Tips And Tricks On Choosing The Right Dot Matrix Printer

Tips And Tricks On Choosing The Right Dot Matrix Printer

Once used as the forefronts of teletype machines, you might be wondering –– are dot matrix printers still useful in today’s society? In fact, Epson Dot Matrix printers are still extremely popular amongst offices, and there are several things it can do that still outweighs its laser and inkjet rivals. Plus, dot matrix printers can put up with harsh environments too, which make them extremely durable! If you’d like to purchase a few dot matrix printers for your office, feel free to read on.

What Is A Dot Matrix Printer?

A dot matrix printer functions similarly to that of a manual typewriter. The printer contains a print head that strikes a ribbon filled with ink, which then marks a point on the sheet of paper. Because you’re able to make multiple copies at once, this is most ideal for sending invoices, and printing receipts. As a result, these printers are very important, indispensable even, in large warehouse operations, where lists are constantly printed and distributed to various departments. Smaller dot matrix printers can be found in restaurants with hot working environments, where other types of printers may have ink that could smudge or fade.

Key Factors

Print Quality

You can see how many dots there are per inch as is often indicated by manufacturers. However, it can be quite confusing if you are new to it. A nine-pin printer could be able to do a 240 x 216 per inch, whilst a 24 pin printer has a higher resolution of 360 x 180 that allows it to print finer details and produce sharper images. Although both versions offer similar character definitions, the image quality between the two is considered significant. Even so, the nine-pin dot matrix printers are much more affordable and are found in many office situations.

Print Head

A print head comprises several pins or even wires in a vertical row. When the print head moves from side to side vertically, character shapes are made by pushing different combinations of pins forwards and into the ink ribbon before making contact with the paper. Over the years, print heads contain as little as seven to 36 pins, but there are only two choices available for you: either nine pins or 24 pins.


Depending on the industry you are in as well as the pace that your job requires you to go at, speed can be a big factor that one has to think about. Dot matrix printers are rated based on characters per second. Entry-level machines go as low as eighty while larger models can reach up to several thousand characters per second.

Tips And Tricks On Choosing The Right Dot Matrix Printer

What Features Should I Look Out For?


Handling paper is an important issue. Whilst most printers feature listing paper (otherwise known as continuous printing paper), many continue to feed individual sheets. As such, there will be a maximum thickness limit based on the number of sheets.

Listing papers are usually used invoices and stock lists, for example, and are made up of many layers –– from two to three or up to nine sheets. Although it runs continuously, it contains perforations that help you tear it up into individual sheets when needed be.

Listing paper is often described as No Carbon Required (NCR) paper is treated, which means that any marks made onto the paper (the top sheet) will also be copied on every single one below. All you need is a little pressure.

Lastly, the size of the paper matters. Not all dot matrix printers are compatible with the regular standard letter-sized paper. As such, you have to consider the use of your dot matrix printer.

Duty Cycle

This helps you to have a better understanding of the printer’s productivity. If you are getting a budget dot matrix printer for home or small office use, it is good to get one that does five thousand pages per month. If you have a bigger office, the heavy-duty dot matrix printer can do that ten folds.


Dot-matrix ribbons can last for a very long time  –– even up to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of characters. This then makes dot matrix printers an affordable choice. However, color is limited and restricted based on the type of ribbon. In such a case, you can only choose from black or red. This is because the dot matrix printer was made to help facilitate the production of data and not necessarily images.


It is very important to take note of what your printer can be compatible with and what it can connect to before you make the purchase. Printer drivers for Windows tend to be more common than Apple Mac, and only a few printing options allow printing done from your phone or tablet. The vast majority of printers are designed to be hardwired into your computer via serial or parallel ports. USB connections are way more common than ethernet ones.

How To Take Care Of Your USP

Frequent Cleaning And Lubrication

Schedule a cleaning and lubricating session for your printer periodically. A step-by-step tutorial is usually available online, but if you’re unable to find it, just focus on taking out the pins in the print head –– it can get gummed up and stick together, which makes character shapes not come out well. That is the most common form of issue caused by poor maintenance.

Clean Paper Jams

Speaking of jams, you must clean in through and through. This is because there might be small pieces of paper that get ripped off. If they are not taken out, it could harm the printer’s mechanism.


If your printer has not been used for several weeks, there is a chance that your ribbon might be dried out. In such a case, the machine will sound like it’s printing but you will not be able to see any image or characters being produced. Based on the type of ribbon you use, you can attempt at fixing it yourself by revealing the length from inside the cartridge. However, it is always a better option to replace the ribbon altogether.

Tips And Tricks On Choosing The Right Dot Matrix Printer


Although there’s a considerable variety of dot matrix printers to choose from, it’s nothing like the wide plethora of options for inkjet or laser printers –– and as such, can be on the pricer side of things. Most models cost from around $300 to $600, with only a rare few that cost lower than $200. Although this might seem a lot more expensive than a cheap inkjet printer, dot matrix printers can do what other printers cannot. Plus, most of these devices can last up to five or seven years, so take it as an investment.

It’s also not difficult to get supplies for dot matrix printers –– any online or local office suppliers should have them on standby. Plus, unlike laser and inkjet printers, you’re able to purchase third-party alternatives for ribbons, which can help save on cost as well.

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About the author



Emily is a freelance writer and considers herself to be a lifelong learner, who has a fascination for all things new. She enjoys spending time writing about mobile tech, tablets, home tech gadgets, and more. She earned her BA in English Literature at the University of Boulder. Emily is an avid hiker who loves the mountain vistas of the Rockies. If she’s not trekking the mountains, you’ll find her chilling at home with some of the great fantasy novels, such as The Lord of the Rings, or playing her favorite video games.