 10,000 copies… I just don’t have any idea how long the imaging drum lasts.

Do you have any idea?

Thanks for your help.


Most HP laser printers; the drum is part of the toner cartridge and gets replaced when you replace the spent one.

Sorry, I didn’t ask my question clearly. How do I know when the one that came with the machine is spent? Is it likely to be spent at about the same time the black ink runs out?

And then I realized you are using a color HP LaserJet which kind of changes things. Per HP Manual:

The life of the imaging drum depends on the number of black-only or color pages that print
jobs require. An HP color LaserJet 2550 series printer imaging drum could last an average of
20,000 pages when printing black-only pages and 5,000 pages when printing color pages.
Actual life lies somewhere between these two numbers, depending on the number of blackonly
pages you print versus color. The average life is between 6,000 and 8,000 pages.
Imaging-drum life is also affected each time the printer calibrates because calibrating causes
the imaging drum to rotate. Imaging-drum life is measured in terms of number of rotations
rather than number of pages printed.
The type and length of print jobs also affects drum life. A series of short print jobs uses more
drum life than an equivalent number of pages printed in a single large job. To extend drum
life, print multiple copies of a print job at one time rather than sending the same job to the
printer multiple times.

I would say that if you are printing mostly black then 3-4 black cartridges per drum would be a good rule.

You know, I read my manual twice before writing here, and I could not find that. The thing that you wrote.

Thank you.

The thing is, that I’m pretty sure that somewhere, a long time ago when I was getting this printer, that it said I could get 10,000 sheets printed with one black cartridge… so I want to get another one before I reach that critical number.

Plus, I think I read somewhere else that there were two types of black cartridges and that the one printed less…

so I think it’s time to get my backup.

Say I got the drum, just to be safe, do they get old and dry up, and become less functional if you own them for say a year before using them?

(It took me about a year to print as many copies as I have) –

As long as it’s stored in a cool dark place, I don’t think you have any life issues on the drum. Its failure has to do with surface damage and exposure to light, so you should be just fine. As to black, I think the standard cartridges give you 5,000 and if there is an extended cartridge for the 2550, it will last for probably 8,000 pages.

Oh… that’s interesting.

I’d better get the cartridge, then.

I’m just a little unclear, though… Do you think I would for sure get two blacks to one drum?

I wasn’t wanting to spend the near $200 more for the drum just now, unless I have to.

Hey Consider-this,

Gollux has covered most all the important points here and as someone who use to remanufacture these things a long time ago his advice is right on the money.

Back when the LaserJet II series was the most popular printer going, a drum in a toner cartridge rated for 3000 pages could usually last for 6k - 9k pages before it needed to be replaced. Printer technology’s changed a lot since then, but I’d can only imagine that things are getting better and the life of units like this are getting longer and longer.

Most imaging drums will last for a long time, typically much longer than their estimated life cycle, and I would only worry about replacing it when you start to see some problems with your printouts.