So, what is a printhead on an advanced printer, and what does it do? Every inkjet printer in the market is developed with one thing in common—a print head. A print head is a feature in an inkjet printer that deposits ink on printable media through tiny nozzles that spray out ink.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • A print head is a feature in an inkjet printer that deposits ink on printable media through tiny nozzles that spray out ink.
  • While all print heads do the same tasks, not all of them are the same. The technology behind their function might be different depending on the manufacturer.
  • In contrast with a cartridge, the print head works by getting instruction from the printer as text or image and then receiving ink from the cartridge and finally transferring it to paper media.

Before developing inkjets in the printing industry, prints were done on printing presses that had direct contact with media. The printing process back then was messy and expensive. The printers were also quite bulky.

Ideally, the print head is the printer section that assembles and maintains the characters to be printed. It also works systematically, spraying ink on the paper creating text and images. It’s the photoconductive unit of a laserjet printer.

Types of Print Heads

While all print heads do the same tasks, not all of them are the same. If you do not know what a printer is, it is a device that receives information from a digital source and transforms the data on paper. The technology behind their function might be different depending on the manufacturer. There are two types of print heads. Each uses a different kind of method to spray ink on media.

  • Piezo inkjet print head: This print head is standard in Epson inkjet printers and features a thin film exposed to electric charge, forcing it to vibrate, building pressure, and finally forcing the ink out of the nozzle.
  • Thermal inkjet print heads: They are popular in HP and Canon inkjet printers, and unlike the Piezo, they use heat and water in the print process. The heat is ideally used to heat the ink, creating a bubble of ink vapor that explodes and is forced out through the nozzle.

Difference Between a Print Head and a Cartridge

Today’s printer is relatively small, and it might take a keen eye to distinguish between its internal parts. The Ink cartridges function as a storage unit. In contrast, the print head works by getting instruction from the printer as text or image and then receiving ink from the cartridge and finally transferring it to paper media.

Also, unlike the cartridge, the print head doesn’t need to be replaced each time the ink needs replacing. The only time you’ll need to replace your print head is if the print quality of your printer begins to deteriorate, and cleaning the head doesn’t solve the problem.

Print heads are also significantly cheaper to replace compared to ink cartridges. The ink cartridge is pricier since it comes with a standard toner charge.

Depending on your printer, it will come with a separate printhead and ink cartridge—which is more profitable. You won’t have to pay for the cartridge and printhead every time the ink cartridges need replacing. Another thing you should know detailed in this guide is what a waste toner cartridge is if you are using a laser printer.

F.A.Q.

What does it mean when my printer says there is an issue with my print head?

While print heads don’t require regular replacing like cartridges, they deteriorate over time. While most times, a simple print head clean will solve the problem when extensively used, they will need replacing. Also, when your printer notifies you of a print head issue, it could require a simple clean or a complete replacement.


Can a print head be fixed?

Yes. Usually, your printer will need a simple cleaning procedure to clear out the clog. However, in extreme situations, you’ll need to replace it altogether.


What is the difference between a print head and a cartridge?

The Ink cartridges function as a storage unit. In contrast, the print head works by getting instruction from the printer as text or image and then receiving ink from the cartridge and finally transferring it to paper media.


How will I know if my print head needs replacing?

The print head doesn’t need to be replaced each time the ink cartridge needs replacing. The only time you’ll need to replace your print head is if the print quality of your printer begins to deteriorate, and cleaning the head doesn’t solve the problem.


STAT: The U.S Printer and Copier segment volume is estimated to amount to 11.01 million pieces by 2025. It will show a volume growth of -7.2% by 2022 (source)

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