How To Decode Brother Toner Labels (A User's Manual)


Quick Review:

To decode Brother toner cartridges, you should examine the following details on the cartridge box:

  • "TN" stands for toner
  • A number with a page icon represents the page yield
  • A list of printers with which the cartridge is compatible
  • "PK" indicates the quantity of cartridges in a package
  • "BK" stands for black, "C" for cyan, "M" for magenta, and "Y" for yellow, indicating the colors of the toner cartridges.

Decoding Brother Toner Labels

Every detail on a Brother toner label is carefully placed to guide users in their printing journey. 

At first glance, these labels may look like just a mix of numbers and letters, but they hold important information for the printer.

Knowing each element guides users in getting the most out of their Brother printers.

Let's break down the elements of these labels.

➜ Cartridge Model

The model number of the cartridge consists of letters and numbers, such as  TN-450 or TN-760.

The TN stands for Toner, while the number, such as 450 or 760, differentiates between different cartridge types.

For example, a TN-450 cartridge is designed for specific printers, while a TN-760 cartridge is for another set of models.

Cartridge model number on Brother TN-760

➜ Page Yield

Brother toner cartridges typically display their page yield using the format A4, followed by a specific number, such as A4 2000

This format indicates the estimated number of pages the cartridge is designed to print on A4-sized paper.

However, sometimes the label might display just a number, such as " 3000," without the "A4" prefix. 

We like how Brother displays the page yield numbers directly on the box, such as A4 2000 or simply 3000. This approach is much easier to understand  compared to HP, which uses letters like A, X, and Y to denote different yields. 

➜ Color Indicators

For color printers, Brother toner labels feature specific color indicators alongside the model number. These abbreviated letters serve as a quick reference to the cartridge's color content. 

The following are the color indicators:

  • BK: Black
  • C: Cyan
  • M: Magenta
  • Y: Yellow 

Take a look at the image for an illustration of the  Brother TN-210 color cartridges:

Color indicators on Brother TN-210

Note: However, for cartridges that only contain black toner, no color indicator like BK is used.

➜ Printer Compatibility

Brother cartridges are designed to work with specific printer models. The label will list compatible printer models, helping you select the right cartridge for your printer.

So, always make sure to check the label and find your printer model on the list. If your printer model is not listed, it's essential to double-check compatibility. 

Using a cartridge that's not compatible with your printer can lead to printing problems, like  smudged pages or errors.

➜ Package Number

The package number, if included, may be found near the cartridge model number and is essential for tracking and identifying the set of cartridges within a batch. 

If the cartridges are packed in a package with a label that includes the package number, such as  TN 223-4PK, the 4PK notation indicates that the package contains a set of four cartridges.

Number of packages on Brother TN-223 4PK

Note: This guide is based on existing (as of 2024) and general Brother cartridge packaging. 

Please note that specific cartridge models may have variations, and there could be changes in packaging design in the future.


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