If you run a manufacturing, wholesale, or financial services business where invoices, manuals, reports and other multi-part documents need to be printed regularly, then you understand how important it is to have a reliable, fast, and cost effective printer.
However, there is no other type of printer that fits well in such demanding environments than the dot matrix printers. These printers use pins that impact on an ink ribbon to form characters and images – much like the printing mechanism of a type writer and require minimal human supervision.
Although the technology they use is quickly being replaced by laser and inkjet, dot matrix printers continue to be an important addition in businesses that use multi-part forms and carbon paper to produce multiple copies of a document.
Here, we’ve put together a list of top ten best dot matrix printers as well as some of the factors you need to consider when looking for one. Read on.
Top 10 Best Dot Matrix Printers
If you work in a retail restaurant where the need to issue receipts to your customers is endless, then the Epson TM-U220B Dot matrix receipt printer is the ultimate choice for you.
Robust and compact, the Epson TM-U220B prints high-quality non-fading receipts at super-fast speeds hence minimizing traffic and delays especially if you have to serve many customers.
The printer features a drop-in paper load and comes with clamshell covers and a selectable auto-cutter. These ensures that there are no paper jams making receipt issuance a breeze.
What’s most interesting about this printer is that it’s completely reliable and has the capability to print in three widths. The device is space saving and can also be mounted on the wall.
To add the icing on the cake, the TM-U220B is energy star rated and is completely compatible with all the existing systems that use the TM-200 printers. This means that you can print directly from your Android, iOS, or Windows devices with POS applications.
- Automatic paper cutter
- Prints in three widths
- Its space saving
- Can be wall-mounted
- Crisp clean printing
- A bit pricey
Designed for use in the busiest working environments, the MICROLINE 321 printer is lightweight and features a compact design, which means it fits well on your desk.
It has a well slanting control panel with LED buttons in front that indicate what’s happening within the printer. On the back of the printer there is a power port and a parallel port that you can use to connect the printer to your computer.
In terms of performance, the printer has feed speed of 4.5 inches per second and a print speed of 435 characters per second (15 pages per minute) when operating in Super Speed Draft mode.
It’s also quite dependable and you won’t be throwing your money in the ditch with this printer. It comes with a 9-pin rugged print head that offers relentless performance. The print head has a 200-milion character life and ensures that your prints are of high quality.
What’s more, it’s quite versatile and can handle up to 6-part forms thanks to the expandable gap between the platen and the powerful samarium cobalt magnet print head with a spring activated pins.
The printer also comes with a lighter and stronger motor for friction reduction, a durable rack and pinion drive system and an impact resistant chassis that make it suited for tough environments.
- Great choice for demanding environments
- Optical sensor and auto-tear feature for accurate positioning
- Durable print head
- Faster printing and intake speeds
- Better build construction
- None identified
If you are in the market for a dot matrix printer that can handle huge printing workloads with minimal operator supervision, then the Oki MICROLINE 320 is just the right choice for you.
With a printing speed of up to 435 characters per second (cps), the Oki Microline can complete between 10 to 15 pages per minute at best. This is quite commendable especially if you run a business where you have to print reports or manuals regularly.
To achieve maximum performance, the printer uses a durable 9-pin print head and is fitted with a stronger, lighter, and more efficient motor that help in minimizing the friction.
Along with the motor, it has a durable rack and protective chassis that ensures that it stays intact even in the harshest working conditions.
The printer employs a patented optical sensor to ensure that the print head is accurately positioned and fed for precise output.
It also has a zero-auto tear feature that positions your forms accurately for a clean tear right at the perforation which helps in reducing paper wastage thus giving you continuous output.
Working with computers is also not a problem with the Oki MICROLINE 320. It networks with various devices through USB and allows IEEE parallel connectivity. It’s also compatible with most custom and off-the-shelf software.
- Quality build and high performance
- Good for form printing
- Better drive system for high-quality print
- Protective chassis
- USB and IEEE connectivity
- Angled down feeder pans can cause staples and other office debris to find their way into the tracks of the device
If you are looking for a dot matrix printer that can clock hundreds of hours without the need for any maintenance, then the Epson LX-350 printer is what you are looking for.
Featuring a 9-pin print head, the Epson LX-350 has a printing speed of up to 347 characters per second (approximately 7 pages per minute).
