How Often Does a Printer Drum Need to Be Replaced? [Updated]

Drum units tend to deteriorate over time. Therefore, you should replace the drum of the printer to maintain your printer’s health. How do you know when your printer drum needs replacing? Your printer will reveal some warning signs before the drum unit stops working. Usually, drum units last for 10,000 to 50,000 printed pages. After that, the printer’s drum needs to be replaced.

How often does a printer drum need to be replaced?

It’s hard to talk about all the printers’ drum units as the age of the drum unit depends on the quality of the printer and the drum unit. However, we have summarized the warning signs the drum unit exhibits that you should notice.

So, keep reading to find out when to replace the printer drum and how long does a printer drum last.

how often does a printer drum need to be replaced
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How do you know when your printer drum needs replacing?

You should look for the following warning signs to replace the drum unit;

  • Streaked or faded print.
  • Blurry print and black spots.
  • Smudged print.
  • Blank spaces or blank printouts.
  • Blank or low-quality print even if you have changed the toner.
  • ‘Drum error’, ‘Replace Drum’, or ‘Drum stop’ message.

If you notice vertical stripes on your printed pages, this means that the drum unit was mishandled and scratched when inserted. The vertical stripes warrant immediate drum replacement even if the drum has not reached its maturity.

How often does a printer drum need to be replaced?

Most printers, such as Dell and Brother laser printers, have a two-piece unit consisting of a drum unit and a toner. Drums are the shell for the toner cartridges and allow the toner to adhere to the paper.

You don’t need to replace the drum unit every time you replace the toner. In general, you should replace the drum unit after using three to four toner cartridges. Some people have the ‘no need to fix it if it’s working’ mentality. However, if you don’t replace your printer’s drum, the laser printer’s health will deteriorate.

Following are some important points regarding drum unit replacement;

  • You might have to change the drum unit faster than before, depending on the usage. There’s no specific time.
  • Mirrors, photoconductor drums, rollers, drums, and fusing units are the parts of a laser printer that should be maintained. Or else the printer won’t be able to print a crisp document. In order to keep up the quality of printing, replace the drum unit once 10,000 to 50,000 pages are printed.
  • Also, remember that the drum’s brand doesn’t matter. Even if you use a cheap ink toner or a branded drum, you have to replace it once you see streaks, smudges, and blank spots on the printed page.
  • The printers that use Brother TN450 toner can be used up to five cartridges before needing to be replaced.
  • How to calculate drum unit life? Most printer calculates the drum life by the number of times the drum makes a full 360-degree rotation. When the limit is reached, you should replace the drum on printer.

Some people store new drum units. The shelf life of drums depends on the environment they are stored in. You need to store the drum unit in the protective bag before using it. However, don’t store a new drum unit for more than two to three years as it can expire.

Take care of your drum unit by storing it in a dark place at all times, or else it will lose its potency under the light. Drum units have a unique photosensitive material that interacts with the laser. Over time, the laser light degrades the quality of the drum unit.

How to replace drum on brother printer?

Replace the drum of the brother printer once you receive the ‘Drum error’, ‘Replace Drum’, or ‘Drum stop’ message.

Here are the steps to replace drum on brother printer:

  1. Turn on the brother printer and open the front cover.
  2. Take the used drum unit out of the brother printer.
  3. Now push down on the green lock lever and take out the toner cartridge from the used drum unit.
  4. Remove the new drum from the packaging and place the existing cartridge inside the drum. A click sound will be produced, and the green lock lever will lift automatically if you place the cartridge correctly.
  5. Clean the corona wire by sliding the green tab back and forth on the drum unit. Leave the green tab in its home position once you have cleaned the corona wire. 
  6. Finally, place the newly assembled toner and drum unit in the printer and close the front cover.

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The Brother drum replacement is not detected automatically by the machine. Therefore, always remember to reset the drum counter after brother drum replacement. Or else you won’t receive accurate readings in the future.

How to reset the brother drum counter?

The brother printer will not notify you when the drum unit needs to be replaced if you don’t reset the drum counter.

So, follow the below-given steps to reset the brother drum counter. 

  1. Open the front cover of your printer and press ‘Clear’.
  2. Now confirm the installation of the new drum unit by pressing ‘1’.
  3. The LCD of the printer will display an ‘Accepted’ message.
  4. Close the front cover, and you are done resetting the drum counter.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a printer drum last?

Drum life on a printer lasts for 10,000 to 50,000 printed pages depending on the printer and unit’s quality. You can extend the drum life by keeping the corona wire clean. Clean the corona wire by sliding the plastic piece attached to the corona wire back and forth to extend the drum’s life.

What happens if I don’t replace the printer drum?

If you don’t replace the printer drum, the broken drum will stop printing at a point. A damaged drum unit can cause streaks, smudges, and blank spots on the printed page, even if you use a new toner.


You need to consider several factors before replacing the drum unit. In general, replace drum brother printer when two to three cartridges have been used. Fortunately, Brother laser printers have a built-in sensor that notifies when to replace the drum unit. Brother drum replacement is an easy task that you can do without additional help. Always reset the counter after replacing the drum.

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