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Why Is My HP Printer Printing Too Light, Faded, or Dark

Published by Paul Anderson ,

Why Is My HP Printer Printing Too Light
Why Is My HP Printer Printing Too Light, Faded, or Dark

HP printers are preferred for their printing quality and performance. This is why it’s used both for personal and professional use. Now, if your HP printer printing too light, dark, or faded, this may ruin your invoices, bills, memos, and other documents. 

You must be worried that my HP printer is printing too light or dark. The issue of printing can happen for various reasons. It can be a toner issue or a cartridge problem. You might want to resolve it on your own.

If you have a simplified guide that mentors you step-by-step, you can easily troubleshoot the problem. You’re at the right pace. Here, you’ll learn the causes and quick fixes.


Identify Your HP Printer Printing Too Light

First, confirm the type of your HP printer. Hence, you can check if it’s an inkjet or laser printer. Knowing the type makes it easy to troubleshoot the problem. 


Which is an Inkjet Printer?

Inkjet printers print with ink that has more color depth and toner range. But, it dries up quickly if not used regularly or is ideal for sometime.


What is a Laser Printer?

The laser printer runs on toner. Thus, it doesn’t dry up quickly. It has the capacity to print more volumes of documents.


Also Read : HP printer printing blurry


Reason Why Your Printer May Print Too Light or Dark

If your inkjet or laser printer is not printing dark enough, there could be some common and different reasons. 

  1. The toner density of the printer is not enough or is low.
  2. The settings of your printer are misconfigured
  3. The printer is set to print too light or too dark
  4. Low on ink toner due to empty cartridge
  5. The nozzle of the printer is clogged
  6. Toner save mode is enabled
  7. High or low humidity
  8. Dirty print head
  9. Defective or damaged toner cartridge 


Also Read HP Printer Light Blinking Issue


Solutions to Resolve Printer Printing Too Low Problem

Here, we have explained the solutions. You can apply these solutions in any case when your printer prints too light or dark. 


 1. Check Your Toner Density 

Your printer may not notify you if the printer toner level is low. Therefore, you need to perform a manual check. 

To confirm that the toner level is fine, remove the cartridge, shake it, and insert it again. Try printing on paper and see if your printer is printing dark. 

If so (printing dark), then your printer toner is low. Hence, you can replace the toner cartridge.

Besides, you can try swapping the printer carriage and see if it works properly. If your printer is still printing too light, the issue isn’t with the empty cartridge. Thus, repeat the steps for other printers as well. 


2. Change Toner Density and Print Quality

If the above solution fails to resolve the issue, you may check the toner density and enhance your printer quality. 

  1. Press Windows + R keys to launch the Run dialog box.
  2. Type control and hit the enter button.
  3. Then, select the Printers icon.
  4. Find your printer from the list.
  5. Right-tap on the printer and select Properties.
  6. Change the print quality from here.

Note: Please understand the more you increase the quality, the more toner the printer will use. Consequently, it’ll take more time to print each document. Hence, gradually increase the quality and also adjust the printer toner density. 


 3. Clean Your Inkjet Printer’s Print Head

  1. On your computer, go to the control panel.
  2. Select your inkjet printer from the list.
  3. Select Properties.
  4. Locate the option Print Head Cleaning.

Selecting this option will start the process of cleaning your inkjet printer’s print head.


Still, Facing the Problem?

If your printhead still prints too light, then check your printer’s cartridge. Since it has liquid ink, please do not shake it. Do check the nozzles on the cartridge. See if something is clogging it.


When can the Nozzle be Clogged?

Usually, the nozzle gets blocked when the ink is dried up. It happens when the printer remains idle for a long time. 


Manual Cleaning of Print Head:

If this is the condition, you should clean it manually. Use a cotton swab or a clean cloth piece.  


When performing manual lean up, take care of these points: 

  • Wear latex or rubber gloves.
  • Don’t shake the ink.
  • Make sure the printer is off and unplugged from the power outlet.


