There has been some misconception about printheads as replacements for ink cartridge. Many have asked about the possibility of replacing an ink cartridge with a printhead. To begin with, both function differently in the printing process. Though both parts can be found on all inkjet printers, printheads and ink cartridges are not interchangeable.
More tips and tricks to printer maintenance and how you can save on printing supplies from the Printer Encyclopedia.
What are printheads?* A printhead is the part in a printer that assembles and holds the characters to be printed. It is also the component of an inkjet printer that systematically sprays the ink on paper creating images and texts. It is the counterpart of the photoconductive unit or the drum unit of the laser printer.
What are ink cartridges?* An ink cartridge is a replaceable component of an inkjet printer that acts as the storage and dispenser of the print consumable. Ink as the print consumable is deposited in the cartridge. Then with the help of a printhead, it is transferred to the medium which in most cases is a paper. Each ink cartridge may contain one or more partitions of ink reservoirs. Some OEMs add electronic contacts and a chip to communicate with the printer. Color Inkjet printers like Canon SmartBase MP-370 have different ink cartridges for different ink colors. Ink cartridges can be refilled after consuming the total ink load.
**What are the significant differences between printheads and ink cartridges?**
First significant difference is the function. Ink cartridges act as storage while printheads serve as receiver of the image from the printer then gets enough ink to create and transfer that image to the paper. Both parts have different roles in the inkjet printing process. They are not meant to replace one another.
Second significant difference is the functional life of the parts. The printhead does not need to be replaced each time the ink cartridges are replaced. Change the printhead only when the print quality deteriorates and a head cleaning fails to resolves the problem. Printheads can last up to 2 to 3 ink cartridge replacements or refills. However, this estimate may vary depending on the usage and printer maintenance.
Third significant difference is the price. Printheads are a lot less expensive than ink cartridges. Ink cartridges are typically more costly since they come with standard toner load. Some printers have a separate printhead and ink cartridge like Canon SmartBase MP-370. These kinds of printers are a lot more cost-efficient. Consumers won’t have to pay for both the cartridge and printhead every time ink cartridges are replaced.
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Should the Canon SmartBase MP-370 printhead needs replacing, consumers may choose between cheaper aftermarket and the genuine OEM printhead. Cartridges and printheads may be two different parts but without one of them, printing on inkjet printer would be impossible.