Last updated: July 2, 2020

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Printers are vital in any business, because their function is focused on recording information in order to have control over any administrative area through the printing of receipts. In that sense, matrix printers are intended to fulfill a fundamental task in the work environment.

Certainly, there are multifunctional models that seem to detract from this type of printer belonging to the initial period of printing development. However, they can be beneficial in many areas, so you should know beforehand the essential features and other details of this type of printer. If you are interested, then keep reading!

Key Facts

  • These types of printers are almost exclusively intended for printing forms, invoices and some other documents that do not require high resolution or color.
  • It works by direct impact of a matrix of needles with the paper, that is, a matrix of dots collides with a tape that contains the paint and through these strokes, it forms the characters.
  • One of the most remarkable features of this type of printer is that its use reduces the cost of printing per page and also provides excellent paper management features. The budget will be much lower than for printers that work with toner or laser. Although connectivity, print speed and number of characters are also important.

Our Selection: The Best Dot Matrix Printers on the U.S. Market

In the following section you can see a list that we have prepared with the best matrix printers on the market based on their characteristics. This way, you can get more information about the features and functions that these products can offer and ensure a good purchase, so you avoid making a quick decision.

Best-Selling Dot Matrix Printer

This dot matrix printer by Oki is a best seller on Amazon, so you know you are getting a good quality product. Its performance comes from the rugged printhead design—, the lighter, stronger, more efficient motor; the long-lasting rack-and-pinion drive system; a protective, impact-resistant chassis; and a high performance that goes the distance. It is also compatible with virtually all custom and off-the-shelf software, making it the perfect replacement.

Best Compact Dot Matrix Printer

Epson, world leader of impact printers, introduces a new printer with the same technology, reliability and quality of its predecessors, but with a more compact presentation and robustness. This is a great option if you are looking for a printer that does not take up too much desk space. The new LX-350 has fast and durable EPSON 9-Pin technology, prints up to 347 characters per second and is ideal for front and back office applications needing continuous paper.

Best Dot Matrix Printer for Retail

ML420 9 pin Dot Matrix printer will handle the most demanding print environments: point-of-sale, automation and utility applications such as wholesale or retail sales counters, financial departments, and manufacturing or warehouse sites. This is a great option if you are in the retail industry and need a powerful printer that will get the job done. The internal cooling fan provides continuous airflow for the printhead—maximizing productivity for long, unattended print jobs.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Dot Matrix Printers

If you want to ensure that you make the right choice, it is important that you know the details that you should keep in mind if you are thinking of buying one for your workplace. In the following section you will find all the information to clarify any questions that you may have at the time of your purchase.

impresora-matricial-1-Ntonio-Guillem-105067779-copy-1-768x512

Dot matrix printers serve to maintain order in company records.
(Source: Antonio Guillem: 105067779/ 123rf.com)

What is a dot matrix printer exactly?

Those who have experience in the field of printers are usually linked to professions that involve many roles. In everyday tasks, a printer needs to offer an effective job. Of course it is necessary to know the terms, but there is nothing like practice.

In definition, a matrix printer is a computer peripheral that has the function of transcribing or marking a document from the computer to the paper. To do this, the print head moves from side to side using pins that mark the paper with ink to form the graphic that is printed.

What types of dot matrix printers exist?

In general, matrix printers will always be used, although their popularity has diminished over time, even today various models of this equipment are still being manufactured. Basically, matrix printers are usually classified by the number of pins they use.

  • One (1) pin matrix printers: They are often smaller calculators or printers, their use is common in simple equipment that does not exceed 8 bits of processing.
  • Matrix printers with nine (9) pins: These are the most common, there are many models on the market, they are distinguished by having wide or narrow formats and are often used for printing forms.
  • Twenty four (24) pin matrix printers: They are high-end printers, have higher print quality, are ideal for large stores or medical consulting places. Even the most recognized brands make this type of printer
  • There are also matrix printers of 18 pins and 27 respectively: The first is very little use, there are few manufacturers that work with them, and the second is a printer model from the technology giant Apple called ImageWriter, which so far is the highest resolution available on the market.

What are some characteristics of dot matrix printers?

There are a number of things that you should keep in mind if you are thinking of buying a matrix printer for your business or office. In this section we have gathered a list of the main characteristics that define and differentiate this type of printer from other types, such as photo printers. It is important to check each of the following features before getting a matrix printer.

  • Print speed: This aspect is important for this type of printer because the speeds vary greatly in each model. It is usually measured by CPS (characters per second) and defines the speed of the equipment, an important aspect according to the workload you require.
  • Print quality: Just as important, this factor will depend on the number of needles the equipment has. The more needles you have in the printhead, the better the print quality.
  • Durability: One of the most attractive features of matrix printers is their lifespan. Generally, in work spaces, teams are expected to maintain productivity and adapt to different situations. In that sense, they need reliable, fast printers, with good paper handling and that are easy to use.
  • Multilayer printing: Another great advantage is that these types of printers are capable of printing on multilayer paper, which means that it allows the use of carbon paper to multiply copies, which helps reduce costs.

How do you correctly install a matrix printer?

To maintain order in company records and regulate the administrative system, a matrix printer will be very useful. They are also vital to bill the services or products you offer. It is important that you know the elements of these printers so that you can properly use the equipment.

Check the contents of the box

You must ensure that all printer accessories are included, in addition to the printing device, it should include the ribbon or cartridge, the paper guide, a power supply cable, also a disc with the installation software and the respective documents of the manufacturer.

