When Do I Need to Replace My Printhead?

When Do I Need to Replace My Printhead?

If you have a commercial printer for your business, cleaning and maintaining the printhead is important—after all, your printer won’t work if the printhead is broken or clogged. Even with proper care and maintenance, printheads will sometimes need to be replaced. But how do you know when to replace a printhead? 

Understanding Printheads

Even the most inexpensive inkjet printer has a printhead. If a printhead breaks on a home printer, it’s usually more economical to simply buy a new printer. With expensive commercial printers, it’s cost-prohibitive to buy a new printer whenever the printhead is broken, which is why it’s replaced instead.

Printheads are fed ink from cartridges; this ink is sprayed onto the paper with tiny nozzles. Piezo inkjet printheads use electric charges and vibrations to push ink out of the nozzles, while thermal inkjet printheads use heat to boil the ink and produce ink vapor, which is forced through the nozzle of the printhead.

As you can imagine, with different types of printheads, there are different ways to clean and repair them, and different answers to the question of when they should be replaced. Consult your printer’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s troubleshooting guidelines. (If you don’t have a manual for your printer, we maintain a library of printer service manuals on our website for your convenience.)

Signs You Need to Replace Your Printheads

If you notice a loss in print quality, it may be a sign that you need to replace a printhead. Unfortunately, it may also be a sign that your printhead needs to be cleaned. How do you know which is needed?

It’s simple: clean the printhead first. Your printing system could just be clogged and in need of a good thorough cleaning. Try using one of our approved cleaning systems to unclog your printhead. Run one or two cleaning cycles to clear out any dried ink. If you’ve done that and you’re still not seeing an improvement, the next step is to replace the ink cartridge. These two steps should resolve most printhead problems, but if they don’t, it’s likely time to replace your printhead.

Some printers make it even easier to diagnose a problem with the printhead—they state that there’s an issue with the printhead on their LCD screens. Naturally, this is also a sign that it's time to replace a printhead.

Purchasing a New Printhead Replacement

When you have a commercial or wide-format printer, replacing your printheads can take some research. You’ll find that there are seemingly endless options, confusing names and numbers, and it’s not always easy to find exactly what you need. That’s why we founded All Print Heads—our goal is to make it easier for businesses to find printhead replacements so they can get back to work.

Our expert team at All Print Heads has put together a 10-step guide to help you understand how to buy a printhead for a printer.

Learn More About Printheads

At All Print Heads, we specialize in providing replacement printheads for a wide variety of commercial printers. We’ve been in the printing business for years, so we can help you find exactly what you need. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for your business.


  • Uttam

    Head hp printer

  • Del Fuller

    I have the same problem on my Canon MG5450. There are videos on YouTube which make cleaning and/or replacement look pretty simple. I’m going to try the cleaning route first and if that doesn’t work I plan to purchase a new print head.

  • Ken Swank

    My ink head is dead on my epson-830 printer. The head will not move. How do I replace it

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