4. Check Print Settings

A misconfigured print setting can degrade your print quality. Thus, check and modify your print settings in order to get quality prints.  


Print Settings in Windows:

  1. Open a document. 
  2. Select File and then click Print.
  3. Now, open the Properties dialog box.
    • Or any of these Properties/Options/Printer Setup/Printer/Preferences.
  4. From here, based on your print job, you can modify the following settings: 
    • Paper Type
    • Print quality (best, normal, or draft mode)
    • Paper Size (select the correct paper size)
    • Black and White (To print in B&W only, select the grayscale option).


Print Settings in Mac:

  1. Open a document
  2. Select File and then click Print.
  3. Now, tap on Show Details
  4. Select the name of the program and also select: 
    • Paper type/quality
    • Media or quality


Save these Settings Permanently for the Future: 

  1. Tap the Presets menu and select the Save button.
  2. Then, name the preset.
  3. In case more than one printers are installed, 
    • Go to System Preferences
    • Choose Printers & Scanners or Print & Scan (based on your OS)
    • Set the Default Printer to Last Printer Used. 


5. Try Different Paper Quality

Do YOU KNOW that different papers give different printing results? That means some papers absorb less ink while others need more. Thus, you can also check which type of paper is suitable for your printer and print either too light or dark. 

For example, light paper types in inkjet soak ink, resulting in a blurry or faded print. Thus, you try some paper samples and see if it produces a satisfying printing result. 

Besides that, your printer and paper type are two critical factors. It should be configured correctly to get optimal quality print. 


6. Enable Economode Settings

Check the EconoMode settings when your printer prints the entire paper too dark or too light. However, the mode should not be used full-time because it may harm the mechanical part of the toner cartridge. 

Note: This feature comes in PCL 6 print driver for windows. If you don’t have the driver, you can activate in the HP Embedded Web Server.

  1. In the Program, select the Print option.
  2. Right-tap on your printer, and select any of these (depending on the software).
    • Properties/Options/Printer Setup/Printer/Preferences
  3. Tap on the Paper/Quality tab.
  4. Go to the Printer Quality area.
  5. Tap Ok to save settings.
  6. Again, tap Ok to print the job.
  •         Case 1: If it prints the entire page too dark:

o Choose the 600 dpi option.

o Choose the EconoMode (checkbox) to enable it.

  •         Case 2: If it prints the entire page too light:

o Choose the FastRes 1200 option.

o Choose the EconoMode (checkbox) to disable it.

  1.           Tap Ok to save settings.
  2.           Again, tap Ok to print the job.

7. Clean Transfer Roller 

Transfer roller assists toner in getting the ink on the paper using its electrical charge. But, if the toner is not clean or incorrectly positioned, it may result in faulty or faint printing. 

Hence, you can do two things: clean the transfer roller and position it correctly. 

1. Clean the Transfer Roller: 

Turn off the power supply and disconnect the cable to clean the transfer roller. Use a soft dry cloth or cotton swab to clean it. 


  1. Don’t use any liquid to clean it.
  2. Don’t scratch the black surface or apply too much pressure.
  3. Don’t need to take out the transfer roller.
  4. Please do not touch the roller. It may get oily or dirty again
  5. Just roll the transfer roller with a cloth and clean it.

2. Position the Transfer Roller:

  1. Turn off the power supply and remove the cable.
  2. Remove your toner cartridge.
  3. Detech it from the transfer roller hook and remove it cautiously.
  4. Insert the transfer roller and make sure the position is correct. 

Note: Please remember the transfer rollers are delicate. Thus, it can be easily broken.We will recommend you to take technician assistance. 


Also Read : HP printer printing slow

Summing UP

Hopefully your problem of hp printer printing too light or dark is resolved. If you still come across an error feel free to contact us. Also, if you have any query or need a suggestion, our experts are available 24×7.

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