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The perfect place to put your printer is a flat surface with a nearby plug.
(Source: Andriy Popov: 35462410/ 123rf.com)

Choose a suitable place to put it

Equally important is that you find a suitable place to put your matrix printer, ideally a flat surface that is near a plug. Keep in mind that it is necessary to place the device away from other wireless devices because it could cause interference.

  • Install the print ribbon: Before verifying that the printer is turned off, you will have to remove the cover completely so that it does not obstruct the installation process. Turn the side control to stretch the tape and prevent it from getting tangled in the heads, keep the cartridge in hand. Take the handle and adjust the tape in the mounting area, where the pair of side hooks are.
  • Then, place the tape below the paper guide: To do this, you can use a pencil, then just verify that the installation is correct by operating the displacement in the form of a test. Then replace the cover and you’re done.
  • Insert the paper guide: If you check the structure of the matrix printer, you will find a couple of slots that support the paper guide. It is just a matter of taking the guide and mounting it in an upright position to adjust the small sheets carefully, for this you should lightly press with your hands.
  • Software installation: Once you connect the printer to an electrical outlet, you will need to install the software so you can access the functions. To do this, insert the disk included in the box and wait for it to open a new dialog window. Click it, follow the steps and that’s it. You may also have to go to the manufacturer’s page.

How do you maintain a dot matrix printer?

As you can imagine, matrix printers use a ribbon that receives the ink and strikes the paper with needles. This tape is the main consumable of this type of printer, it is a piece that must be replaced from time to time or when it is finished. The maintenance of this equipment is usually slightly more complex than other printers.

Not only do you have to keep it clean and in a cool place. It is also advisable to perform periodic maintenance of the roller, which is the piece that moves the needles, which accumulates residual ink and dust. It is necessary to clean it with a cloth dampened with alcohol, applying slight force, and then dry the area very well.

Dot matrix printer-3

It is recommended to perform periodic maintenance of the roller, which is the piece that moves the needles.
(Source: Толмачев: 106497322/ 123rf.com)

The traction car should be cleaned with pressurized air, as it accumulates waste by the continuous paper passing through the tray. The metal guide through which the print head slides must be hydrated to prevent dryness. Do to this, apply oil with graphite base.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of matrix dot printers?

Advantages
  • They print on multilayer paper, which increases the number of possible copies.
  • The cost of printing per page is low.
  • As the ink is consumed, the intensity decreases.
  • They work with continuous paper.
  • Designed for durability and strength.
Disadvantages
  • These printers are usually noisy.
  • The color resolution is limited and may be poor quality.
  • Sometimes one of the spindle pins fails.

Shopping Criteria

Dot matrix printers are very useful, as well as practical and economical. But even so, there are several features that you should consider before selecting one. For that reason, we have created a small guide for you to ensure a good purchase and achieve business objectives while saving money. You should consider:

Points

When it comes to comparing different models of dot matrix printers, it is advisable to check the amount of points that the equipment offers because this factor will define the resolution with which the printer will mark the paper. If you do not require a very detailed reading and what you are looking for is simple, then a printer with nine points will be fine.

However, this choice will depend on your use of the printer. In case you prefer a high level of detail or need a greater number of characters in printing, then you should select a printer with more points. This aspect is important because it directly influences the cost of the equipment.

Dot matrix printer-4

The higher the number of characters, the more expensive the matrix printer will be.
(Source: Marco Prati: 17870077/ 123rf.com)

Depending on what you need, you should choose a capable printer. In these devices, the speed is measured by CPS, that is, the number of characters it processes per second (a larger number is equal to faster). This aspect is important, as it regulates the capacity of the team and defines the rhythm. Although usually matrix printers are usually very fast.

Characters

This is another important feature that affects quality and cost. The characters are responsible for expressing the content you want to print, they are placed by the action of the dots on the paper. That is why it is advisable to check the duration of the tape, which is usually calculated by the number of characters printed before the ink runs out.

You should see if it allows you to print at least 2 million characters. In addition, it is also useful to know that the higher the number of characters, the more expensive the dot matrix printer will be. Even so, you will save money in the long run. The key is to find a practical balance, although it will depend on your needs.

Connection

Dot matrix printers connect to different systems that are responsible for issuing invoices, such as computers or cash registers. This is the reason why you need to think about the connection capacity of your printer, either via USB or, on the contrary, network cables. Defining the type of connection facilitates the installation and transmission of data.

Paper

Although the main objective of matrix printers is to print invoices or labels, it does not necessarily have to be in small sizes and formats. Some printers work with A4-sized documents, while others focus on smaller papers that are in rolls to achieve continuous and uninterrupted printing.

It is wise to think about the amount of information you want to capture on the paper to define the size of the paper to be used. Another factor to consider is how to reload the printer paper because some can be exclusively continuous paper, while others must be fed manually.

Summary

Despite the technological innovations of printers, matrix printers have remained in the market and still have great relevance in many business sectors. The truth is that they fulfill an extremely important function during the registration and administration of the data generated in different transactions.

It is a very specific function that will probably be maintained for a longer time, especially in areas where data recording is needed continuously throughout the day. Now that you know the operation and main features of this type of printer, do you already know what model you need?

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(Source of Featured Image: Vladimir Mucibabic: 14972656/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Brett Holmes Technology Geek
Brett is a keen observer of the latest technology trends and knows his way around the industry because he runs an electronics store. He writes about it in his spare time and wants to help others learn more about the technology industry.