What is a Dot Matrix Printer, and Should I Get One?

Apr 18, 2016

At PrinterStop, we offer many different types of printers, including dot matrix printers. While they may not be the most popular, sometimes they are an excellent choice. So what IS a dot matrix printer?

Simply put, a dot matrix printer makes all of its prints from a number of tiny dots. The print head hits the paper and prints by impact (similarly to a typewriter). However, since the letters are drawn out in dots, you can select different fonts.

Dot matrix printers are extremely durable. If they wear out, it is usually because the ink has invaded the guide plate of the print head. This causes grit to stick to the print head, which in turn causes the channels in the guide plate to slowly alter their shape from circles into ovals or slots. This makes the dots less guided and can cause the print to be illegible.

Even though these printers were popularized in the 90’s and have since lost some users, they still are quite useful to have today depending on your needs. ATMs and cash registers still use this system of printing. Dot matrix printers are also quite tolerant of dirty or warm conditions that can be found in industrial settings. They can be used in restaurant kitchens to print orders. One of the most popular kitchen dot matrix printers is the Epson ™u220b printer. It does not require thermal paper, which means the prints are not darkened by being close to the oven.

These printers can be noisy, but they are cheap to operate and can print banners that can spread across several sheets of paper. Depending on what you need, a dot matrix printer could be a good choice!