Top 10 Best Thermal Printer Cleaning Pens – Reviews & Buying Guide 2020

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we get commissions for purchases made through such links, at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

This is a comprehensive post about the best thermal printer cleaning pen you can find on the market. Using a cleaning pen is one of the best ways to clean your thermal printer’s print head and ensure that the printer lasts long. However, there’s a wide variety of cleaning pens out there and these different models deliver different qualities of results. That’s why we have compiled a list of the top 10 best products for you.

Our top 10 list and the other information in this post will help you choose the best thermal printer cleaning pen that will deliver excellent results every time and secure the long lifespan of your thermal printer. If you have a thermal printer or you are planning to buy one, you should read this post to the end.

What Is The Best Thermal Printer Cleaning Pen?

The best thermal printer cleaning pen will clean your thermal printer’s print head thoroughly, leaving behind no ribbon particle, paper debris, or dirt. It will also be easy to hold and use.

This specific product is our choice. It is handy and delivers excellent cleaning results. It also has universal applicability. You can use it on any thermal printer you can think of.

Best Thermal Printer Cleaning Pen

There are many ways to clean a thermal printer’s print head, but the best and easiest way is the use of a cleaning pen. These are special pens designed to clean off ribbon particles, debris, and dirt, as well as any other contamination that may have built-up on the print head.

A good thermal printer cleaning pen, when correctly used, will leave your printer cleaner. As a result, the printer will print crisper and clearer images. What’s more, an efficient thermal cleaning pen can help improve the legibility and quality of your prints. It will also increase output, printer performance, reliability, and lifespan.

Top 10 Thermal Printer Cleaning Pens

#1. Ci Kyan Thermal Print Head Cleaning Pen

Best Thermal Printer Cleaning Pen

This cleaning pen is Amazon’s Choice among thermal cleaning pens because of its high rating and friendly price. It is compatible with all thermal printers and will effectively rid the thermal print head of oil, dust, and any other contamination. The pack contains 3 pens.

#2. Primera Thermal Print Head Cleaning Pen

Best Thermal Printer Cleaning Pen

Primera’s thermal print head cleaning pen contains 99% isopropyl alcohol. It is effective for cleaning thermal print heads and lasts long. If you return the cap immediately after each use, you can use each pen 10-20 times before the cleaning solution dries up.

Each pack of Primera’s cleaning pen contains 5 pens. With the minimum use of 10 times, if you clean your thermal printer’s print head once every month, you will use one pack for about 5 years at least.

#3. Zebra Cleaning Pen

Best Thermal Printer Cleaning Pen

Zebra Technologies’ cleaning pen comes with the brand’s reputation for quality and effectiveness. It is made specifically for Zebra thermal printers but it can work for other thermal printer models as well. It offers optimum protection and ensures the smooth running of your thermal printer. It will remove dust, adhesives, and other common contaminants from your printer’s print head.

#4. Gorilla Supply Thermal Printer Cleaning Pen

Best Thermal Printer Cleaning Pen

This top-quality cleaning pen also uses a 99% isopropyl alcohol solution. All you need do is to remove the pen’s cap, use the pen and clean it immediately, and restore the cap. If you follow this procedure, you can use each of the 12 pens in this pack at least ten times.

#5. Jumbo Thermal Printhead Cleaning Pens

Best Thermal Printer Cleaning Pen

This cleaning pen works for both thermal printers and card readers. It is one of the maintenance accessories you should have if you use a thermal printer. It cleans thermal print heads thoroughly and increases their reliability and performance. It is safe and easy to use, getting rid of most dirt, burnt-on debris, and contaminants with just a few swipes. Each box contains 12 pens.

Jumbo cleaning is suitable for both scheduled and emergency maintenance. It will correct poor print quality and help restore legible and crisp imprints by removing clogs from the print head. Routine cleaning with this pen will maintain optimum print quality and extend your thermal printer’s lifespan.

#6. Evolis Thermal Printhead Clean Pen

Best Thermal Printer Cleaning Pen

Evolis cleaning pen will help keep your thermal printer in its best shape by cleaning its print head, keeping it free of debris, dust, and other buildups that may damage the printer. This allows the consistent production of high-quality labels.

#7. Yoton Thermal Printer Alcohol Cleaning Pen

Best Thermal Printer Cleaning Pen

The barrel of the Yoton thermal printer contains electronic-grade 99.9% isopropyl alcohol. This solution effectively cleans electronic parts, including thermal print head, removing dirt, dust, debris, and ribbon residues. Regular cleaning with this pen will improve the quality of graphic images and make your thermal printer last longer.

#8. Xligo Thermal Printer Alcohol Cleaning Pen

Best Thermal Printer Cleaning Pen

The Xligo cleaning pen is a universal thermal printer cleaning pen. It is compatible with most thermal print head brands, including Zebra. You can count on this lightweight pen for the effective and safe cleaning of your thermal printer’s print head.

