If you’re in the printing business, you know it’s all about ink (or, occasionally, toner). To print those super-important legal documents and awesome photos, you’re going to need nicely filled HP printer ink cartridges. Of course, these things won’t stay filled indefinitely, (And no, it doesn’t matter if you’re using official or remanufactured HP ink cartridges or official ones. Both tend to empty out at the same rate. Therefore, it’s important to check how much ink they have every once in a while or you’ll run into one of the regulars from the HP printer error code list eventually.

Too many printer users make the mistake of never checking their ink levels and then running empty in the middle of a big and important print job. Instead, you should periodically check the levels to make sure that the next few prints you make are going to work like a charm. Here, we’ll show you the various ways of how to check ink levels on HP printer, starting with the easiest and working our way down to the real fancy stuff.

Use the built-in printer display to check for ink or toner levels

To make things easy for you, HP equips most modern printers with a decent-quality LCD display that essentially lets you do most of the print management from the device itself, as opposed to having to use the computer. Among other things, this display can also be used to check the ink or toner levels of your HP printer.

As simple as it sounds, HP has something like a gazillion models now, so knowing how your LCD display is configured without knowing the model is hard. Still, we’ll figure it out (with the help of our HP printer manuals). Whichever the printer model, use the arrow keys to navigate to the printer’s Control Panel and look for an icon. Depending on the model, this icon will either look like a drop, a bucket of water or a bucket of pebbles. The fullness of this icon will give you an estimate of how much ink you’ve got left. We know, we know: it sounds silly, but printers have a hard time gauging the exact amount of ink left anyways.

If you’re missing an icon on the interface, you can check ink levels on HP printer by looking for an Ink Levels or Toner Levels sub-menu in the Control Panel, depending on whether you’re using an InkJet or laser printer. This will also give you a rough estimate of how much ink there is left.

How to check ink or toner levels on a Windows machine

If you don’t want to tinker with the printer’s display, you can also check the ink levels from the computer itself. Before doing that, though, make sure that you covered the HP printer setup process: the device needs to be connected to the computer and that all the drivers are installed.

Again, this can vary based on the exact type of operating system you’re using. If you want to know how to check ink levels on Windows 10, then great, because HP has an app exactly for this! It only works on that OS, though (and some 8.1 versions). It’s called the HP Smart app and can be downloaded from Microsoft’s store.

If you have a different OS or are doubtful that this app is as smart as they say, don’t worry: there are other ways. For one, you can download the HP Print and Scan Doctor app, which has a “Supply Levels” option under the printer menu, and this will show you the amount of ink or toner remaining.

If you don’t want to download any additional programs, there’s another options. Provided you’ve downloaded the appropriate software for your printer, simply type in “HP” in the Start menu’s search box and click on your printer. Ink printers will usually have something like a HP Printer Asssistant with an “Estimated Ink Levels” option, whereas laser ones will tend to have a “Supplies information” section as soon as you’ve clicked on the printer. This should give you a significantly more accurate assessment of ink levels than the LCD display, and will work on any Windows OS.

How to check ink or toner levels on a Mac

“But these are all for Windows, I have a Mac…” Don’t worry, you can check toner levels on HP printer just as easily on a Mac device, although the process is slightly different. Regardless of your Mac model, click on its Apple icon and choose the System Preferences option.

Depending on the macOS in question, you will have some variations of a Printers and Scanners menu there. Go to it, click on your printer and then click Options & Supplies. The Supplies section will then tell you how much ink or toner there’s left. As in the case of Windows, this requires you to have the appropriate software installed on your Mac device and the printer connected to it while you’re checking levels.

Check the ink or toner levels from your phone

Well, now we’re getting fancy. You’re sitting on your couch when you suddenly ask yourself: “How much juice does my printer have left in the tank?” If you’ve configured things properly, you don’t even need to get up to find out.

HP printers allow you to check your printer’s ink or toner levels from both Android and iOS devices. Whichever you have, go to HP’s website on your mobile phone (123.hp.com) and let it recognize your device’s operating system, then download the HP Smart App we mentioned earlier. From there, access the smart app and add your printer to it to view its ink levels just as we described above.

This, however, will require wireless connectivity between your printer and your cellphone, and won’t work if your router, HP printer and phone aren’t all synced together. Not to worry, though, as we have plenty of guides to help you achieve that. Y’know, HP printer troubleshooting is kind of what we do.


While all InkEvolved contributors are printer specialists with many years of experience in the tech industry, we will sometimes refer to other articles and websites. This gives our users a chance to both verify the information they’re getting and gives them a chance to explore additional venues of knowledge.

To cite this article, please use:

Bazmarov, Anya in “How to check ink levels on HP printer” on InkEvolved.com, Published 10/08/2019, Last Accessed 17/09/2019, https://inkevolved.com/how-to-check-ink-levels-on-hp-printer/

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