Secret Tips You Should Know For Buying a Printhead

Looking For a New Printhead? Secret Tips You Should Know For Buying a Printhead

If you’re a printer owner, you’re likely to need to replace the printhead at some point. BCH offers printer repair services, but there are many kinds of printheads, and I don’t stock them all. Therefore I have extensive experience on purchasing printheads online.  Here are few tips that I want to share.

If you buy a printhead from Amazon, make sure that it’s covered under Prime. If it’s not, it’s shipping directly from a third-party seller, and it can be difficult to return if something goes wrong.

Never, ever, ever buy a printhead from AliExpress. Why? Printheads are considered “high-risk” items, and I’ve had nothing but bad experiences when trying to return printheads through AliExpress. I provided all required photo documentation, and they still denied my claim due to “insufficient evidence.” They wanted video evidence, so as an experienced YouTuber, I shot a detailed video demonstrating how I tested the printhead and why it was defective. Long story short, the seller never responded to my case. They have little incentive to respond to your concerns because they know they will keep the money either way.

US companies typically stand with buyers. However, AliExpress tends to side with the sellers, which can spell trouble for buyers who purchase defective products. This is not to say that all sellers are scammers, just that it’s a good idea to know how to protect yourself as a consumer.

Lucky for you, I have a few tips for successfully purchasing a working printhead.

Tip #1: Buy Popular Models

There are many popular printhead models that are likely compatible with your printer, so it’s best to avoid obscure models that only work with a select number of devices. For example, if you need a printhead for WF-7720, you will pay arms and legs for it.  However, if you buy a WF-3640 printhead, it is usually $10-15 cheaper.  Actually, they are the same printhead.

How do I know if WF-3640 printhead is the same as WF-7720 printhead?

If you try searching for your model on a site like eBay, you’ll notice that, in most cases, there are multiple other models listed alongside it, meaning that that printhead is compatible with an entire group of printers. For example, if I search for "WF-7720 printhead", I see a seller is selling a printhead that "works with WF-7720, 7111 7210, 7610, 7620, 3620, 3640." You can copy the information down and expand the collection by looking at more sellers.  Eventually, you will find information that people rarely know: this printhead also works with WF-3720 WF-3730 printers which use totally different cartridges! 

Tip #2: Pay Attention to Condition

Notice the condition of the printhead parts. Most models on eBay will be listed as “brand new”, "pre-owned", or “parts only.” Epson doesn’t typically sell individual printheads, so everything you see on eBay is either refurbished or used—it doesn’t matter if they’re brand new or not. You are not guaranteed to get a better printhead if it is listed "new". Companies like Epson, HP, or Canon don't sell printheads to the public.  They only give them to their repair technicians and authorized distributors.  I know some technicians sell printheads under the table but I don't think they will sell them on eBay.  Therefore, the printhead on eBay has the chance of being "new" as you encounter a left-handed albino hippo.  However, you can use this to argue against the seller if they listed as "new" in a return situation.  If a printhead is "new", it only means the seller get a printhead with pretty clean condition and he thinks it can pass as a new unit.  If you are good at cleaning printhead, you will be able to make an used printhead just as good.

Tip #3: Don’t Buy Anything That Doesn’t Offer Free Returns

If an eBay seller doesn’t offer free returns, that’s a big red flag that you should not ignore. To filter these out completely, click the “free returns” box in the left-hand column. Doing so will give you a list of sellers who are confident enough to say, “I’m standing behind my product, but if anything goes wrong, you can return it for free.”

The next step is to go ahead and choose the model that fits your needs and budget. If a printhead is listed as “sponsored,” that means that someone has paid for it to be listed there, and it may not be what you’re looking for.

Check out my YouTube video for more tips:

Scroll down the list of printheads and look for shipping location and speed. Be aware that if your product is coming from overseas, you will have to pay more in shipping fees, and it will probably take longer to arrive.

Once you’ve decided on a printhead, look at the seller's information and feedback and purchase whatever insurance might come with the product. Don’t think you need it? Let me give you a statistic: for every five printheads I buy, only about two are actually usable, even when purchased new. This is why it’s important to pay a little extra for the insurance. Trust me—you will want this peace of mind.

Take note of the warranty and print a copy of your receipt. You’ll need this if you need to use your insurance or claim a refund. You have a limited number of days to request a refund, so be sure to test your device as soon as it arrives.

I recently purchased a printhead and ran a serious test. For the most part, it went pretty well, but there were a few issues with color. To return this item, I have to log onto my eBay account, select the item, and initiate the return process. You'll be asked to provide a reason for the return. In this case, it's because my printer is defective, so I’ll select the “item is defective” option.

If you need to return your printhead, be polite. Remember that even under the best of circumstances, printheads are high-risk items and can arrive defective, so if you need to message the seller directly, explain your problem and avoid all caps. Be precise in your explanation of the problem.

Just a few hours after requesting a refund, I received a message from the seller offering a replacement or refund. What a difference from AliExpress!

For more details about these tips and other information you should know, please visit my YouTube Channel, Kevin at BCH, and watch the full video.

Happy printing!

May 10th 2022

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