CE505A vs CE505X – What’s the Difference?

I’ve seen quite a bit of confusion about the HP CE505A versus CE505X toner cartridges – and with good reason. Some may think of these as the HP 05A or 05X toner cartridges, but it is all about the differences between them and if they are interchangeable. Furthermore, can one save money over the other?

To be clear, there are differences, even though some HP printers can use both toner cartridges and other printers cannot. I have double and triple checked this, even on HP’s own web site and will list the printer models below for absolute clarity.


Figure 1 – Top view comparison of CE505A and CE505X

When you visually compare the CE505A to the CE505X, you see some similarities and some pretty big differences. You might say they bear a family resemblance from the top view (figure 1), but it is obvious from the end view (figure 2, below) the CE505X is larger so it can hold more toner – the box looking end on the right. The black drum protector sheet you pull out upon installation is also in a different location on this compatible version.

HP has made some printers with a slightly larger toner compartment that can accept either cartridge. The advantage to HP is that they can offer tiered pricing to get more revenue per page you print on one cartridge over the other.

To figure out which one is going to cost you more to use, I utilize the industry standard approach of calculating the cost per page based on the rated page yield, or number of pages that can be printed at 5% coverage. Our article about calculating toner cost per page using the ISO/IEC 19752 standard explains this in more detail.

Here is how that works out. At the HP store, you can find both cartridges and they even have a 2 pack of the CE505X sometimes. Below I itemize the break down of cost per page (rounded) for each cartridge based on the single unit HP store prices as of this writing:

  • CE505A is $90.99 each and prints 2,300 pages. The cost per page is $0.0396
  • CE505X is $165.99 each and prints 6,500 pages. The cost per page is $0.0255

Figure 2 – End view comparison of CE505A and CE505X

I wondered what it would cost to print just one case of paper for each cartridge. Here is what I came up with:

  • CE505A would cost $197.80 per case
  • CE505X would cost $127.68 per case
  • Difference: $70.12

It is also going to save on the environment over the CE505A. That is because printing that one case of paper would have used 2.12 CE505A cartridges while the first CE505X cartridge would still be able to print another 1,500 pages.

The natural resources saved include those used for manufacturing, shipping, and processing discards of each of those 2.17 separate 05A cartridges compared to just one 05X. Industry estimates are that manufacture of each cartridge requires about 3 quarts of oil alone.

Why do manufacturers offer cartridges of varying sizes? Quite simply, they know that some customers will see the price of the larger one over the $100 line and that may be the threshold of what they are willing to spend at the moment to cure the temporary problem of an exhausted toner cartridge. Those customers may well buy the lower priced one without doing the math to see how much more expensive it actually is.

On the other hand, some customers may not use their printer as much and might be concerned that it will go bad before they use it up. That is less of a concern with some brands that offer longer guarantees. For example, LINKYO toner cartridges are guaranteed for two years, providing ample time to use the toner up.

Because of their long warranty and good reviews, these lower cost compatible cartridges are also worth considering:

Now that you know the main differences between these cartridges, consult the list below to verify what different printer models they are compatible with. If your printer can use the CE505X, you will be able to save some money -even if the cartridge itself costs more to start with.

Printer models compatible with the CE505A (05A):

    • HP LaserJet P2035 Printer (CE461A)
    • HP LaserJet P2035n Printer (CE462A)
    • HP LaserJet P2055d Printer (CE457A)
    • HP LaserJet P2055dn Printer (CE459A)
    • HP LaserJet P2055x Printer (CE460A)

Printer models compatible with the CE505X (05X):

    • HP LaserJet P2055dn Printer
    • HP LaserJet P2055x Printer
    • HP LaserJet P2055d Printer

I hope you have found this comparison of the HP CE505A VS CE505X useful and it will help you save money on toner cartridges in the future.

+Scott Roy Smith



  1. salomon cadenas says:

    mi consulta es :

    si instalo un toner 05x a la impresora p2035 funcionara sin problemas?
    por favor respuesta.

    • Amaris Kunakorn says:

      Unfortunately, toner 05x is not compatible with p2035 and will not work.

      Desafortunadamente, toner 05x no es compatible con p2035 y no funcionará.

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