#9. Wasp Thermal Printhead Cleaning Pen

Best Thermal Printer Cleaning Pen

Wasp cleaning pens will help extend the lifespan of your direct thermal and thermal transfer print heads if you use it for regular cleaning. It removes the dirt, dust, and other buildups resulting from thermal printing. It works well with wasp barcode printers, as well as other brands. What’s more, you can use it to clean either original or replacement print heads.

You should clean your print head with this pen each time you replace your ribbon or label rolls. If you do this, your printer’s lifespan will improve and its rollers will experience reduced wear. Regular cleaning will also prevent tearing and wrinkling of thermal ribbons.

#10. Miwaimao Thermal Printer Alcohol Cleaning Pen

Best Thermal Printer Cleaning Pen

This cleaning pen is also compatible with most thermal printer brands. You only need to apply slight pressure as you swipe the cleaning pen across your printer’s print head. It will scrub off all the dirt and burnt-on ribbon debris. The barrel of this cleaning pen contains 99.7% isopropyl alcohol.

How Long Do Thermal Printers Last?

A thermal printer should last for about ten years if you take good care of it. The part of thermal printers that need the most care is the print head because it largely determines the lifespan of the thermal printer. Once the thermal print head becomes defective or dysfunctional, you may have to buy a new printer.

The print head of a thermal printer is the only part that wears out over time. If there are other printer issues, you can simply service the printer or change the defective part.

How Can You Tell If A Print Head Is Clogged?

You can tell that your thermal printer has a clogged print head when it starts producing faint spotty or streaky prints. These are common that your printer’s print head needs cleaning. Cleaning will remove the clogs and restore optimal print quality. Thermal print heads clog when ribbon particles, dirt, or paper debris accumulate on them.

How Do You Use A Thermal Printer Pen?

To use a thermal cleaning pen, hold it like any usual pen and swipe it across the print head’s entire surface. As you do it, the pen will remove clogs and contaminants away from the print head. To get the best cleaning results, apply gentle pressure while moving the pen back and forth across your printer’s print head.

✅ Video – How To Clean A Thermal Head Printer

This is one of the best visual guides you will find on how to clean a thermal printhead. You will learn the step-by-step process of how to clean your printer’s printhead safely and effectively.

How Do You Clean A Thermal Printer Pen?

You can wipe the tip of your thermal printer pen clean using clean paper. Just swipe the pen over the paper’s surface as if to write with it. It will remove any dirt on the pen’s tip. Take note that you may need to gently add a bit of pressure while swiping the pen across the paper.

How Do You Clean A Printhead With Alcohol?

To clean a thermal print head with alcohol, dampen a lint-free clothing material with 7-10 drops isopropyl alcohol. Wipe the thermal print head with the dampened cloth using gentle pressure. Repeat the back and forth movement as many times as possible until the print head is free of debris and dirt.

The best saturation to use is 91% isopropyl alcohol (denatured). Take care not to use rubbing alcohol. After wiping the print head clean, wait for 2-3 minutes to allow it to dry completely.

Thermal Printer Cleaning Kit

Thermal printer cleaning kits are used for cleaning the print head of thermal printers. A typical cleaning kit will contain cleaning pens, cleaning pads, and/or alcohol swabs. These items are designed to get rid of dirt, debris, and any other contaminant from thermal print heads. Aside from cleaning the print head, you can also use cleaning swabs to clean the rollers and belts of thermal printers. A proper cleaning kit can help improve your printer’s lifespan and the quality of the labels it produces.

Thermal Printer Cleaning Pen How to Use

To clean a print head with your cleaning pen, hold it like a pen and swipe it over the print head back and forth as if you are drawing lines. As you do this, the pen would be clearing off specks of dust, debris, lint, dirt, and ribbon particles, among other contaminants. Apply a bit of pressure and make sure the pen touches every part of the print head surface.

Epson Thermal Printer Cleaning

You can clean Epson thermal printers with cleaning fluid and cleaning sticks or cotton swabs. Apply the cleaning fluid to the cleaning stick or cotton swab and use it to wipe the printhead’s surface to clean it. If you don’t clean your thermal printer’s print head, you will start getting a poor print quality. More so, dust can cause scratches that can damage the printer permanently.

Epson recommends isopropyl alcohol or ethanol methanol as its cleaning fluid. When cleaning the print head of Epson printers, avoid using non-recommended cleaning solutions, such as alkalis and acids. These, among other non-recommended solutions, can damage your printer’s print head.

Zebra Printhead Cleaning Pen

Zebra Technologies makes special print head cleaning pens for their products. Their cleaning pens are perfect for the regular maintenance of Zebra thermal print heads. However, you would have to buy the cleaning pen separately since it doesn’t come with Zebra thermal printers.

Zebra Technologies recommends that you should clean your thermal printer’s print head each time you change paper rolls or after every month, whichever one comes first. This routine will ensure the optimum performance of your Zebra thermal printer and extend its lifespan.

