How an Inkjet Printer Works – The Naked Truth!

While we were crafting this article, one common question hit hard on us. That is, “my ink costs are on the rise, should I switch to a laser printer?”

Pretty sure! You scrolled this question on common forums, right? People are even engaging in that with “yes” or “no.” The conversation sometimes leads to the inkjet vs. laser printer debate.

This never-ending debate will continue. You will be confused about that too. So, what is the solution?

Knowing the working process of each printer. In our last article, we shared how laser printers work. Today you will know how an inkjet printer works.

It will help you to decide whether you should go for reducing ink cost or not. We will also reveal here the naked truth of inkjet printers. Please stick with us till the end. There will be a quiz. The winner will get a free buying guide pdf.  

What is an Inkjet Printer?

Inkjet printer has thousands of microscopic nozzles: these nozzles spray the ink over the paper. Those ink droplets are tiny.

So when it falls over the paper, it renders a high-quality image. This is possible for the cartridge. It consists of yellow, cyan, magenta, and black colors.

The colors mix up to create a better color combination: the concept is almost like a modern computer and tv screen. 

Tv screens render an image with the help of a thousand image pixel clusters. That’s the idea of the Inkjet printer.  

How Does it Work? 

You have the idea of an inkjet printer. Now we will give you a short overview of its working process. It will help you to understand the rest of the topics.

Nozzles play a vital role in inkjet printers. It consists of thousands of microscopic nozzles. These are backed by a printhead that has built-in tiny resistors. 

The resistors heat the ink and turn it into a bubble droplet. This droplet falls over the paper then heats up to get dried.

 Fact 1: Each nozzle size is about 30 to 70 micrometers.

Inside an Inkjet Printer – Components

Maybe the process looks simple at first glance. To be honest, it is far more complicated than a laser printer. 

We are here to make the process comprehensive for you. As a part of that, here is the brief of inkjet printer components.

Print Head:

It performs the major duty. The print head contains the nozzle to spray over the paper.

Ink cartridge:

Ink cartridges vary from model to model. For example, some cartridges come in individual colors. Others come together. 

Many prominent brands offer print heads with their cartridge. The branch of this printer plays with color. That is the role. 

Stepper Motor:

The motor controls the printhead and ink cartridge. It balances the move to make a smooth print. This motor does not work the same for every device. Some are different; they have a unique motor to avoid accidental movement. 

Stabilizer Bar:

There is a stabilizer bar to control the total printing machine. It equalizes the balance of each component. 


This belt attaches the print head and stepper motor. The belt controls the color spraying movement.

How The Paper Feed Assembly Works:

This is how the significant component works. Moving onto the paper feed assembly. The assembly is as follows:

Power supply:

Prior printers had external transformers, but modern printers come with updated power supply options. 

Here is an interesting fact: an inkjet printer needs 30 to 50 watts of standby power to stay up. But when it’s time for printing, it needs 300 to 600 watts.

Control circuit:

The control circuit balances the stepper motor. The reason for this balance is to make the roller activities smoother. 

Interface port:

Three types of ports are usually seen. USB is the standard port in updated printers. But parallel ports are common in many printers. Apart from all of the ports, the serial port is also common in a few printers.

Stepper motor:

The roller moves the paper for constant printing. The Stepper motor provides the power to control the roller movement.


Roller moves the paper from the paper feeder. It starts working when the print head is ready to execute the command.

Paper feeder:

Every printer comes with a paper feeder. It looks like a rectangular shape. Here almost 200 to 250 papers can be accommodated. 

Steps – How Does Inkjet Printer Work?

All the components help to produce a better result. So, how do they work to create a better outcome? We are covering it below. 

The total process will be described in two parts. Part one will cover the technologies. Second part will cover the nozzle printing process. These parts aggregately show the total printing process. 

Part One: Basic Printing Process & Technology

Basic Printing Process:

  1. Computer commands the printer 
  2. The printhead activates the nozzles then.
  3. Thousands of microscopic nozzles mix up the color
  4. The nozzles then drop the ink in two ways: main drop and satellite drop.
  5. These two drops combine to create a new combination.
  6. Roller finally moves the printer to form the command with heat.
  7. Finally, the image heats up to get dried and printed out.


The basic printing process uses several technologies. We will share each of them in this section. It will help you to get a better knowledge of the printing process.

Impact vs Non-Impact 

Every printer uses either impact or non-impact technologies. So, what technology does inkjet use? Non- impact. We are pretty sure you are puzzled by the concept. Let’s clear up.


Impact printing represents direct contact with the paper and pink ribbon. Inside this printer, there are several metal pins.

These are made to write text, draw images and color the object directly on the paper. The results of these pins are satisfying.

 It is possible for electro-mechanical devices. For that reason, it can print 250 words per second. Total time saver! However, this type of printer is a bit noisy.


Unlike the impact, this one stands out for the following features. It does not directly connect with ink ribbon. Only sprays the ink over the paper. 

The ink later dries up and heats to form a better image. The image quality is pretty better than impact. Why?

 It avoids electro-mechanical devices. Maybe this reason makes the printer is slow. Yet, the outcome is pretty amazing. That’s why inkjet printers work slowly but precisely.

Fact 2: Impact printers are two types: dot matrix and character.

