An ink cartridge is the part of the printer that contains the ink, while a print head is the part of an inkjet printer that sprays the ink on the paper.

Your desktop inkjet printer contains replaceable cartridges that contain black, magenta, yellow, and cyan ink. The cartridges send a mixture of inks to the print head of your printer which, in turn, sprays the ink onto the paper. The cartridges themselves contain only ink and are not able to spray ink onto the paper. The print head does not store the ink. Ink travels only through it. Your inkjet printer can not print without both components working together.

  • Cartridges

Each brand of inkjet printer contains its own type of ink cartridges, which means that the cartridges are not compatible between brands. Some printers contain ink cartridges that combine three colors (magenta, yellow, and cyan) in one cartridge. The other printers contain each color in its own cartridge. On some printers, if a cartridge runs out of ink, the printer will not print.


  • Print heads

Each inkjet printer contains at least one print head that applies the ink to the paper and forms a document. Some printers contain two printheads, one for black and the other for color ink, while others may contain a separate printhead for each ink cartridge. All printheads must be in working order for the printer to print.


  • Combined units

Some inkjet printers have printheads built into the bottom of the ink cartridges. You can not remove these printheads, they work as long as the cartridges contain ink, and then you replace the cartridges. Combined ink and printhead units are generally more expensive than units with separate cartridges and printheads. However, they eliminate the hassle of buying and replacing separate printheads.

• Failed

Like any replaceable component, ink cartridges and printheads do not last forever and eventually fail. Separate ink cartridges and printheads, as well as ink-printhead units, are available at office supply, computer, electronics, and retail stores. The components are also available at online points of sale and auction sites. Consult your printer's user manual for the type of ink cartridges and printheads that your printer accepts.


Categories: Printer, Ink Cartridge

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