Although not as fast as the OKI Microline 320, it’s an ideal choice for office use where continuous printing is required but at moderate speeds.
For easy usage with your computer or other devices, the printer comes with USB, parallel, and serial connectivity options.
Moreover, the printer has a good looking interface that houses both physical command buttons and LED lights that help indicate what’s happening within the machine.
The printer also features a compact design and is marked energy star, which means it’s very energy efficient compared to most printers available in the market.
- Affordable dot matrix printer
- Energy efficient
- Compact and sleek design
- High ribbon yield of 4-million characters
- USB, Serial, and parallel connectivity options
- A little lacking on speed
Just like the Oki MICROLINE 320, the MICROLINE 420 is engineered for use in demanding environments where faster printing is required such as financial departments.
The Microline 420 differs from the Microline 320 slightly in terms of printing speeds. Unlike the 320 that sports speeds of up to 435 characters per second, the Microline 420 sports up to 570 characters per second when operating in Super Speed Draft Mode.
With such a speed, the Microline 420 can complete between 14 to 17 pages per minute making it one of the fastest dot matrix printers in this list.
To achieve such exemplary performance, the printer uses a 9-pin rugged print head that’s made from strong samarium magnets and superior quality pins that deliver excellent print quality. The rugged print head has a long life of up to 400 million characters.
For high accuracy in character placement, the printer employs the patented OKI closed-loop feedback system and comes with a zero-tear feature that helps position forms accurately for a clean tear at the perforation. This helps minimize and eliminate wasted stock.
- Produces great quality prints
- Super-fast speeds
- Amazing 400-milion character print head
- Closed loop feedback system
- Automatic loading
- Occasional paper jams
If you want to experience breathtakingly high quality prints at superfast printing speeds in the busiest environments, then the Oki MICROLINE 421 printer is a great choice.
Just like the Microline 420, the printer has printing speed of up to 570 characters per second when operating in Super Speed Draft mode. This translates to about 15-20 pages per minute which is super cool for business.
The printer comes with a rugged print head that’s very durable and has an average life expectancy of up to 400 million characters. So you can expect this printer to serve you for a lifetime.
For continuous operation, the printer comes with automatic loading and an internal sheet separator that enables faster and effortless loading into the tractor feed.
There’s also a zero-tear feature that accurately positions the forms for a clean tear at the perforation thus minimizing wasted stock.
- Max duty cycle of 17000 pages hence will serve you for long
- Fast printing speeds
- Durable print head
- Quality prints with sharp characters
- Automatic loading
- Angled feeder pans make it easy for office debris to slide into tracks and break it
The Oki MICROLINE 620 is a beast when it comes to your printing needs. It’s the fastest Oki model that we have reviewed on this list. But what does it offer that the other models don’t?
For starters, the Microline 620 is compact and sturdy, which is a common trait with all the other Oki models. However, when it comes to performance, Microline 620 takes the lead.
It has super quick printing speeds of up to 700 characters per second (approximately 20 pages per minute) and can chew up to 5.25 inches of paper per second.
Unlike most printers, the Oki MICROLINE 620 has a long MTBF (mean time before failure) rate of 25,000 hours and features a long life 9-pin character print head. With such a long MTBF you can rest assured that it will serve you for long without the need for maintenance.
Moreover, it has cost saving features that include the 8 million character ribbon and the durable print head that has a 400 million character life expectancy period.
Given its versatile nature, the printer features four paper paths that enable it to handle continuous forms and cut sheet paper and can print up to 7 copies of single or multi-part papers simultaneously.
The printer also supports multiple emulations for easy set up and is compatible with Microline, Epson FX, and IBM PPR.
- Super-fast print speeds
- Four paper paths
- High MTBF rate
- Great for challenging environments
- Long life ribbons
- A little bit pricey
When it comes to OKI and innovation, there is literally no slowing down. The Oki MICROLINE 186 is yet another model from OKI that offers unsurpassed printing capabilities.
Compact and versatile, this printer delivers crisp and detailed prints and can be used as a copier, scanner, or fax machine hence a great choice for a busy office.
To ensure that there are no delays, the printer has a printing speed of 375 characters per second and a maximum duty cycle of up to 13,000 pages.
More still, this handy dot matrix printer has the capability to network with various devices thanks to the USB and Parallel (IEEE 1284) connectivity options.