Heat Vs. Vibration

Next is heat and vibration. So what are these? Inkjet printers use two types of technologies to show the final result. Some printers use a thermal bubble (heat), others use piezoelectric (vibration) to make better graphical illustrations.

Thermal Bubble:

Canon and Hp are using this technology. So why is technology so popular? For its exciting process.

Let us share that. Inside the printer, there are tiny resistors. It heats the ink to turn it into a vaporized bubble. The bubble later comes out from the microscopic nozzles. 


EPSON has the patent for this technology. This is different from others. Why? Read the process! Epson used crystals and ceramic behind the print nozzles. 

When the elements are charged, it bends. The nozzles then spray a precise amount of ink over the paper. 

Fact 3: Thermal bubbles present a better graphical illustration than piezo. 

Part Two – How Do Inkjet Nozzles Work?

You have the primary idea on heat and vibration technology, right? Part two will be much easier for you now. We will explain how the nozzle works.

Bubble Jet:

As you know, Canon and Hp use the thermal bubble; bubble jets work in pretty different ways. Here are the ways.

  1. When the printer gets the command, the electric circuit executes that by selecting nozzles.
  2. Each nozzle block then fires up through a resistor.
  3. The resistor boils the ink.
  4. Boiled ink later vaporized and formed into bubbles.
  5. These bubbles then squirt over the page with selected dots.


Epson creates this vibrating technology to process the ink. Here is how it works

  1.  When the printer gets a command, the ink tank fires up. It sends ink through a narrow tube.
  2. That drop waits at the end of the tube until it gets hot.
  3. A piezoelectric circuit provides heat.
  4. Piezo circuit charges up with electric power.
  5. Then it heats the crystal to push pressure over the membrane.
  6. The membrane later forces the tiny droplet to melt and squirt over the page.

Advantages of Inkjet Printers:

This is how the nozzles work. Now you know how inkjet printers work. Time to share some benefits of inkjet printers.


Inkjet printers take less space to accommodate. You can place it anywhere besides the computer. This is possible for its super-efficient build quality.

Fast starting time:

It does not need to heat before starting. Just turn on the switch. The printer will start to work instantly. This will enhance your work efficiency. 

Quick portability:

The weight is pretty comfortable. You can take it anywhere. An average laser printer weighs higher than an inkjet printer. So in comparison with laser printers, this one is pretty portable.


Noisy printers can hamper the surroundings. Inkjet printers have a solution for that. It stays silent while in operation. 

High-quality feedback:

Image and graphical illustration look glossy in inkjet printers. The quality is uncompromising. you can design business cards and greeting cards in it. Inkjet printers bring life to your design

Less expensive:

The price is less than a laser printer. An average price of an inkjet printer is between $30 to $100, but the laser printer costs from $70 to $200. 

Inkjet Printer Maintenance: 9 Proven Tips For Enhancing Printer Life

We have shared all the essentials for the topic. You have just read the benefits. Thank you for your patience. 

As an appreciation, we are sharing a bonus section. 9 tips for enhancing the printer life. Check this now

  1. If you are using it for home, it is wise to use it twice a week. It will save from printhead clogging and ink drying up.
  2. Avoid using low-grade ink. Poor ink quality reduces the printhead efficiency. 
  3. Let your ink cartridge dry. Avoiding this may lead to poor-quality printing outcomes. Eventually, there are high chances to clog the print head. 
  4. Never shake the ink cartridge. This process creates air pressure on the printhead; as a result, the printhead starts to decay. Don’t do this. The leftover ink mark is tough to remove. 
  5. Use a printhead cleaning kit. Don’t use a general cleaning tool. It will reduce the print quality. 
  6. Don’t print in black and white. It will reduce pigment accuracy. Let your printer print color format.  
  7. You can use a low-pressure air gun to clean the internal debris. 
  8. Flush the printhead with hot water once a year. It will enhance printing efficiency.
  9. Please keep the room temperature balanced. Fluctuation of temperature may dry up the ink. Avoid this.

Read More: Best Pigment Ink Printers to buy

Inkjet Printer Maintenance - Infographic


How Does an Inkjet Printer Print an Image?

Inkjet printers print images in three ways. Printhead commands the nozzle to squirt tiny ink droplets over the paper. The ink droplets later combine with different color variants. Then a roller pushes the paper to dry up for final feedback. 

How Do You Know If Your Printer is An Inkjet?

Simple! You will see an indication above or below the cartridge. There will be color indications like yellow, magenta, blue, and black. If you see this color on the cartridge, your printer is inkjet.

Can an Inkjet Printer Print on Glossy Paper?

It depends on the paper quality. If the paper is suitable to print on inkjet, obviously, it can print on glossy paper.

The Naked Truth:

Crafting this article was not easy for us. We had to be bold for each area. Finally, our team did the job perfectly. 

All the information of the article is a filtered version from thousands up. There is no existence of filler or fluff in our content. 

 Our editor added what is essential for our reader. So, based on that, the naked truth is: Inkjet printers are best for a better graphical illustration. Except for that, we are not recommending this for regular usage.  


How much electric power Inkjet needs during printing?


A) 30 B ) 70 C) 300 D)600


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Robert Handel
Robert Handel

Robert Handel is a successful entrepreneur, blogger, and printing expert based in Colesville, Maryland. He began his journey in the printing industry back in 2012, when he started working in a small printing shop. Robert was instantly drawn to the process of printing and quickly learned how to use the printers on his own.

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