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5 Reasons Why A Thermal Receipt Printer Is Better Than A Dot Matrix Receipt Printer

Thermal receipt printers have become the standard offering on the majority of point of sale systems today. Especially in the restaurant industry it is hard to find a point of sale system that does not have a thermal receipt printer.

Why is this? For the most part thermal receipt printers cost more to buy. The paper for thermal receipt printers is higher than dot matrix printers.

Here are 5 reasons why a thermal receipt printer is superior to a dot matrix receipt printer.

1. Speed

Thermal printers print at an incredible rate when compared to dot matrix printers. The average dot matrix printer will print around 3 lines per second. Thermal printers average in excess of 20 lines per second.

2. Print Quality

Thermal receipt printers have a much better image and print quality than dot matrix receipt printers. The name “dot matrix” helps explain the major difference between the two very different technologies.

The dot matrix or impact printer creates characters by impacting a ribbon with up to 8 small wires that are aligned vertically in a dot head. As the dot head travels horizontally across the ribbon/paper these dots impact like small hammers making the impression on the ribbon and then the paper. Look closely at a receipt printed by a dot matrix printer and you will see these very small dots that make up the characters.

These dots simply do not have the quality of image that a thermal receipt printer does.

3. Logo Images

Dot matrix receipt printers go not have the ability to print a quality logo image on the receipt. Thermal receipt printers not only have this ability the image does have some very fine detail and is easy to download to the printer to be stored in the printer’s RAM.

4. Reliability

MTBF stands for Mean Time Between Failure. This is the standard for measuring the average time between failure for any device. In the case of printers it is either the average number of lines printed before a failure occurs or the average feet of paper that can be printed before a failure occurs.

In either case, the thermal receipt printers win across the board.

There are some thermal receipt printers that are better than others, but dot matrix printers simply do not have the staying power of a thermal printer.

This is due to fewer moving parts on a thermal printer and the fact that dot heads break due to the dot pins snagging on ribbons or are damaged when coins are dropped into the printer mechanism.

Thermal receipt printers do not have these extra moving parts as the paper is pulled across a stationary heat mechanism that heats the thermal paper to make the characters and images.

5. Cost of Ownership

This goes beyond simply the cost of supplies. This analysis should also include downtime and the cost of repairs.

Thermal paper does cost more than dot matrix paper. However, the added cost of ribbons for the dot matrix printer sends the cost of ownership for supplies higher for the dot matrix receipt printer.

When you add in the cost of repairs and the more frequent repairs for the dot matrix receipt printers the cost of ownership clearly swings in favor of thermal receipt printers.


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