Other features include the long MTBF (mean time before failure) of up to 20,000 hours and the energy star rating that makes it energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
- Great for office use
- Durable 9 pin print head
- High-quality prints
- Long MTBF
- Energy efficient
- None found
Just like OKI, Epson is a world renowned brand that’s best known for their high quality, state-of-the-art printers. The Epson LQ-590II is a recent addition into their inventory. But what does it offer?
Engineered for busy print environments, the Epson LQ-590II-Monochrome printer features a reliable 24-pin and comes with an improved USD (ultra-speed draft) speed of 584 characters per second. This makes it ideal for high volume print runs such as huge batches of invoices and stock reports.
What’s more, the printer boasts a long lifecycle thanks to the 24 pin print head and its 5 million character ribbon cartridge that ensures that there is little user intervention.
Best of all, this workhorse can seamlessly integrate into virtually any system including the IBM PPDS and Epson ESC/P2.
The printer also supports USB and parallel connectivity and can race through cut sheet, and multi-forms of up to 7 pages thick. It’s also energy star rated and comes with an intuitive and sleek control panel that makes it easy to operate.
- Great for busy working environments
- 5-million cartridge ribbon
- 24-pin print head
- Easy to operate
- Compact design
- None identified
Need a reliable Dot matrix printer that’s designed for point of sale applications and general business? The Oki MICROLINE 1120 is all you need.
With a print speed of 375 characters per minute (approximately 7-10 pages per minute) when operating in Super Speed Draft mode, this compact printer incorporates Oki’s 9-pin matrix technology with the impressive high MTBF (mean time between failures) of 10,000 hours for maximum end-user productivity.
In addition, it is highly versatile and has the capability to print on cut sheet paper and continuous forms up to 5 parts.
The printer also features a multi-position tractor feed for multiple configurations suitable for a wide range of applications from inventory reports, receipts, invoices and spreadsheets.
The MICROLINE 1120 is also user friendly and low on printing noise which helps in avoiding disruptions. What’s more, the printer has a 4-million character ribbon life, is low on power consumption, and supports USB, Parallel, and Series connectivity.
- Multi-position tractor feed
- 4-million character ribbon life
- Compact space saving design
- USB, Parallel, and Series connectivity
- Durable 9-pin print head
- No printer cable
What to Consider When Choosing a Dot-Matrix Printer
Of course you do not want to purchase a printer that will make you break the bank. When opting for a dot matrix printer, consider how much you are willing to spend. While on budget, also consider the kind of tasks you need to complete more often. Is it invoice, receipt, or spreadsheet printing? If you’ve got a high demand for this, it’s vital to consider a multifunctional printer. However, it’s prudent to remember that not all expensive models deliver as advertised.
Unlike other printers, the dot matrix printing quality is determined by the number of pins. The number of pins vary from 9 to 24. The higher the number of pins the better the print quality.
Typically, dot matrix printers vary when it comes to the number of characters printed per second. This can be anything between 50cps and 5000cps. If you require high speeds, then select one with higher speed settings. The good thing, however, is that most dot matrix printers come with a control setting that allows you to adjust the speeds.
When shopping for a dot matrix printer, check whether it has a tear bar or an auto cutter. An auto cutter may be a little convenient because it will not only help save you time but also make work easier.
Dot matrix printers are mostly suited for busy work environments. As such, they need to be incredibly durable and strong.
Dot matrix printers are workhorses that can run for hours without stopping. As such, it’s important to buy a machine that’s energy efficient and that will reduce the amount of paper used. This will not only help conserve the environment but also result in significant savings overtime.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dot Matrix Printers
How does a dot matrix printer work?
A dot matrix printer works by impacting pins that strike up and down an ink ribbon.
Is printing hampered when the ribbon is low on ink?
No, printing is not hampered. However, the quality of the print will appear faded and it’s up to you to determine when to change the ribbon.
Why are dot matrix printers ideal for business?
What makes these types of printers ideal for business is because they use impact technology. This technology is ideal for printing multipart forms and secure pay slips.
How do I connect my computer to a dot matrix printer?
Most dot matrix computers come with three types of interfaces. The Parallel, Serial, and USB interface. Make sure you check whether your printer has these interfaces and any other peripherals that you can use to connect to your computer.
As you can see, there are numerous dot matrix printer models available in the market. In this guide, we have reviewed the best and we hope you will find one that best suits your needs. Also, do not forget to consider the above factors before making a purchase.