Remember that commercial from a few years back where the fresh-faced office intern tells a co-worker that the printer is out of toner, is advised to "shake it", and then shakes the printer instead?
Despite this newbie mistake, it's pretty common knowledge among office environments that shaking the toner cartridge will help squeeze out a little more ink. Let's face it, copier and printer toner can be expensive. So why not do everything you can to save your company from undue print costs?
As it turns out, there is a scenario where shaking the toner to extend its life can be a very costly mistake, and it boils down to which of the two types of toner cartridges your machine has.
The first type is the one you are likely most familiar with from your laser printers. Typically, a big black rectangular cartridge. This cartridge holds the toner as well as two other important components called the drum and the developer.
The second type is what is found in most large printers and MFPs. In these machines, it is more cost-effective to have the toner, drum, and developer as three separate components. The toner component will typically look like a translucent plastic tube allowing you to see the toner inside.
If you have the second type, and your toner container is separate from the developer, it can be risky to shake extra toner from a near-empty bottle. The reason is because the developer component has the ability to continue producing prints even after the toner bottle is completely empty. This ruins the developer, which is a very costly component.
With this type of toner container, it is important to replace the toner when the machine tells you to. Otherwise you could damage the machine.
With the all-in-one cartridge, however, you are replacing all three components everytime you replace your toner, so draining it dry is totally fine. Shake to your heart's content! Unless, of course, you are wearing a really nice suit.