Epson’s inkjet printheads, especially the TX800, XP600, DX5, DX7, i3200, and i1600 models, have long dominated the small and medium format UV printer market. Meanwhile, industrial-grade printhead manufacturer Ricoh has introduced its non-industrial models G5i and GH2220, carving out a market share due to their competitive cost-effectiveness. As we move through 2023, selecting the right printhead within this evolving UV printer market can be a challenge, and this piece will provide some guiding insights.

Let’s first examine the offerings from Epson.

The TX800, a longstanding model, continues to be a default choice for many UV printers due to its cost-effectiveness. Retailing around $150 and offering a lifespan of 8-13 months, this model is valued for its affordability. However, given the inconsistencies in quality across TX800 units in the market, it is recommended to purchase from trustworthy suppliers like Rainbow Inkjet. The TX800 provides satisfactory printing speed and quality, with 1080 nozzles and six color channels. Despite its virtues, the TX800’s market share is dwindling in favor of original printheads with the emergence of newer models.

The XP600, which bears a striking similarity to the TX800 in terms of performance, is twice as expensive without any marked improvement in output. Hence, the TX800 remains a more practical option unless one has a specific preference or a flexible budget.

The DX5 and DX7 stand out with their high-resolution printing capacity of 5760*2880dpi, thereby ruling some niche printing domains. However, their high cost and discontinued status make their upkeep expensive. Coupled with the circulation of refurbished units posing as new, their dependability has suffered. Given the mismatch of price, performance, and lifespan, these models are gradually falling out of favor.

The i3200 printhead, enjoying market popularity, nearly matches the TX800’s performance and greatly surpasses it in speed. Although pricier, it is well-suited for high-volume and speed printing, provided that it is diligently maintained.

Epson’s latest addition, the i1600, designed to rival Ricoh’s G5i printhead, offers competitive speed and is priced around $300 lower than the i3200. This printhead is an excellent choice for those prioritizing printhead lifespan, printing unique shapes, and operating with a medium-to-high budget.

Turning our attention to Ricoh’s printheads.

Renowned industrial-grade models G5 and G6 are recognized for their printing speed, longevity, and easy maintenance. However, their high cost and industrial-grade status make them unsuitable for small and medium-format UV printers.

Ricoh’s G5i, a competitive entrant in the small and medium UV printer market, has decent printing capabilities and resolution. While the speed does not match its G5 predecessor, its price and market position are a concern due to current supply shortages. However, once the market stabilizes, it remains a viable option.

In conclusion, the printhead market is currently in a transition phase. Traditional models like the TX800 still hold their ground, and new models like the i3200 and G5i display promising speed and durability. Depending on budget and technical needs, options range from the cost-effective TX800 to the cutting-edge i3200 and i1600 models.