Here are some tips to help extend the life of your thermal printhead. The average lifetime is determined by various factors.


Printheads are the most common thermal printer replacement. The average lifetime of a thermal printhead is determined by various factors.

Wouldn’t it be great to increase the printhead life to as much as two or three times the life the manufacturer expects? Dirt and residue can deposit and build on the printhead over time, along with adhesive from your thermal labels.

Here are some tips to help extend the life of your printhead.

1. Cleaning Frequency

Regardless of which method you use, the thermal printhead on your printer should be cleaned each time you change the thermal transfer ribbon. Thermal Transfer Ribbons leave a residue everytime you use it. Regular cleaning will ensure that you continue to receive consistently excellent printing results while also preserving your printhead from premature failure.

2. Thermal Printhead temperature

High temperatures shorten the life of thermal printheads and increasing the power or pulse width will increase the peak heater temperature.

Here are some things you need to know:

  • Direct thermal labels require higher printhead temperatures, which shorten the printhead lifetime
  • Wax ribbons require lower printhead temperatures than resin ribbons
  • Higher printhead temperatures will give you better resolution, but too high will greatly shorten printhead life
  • The higher the temperature the more strain you will put on the printhead

TIP: When you create a new label format, make sure you test the print quality before. Set the temperature at the lowest temperature where you see the level of acceptable quality.

2. Take a look at the area next to your barcode: The ‘quiet zone’

In order to scan correctly, there must be an area beside the barcode which is kept free of text, marks or other things. This so called ‘quiet zone’ is different for every barcode scanner. So in order to prevent quiet zone violation, please check the minimum area that’s needed for your barcode scanner.

3. Media mismatch

Does your barcode scanner fail to scan barcodes on specific products only? Than there is a good change that there’s a media mismatch. Some scanners simply don’t go well with specific substrates, but this is different for every scanner. To see if your scanner is suitable for a certain surface, see its manual.

4. Reading position

While most barcode readers are quiet flexible with its angles and/or distances to the barcode, though each unique reader has its own ideal angle and distance in order to scan the barcode. This, due to the fact that there are different types of readers like for example laser readers while other readers work with built-in cameras to capture images. So therefore it’s important to check the specifications of your barcode reader in order to maximize readability.

These are the most common causes that cause unreadability in scanning barcodes. As you can see most of them are quiet easy fixes or a few small changes in settings. If you are still experiencing problems with scanning barcodes after reading this article, do not hesitate to contact us! We are here 4u to help you.

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