Thermal Printer Cleaning Card

Thermal printer cleaning pads are disposable products that can help clean the print head and other interior contact parts of your thermal printer. They will remove dust, dirt, debris, oils, and any other contaminant you can think of. Cleaning cards will make your printer more efficient, increase its lifespan, and prevent the need for expensive replacement and maintenance.

To use a cleaning card, you will run it through your thermal printer as if it were a thermal paper. As it passes through the printer, it will wipe the print head, paper guide, rollers, paper path, and other interior contact parts clean. You can use thermal printer cleaning cards on both direct thermal and thermal transfer printers.

5 Benefits of Thermal Printer Cleaning Pens

Best Thermal Printer Cleaning Pen

Cost-effective Solution

Thermal printer cleaning pens are small investments that can help you save lots of money over your printer’s lifespan. They are generally cheap to buy and you can use each cleaning pen about ten times. This means minimal expense on your part. More so, using cleaning pens for routine thermal print head cleaning will reduce your need for service calls. This also helps you save money.


Thermal cleaning pens also help you save time. The entire cleaning process with cleaning pens takes just about 15-30 seconds. This will prevent frequent downtimes that can sometimes last for hours while waiting for fixing and repairs.

Optimum Performance

Proper cleaning of thermal printheads results in a better printing experience. Your printer will produce clearer, crisper, and cleaner labels. Dirty, worn, scraped, or clogged print heads often reduce print quality. But when you thoroughly clean your print head, your printer would perform optimally and this will yield a better print quality and customer satisfaction.

Longer Lifespan

Cleaning pens remove potential clogs that can damage thermal print heads permanently. This increases the lifespan of your thermal printer. The thermal print head is arguably the most important part of a thermal printer. And once the print head damages, you may have to replace the printer.

Safe Cleaning

Unlike many of the other thermal printer cleaning methods, thermal printer cleaning pens are safe. For instance, cleaning cards are also good but they can cause printhead and roller abrasion. So you should use them sparingly. In the case of cleaning pens, they are safe so long as you don’t apply too much pressure while using them.


What Are Thermal Printers Used For?

Thermal printers are used for the production of diverse labels, stickers, tags, and receipts. They can print on paper documents, CDs and DVDs, wristbands, and shipping barcodes, among other applications. The applications of thermal printers cut across almost all industries you can think of. Thermal printers offer a cost-effective solution for printing the printing needs of many businesses.

What Are The Disadvantages Of A Thermal Printer?

The three major disadvantages of thermal printers are the relatively expensive cost of purchase, color limitations, and heat-sensitive prints. Thermal printers often cost more than comparable inkjet printers, and their replacement parts also cost more.

What’s more most direct thermal printers are only capable of monochrome printing. Some thermal printers can print multiple colors but in most cases, the colors are not as vibrant as what you would get from inkjet printers. And then thermal prints are generally susceptible to damage from direct sunlight and heat exposure.

Despite these obvious disadvantages, thermal printers have so many advantages to offer. That’s why most businesses still use them. Ultimately you should compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of thermal printers to know whether to buy one for your business or not.

How Do You Use A Thermal Printer?

The first thing to do if you would use a thermal printer is to set it up and fit in the appropriate paper roll. If you are using a thermal transfer printer, you should fit in a ribbon roll as well. After this, you should install the recommended driver for the printer on your PC. Then, connect the printer to your PC and you can start printing.

This process may sound easy but it could be a little complex if you are not used to setting up gadgets. You can get confused and things can get complicated along the line. One of our posts contains a basic guide on how to set up, use, and maintain thermal printers. You can read it here.

What Is The Difference Between Direct Thermal And Thermal Transfer?

The direct thermal mechanism uses heat-sensitive media while the thermal transfer mechanism uses thermal ribbons. This is the major factor that defines the differences between direct thermal and thermal transfer printers. However, both direct and transfer thermal mechanisms use heated print heads to create images.

There are many other differences between these two thermal mechanisms. You can read about these differences here.

What Is Better: Direct Thermal or Thermal Transfer?

Thermal transfer printing has many advantages above direct thermal printing. It creates longer-lasting labels that are more resistant to temperature and weather changes, friction, and moisture. However, direct thermal printing would be a better option for those who don’t require durability since it’s cheaper.

The better choice between the two thermal printing mechanisms depends on each person’s printing applications. We have a post where we discuss the different variables that should guide in deciding which thermal mechanism is best for you. You can read the post here.


So far, we have shown you the top 10 thermal printer cleaning pens. We compiled the  top 10 list after examining various options. We have also shared other valuable information, including the benefits of cleaning pens. Various cleaning pen brands are on the market but you don’t have to check them all out before you find one that suits your needs. We hope that you find the information in this post helpful and that you can find a suitable cleaning pen for your thermal printer’s routine maintenance.

Recent Posts

Back to Top Arrow