An Alternative to Epson Piezo PrinterHeads, Xaar.

Why do 90% of the wide format printer specs not list the kind of printheads their printers use? FLAAR has now made a list of what printheads are in which printers, so you know what is under the hood of that printer you are dreaming about purchasing. This list is available in the FLAAR report on Piezo vs Thermal, fact vs fiction, pros and cons.

Piezo-electric printhead ads claim they are the best. But are they really? Why can Hewlett-Packard get such speed and quality from thermal printheads? What about piezo printheads from Spectra, Trident, Hitachi Koki, Ott, Sharp, Brother and other companies?

Many people who know that Epson heads are piezo-electric naturally presume that these are the only piezo heads that exist. Actually ten years ago Xaar piezo-electric printheads were used in more different brands of printers than Epson heads. Yet each of these heads, Xaar, and Epson, have significant downsides. Yes, each has its own major beneficial attributes as well: those are what the advertisements lure you with. But if you are going to spend your hard-earned money on a new printer, perhaps you have a right to know the disadvantages of each printhead design also. Naturally even the Hewlett-Packard and Encad's Lexmark thermal printheads have their disadvantages just as well as their special capabilities.

We review the Xaar heads in printers from XES Xerox, the Xerox Xpress as well as the Orion printer from Gerber.

Some ads claim piezo-electric printheads are permanent! But that implies you never have to change them. But a Roland Hi-Fi printer user reported his heads failed after a few rolls of paper. Then a Roland dealer confirmed that indeed their heads are not permanent, and do have to be changed about every year and a half (which costs about $550.00, per head, to have a technician come and replace your printhead). That was the price ten years ago; today (in 2014) you may have to pay twice or three times that for a new DX head.

HP heads are designed to be replaced, indeed you order them with your ink. You can replace them yourself (just plug and print). An HP printhead costs about $80 (a decade ago). You can print between 2000 and 4000 square feet of media before you reach this point.

Because of the increase in questions about piezo vs thermal printheads, fact vs fiction, FLAAR editors have prepared a report that dissects the false claims of some printhead manufacturers. For help making your decision write for the FLAAR Report on Piezo vs Thermal, fact vs fiction, pros and cons..

If you are about to buy a first-time printer, or upgrade to a new printer, perhaps you might like some facts about the various printheads. Don't worry, its not a technical report, just some basic information to help guide you through the hype and misleading claims in advertising.

For additional information and for help making your decision, ask for the "FLAAR report on signs, posters, banners" (specify whether for indoor signs or outdoor signs in the rain and sun) or for the FLAAR report on "Piezo vs Thermal printheads, fact vs fiction, pros and cons of each kind of inkjet printhead."

If you really want technical details on inkjet media, inks, and/or inkjet printhead technology, and especially if you wish to meet the movers and shakers in this industry, be sure to sign up for the next conference organized by IMI. Their contact is These seminars are outstanding; the senior review editor of FLAAR usually attends because he can get so much fresh information for the readers of the FLAAR Reports in PDF format and the FLAAR Information Network of web sites.

Today in 2014 the printhead situation is really different Today Epson DX heads have replaced Xaar in 90% of the cheap Chinese printers. Mimaki has switched from Epson to Ricoh. Most UV-cured printers of sophisticated brands use Konica Minolta, Ricoh, or Dimatix Spectra printheads. Xaar are used mostly for in-line ceramic printers. Most recently updated April 2, 2014 First posted many years ago.

Most recently updated April 2, 2014
First posted many years ago.