Monday, September 26, 2022

What Is A Dot Matrix Printer

Are you looking for an article with a detailed explanation of what is a dot matrix printer? Then, look no further because you have just found the best answer to your search.

This Powerversity article will give you the necessary explanation of what a dot matrix printer is in sections. Each section will cover much ground on steps to help you better understand the article.

Firstly, I will introduce the dot matrix printer by giving you an overview. In this overview, I will provide an extensive explanation of the meaning of a dot matrix printer and its emergence.

Secondly, I will discuss the method of operation of the dot matrix printer with the title “How It Works.” In this section, I will explain the uses of the dot matrix printer and how it operates.

Thirdly, I will explain the features and talk about the benefits and limitations of the dot matrix printer. Even so, I will recommend my selected best dot-matrix printers.

However, this recommendation will be presented in a tabular form, showing each product’s various comparisons and specs. This will lead to the next section, which will be frequently asked questions.

I will give suitable answers in the FAQs section. Therefore, I will advise that you read this section carefully, as there might be answers to your intended questions too.

Lastly, ending the article, I will share my final thought on a dot matrix printer.

Therefore, it is pertinent that you read this article till the end in order not to miss any vital information.

What Is A Dot Matrix Printer: Overview

What Is A Dot Matrix Printer - Overview

A dot matrix printer (DMP) is a type of printer that make use of pins impacting and ink ribbon to print. However, they are generally regarded as outdated printers because of their low-quality printing production rate and cost.

Although they have a unique feature that other printers like the inkjet and laser do not have, this specialty is their ability to print multiple copies of text at the same time using carbon copy papers.

Hence, there are fondly used in places where multi-part forms are required.

Even so, a dot matrix printer forms their letters and characters by a matrix of dots. It works with a print head that has many pins to move in the required direction and strikes against a cloth ribbon soaked with ink.

Furthermore, these dots are closely spaced in a particular shape to make the intended character. Moreover, this looks similar to the printing mechanism of typewriters and daisy wheel printers.

In addition, dot matrix printers are different- they can create many different graphics and characters. However, a character printed by this printer is an accumulation of many such dots on a small area of the paper.

Furthermore, the DMP, also known as an impact printer, uses a fixed number of pins and wires to print. Even more, the pins and wires are typically arranged in one or several vertical columns.

What Is A Dot Matrix Printer: How It Works

What Is A Dot Matrix Printer - How It Works

The dot matrix printers are also referred to as impact printers. Thus, they have the capability of printing text and single graphics.

This printer draws one character at a time from a dot matrix which usually consists of either 9 or 24 pins. Furthermore, it strikes several metal pins against an inked ribbon.

After that, it transfers the image to a sheet of tractor feed paper. More so, it can print at high speed for many hours at a time with or without human intervention.

In addition, this printer works by striking an ink-soaked cloth ribbon against the paper, just like a typewriter. However, unlike the typewriter or a daisy wheel printer, the letters are drawn out of a dot matrix.

Hence, it can produce arbitrary graphics and varied fonts. Moreover, printing with this printer requires mechanical pressure.

Therefore, these printers create carbon copies or carbonless copies. Even so, each dot of this printer is made by a tiny metal rod, also called a “wire” or “pin.”

Furthermore, a small guide plate with holes faces the ribbon and paper directly, which serves as guides for the pins.

Hence, the part of the printer that moves is called the print head, which generally prints one line of text at a time.

However, the dot matrix printers are highly durable, though they will eventually wear out. They also have a single vertical line of dot-making tools on their print heads.

This is unlike others with a few interleaved rows to improve dot density. More so, ink might invade the guide plate and, thus, causes grit to enter it.

Features/Factors To Consider Before Buying A Dot Matrix Printer

Factors To Consider Before Buying A Dot Matrix Printer

The dot matrix printer is one of the oldest printers that became so popular in the home and businesses. It has a similar operational mode to the traditional typewriter.

Also, the mechanism of this printer is just like the typewriter. Some pins hit the ink ribbon at the head of the printer and make various types of patterns.

Even so, it prints out dots on the paper to form an image or text with any font on graphics. Moreover, an electromagnet to a solenoid makes the head of the pins drive back and forth.

Although the pin is moving fast enough, the overall speed of the printing is really slow. However, the major features/ factors to consider when buying a dot matrix printer are:


The first feature you should look out for when buying a dot matrix printer is the size. Thus, this feature should be considered when buying any printer.

More so, the best way to consider this factor is to access the available space in your room or workspace. Even so, you can get a very good dot matrix printer that will fit your desk perfectly and also serve functional purposes.

However, if you are looking at producing a larger number of customer demands, then you should consider a larger model that can handle the volume in a better way.

Printing Speed

You must ensure that the printing speed of the printer you are buying matches your demands. Moreover, the printing speeds for these printers are recorded in characters per second (CPS).

However, some printers can not cover more than 50 characters per second, while others can reach up to 5000 characters per second. Therefore, you need to buy a dot matrix printer that will meet the demands of your facility.

Furthermore, if you are operating a retail business, then you are to go with faster speeds for the convenience of customers.


Yes! It would be best to consider the price when buying a dot matrix printer. Regardless of the suitability, you are not expecting to spend a generous amount of money on a single device.

Even so, the price is not a determinant of effectiveness and functionality. Hence, it should not be substituted for it.

Instead, consider the task that the printer will be undergoing and create your price range. However, do not be too strict with your speculated budget.

Also, be ready to go a little overboard for multifunctional versions that can help you accomplish more. In addition, buy from a trusted manufacturer to ensure your purchase is not extremely high.


It is very pertinent that you consider how long you want to use this printer. Additionally, keep in mind that dot matrix printers are robust. This is why they are used in demanding work areas.

Moreover, it is best to select printers with higher quality materials in terms of construction. Lastly, buy models that do not require a lot of maintenance.


This printer makes use of a ribbon that is covered with ink. There is usually a transfer of ink onto the paper in response to the computer’s commands when the paper feeder moves the paper into position.

However, the color ink ribbons have three bands that correspond to the three primary colors. Therefore, using many pin strikes, you will print the color pictures in order to get the right tone for colored printing.


This is where all the actions are performed. There is an impact on the speed and resolution of the output in a matrix printer through the number of pins.

More so, it produces low-resolution printouts when it begins from 9 pins and a maximum resolution when it reaches 24 pins.

Moreover, when the dot matrix printers have denser dot patterns, that means it has higher resolution and better quality.

Other features of the dot matrix printers that you should consider are:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Print quality, and
  • Added features.

What Is A Dot Matrix Printer: Pros And Cons

What Is A Dot Matrix Printer-Pros And Cons

The dot matrix printer has so many benefits and limitations. However, in this section, we will first look through the benefits and then move on to the limitations.


Below are the benefits of the dot matrix printers:

  • It has a low cost for printing per page.
  • Also, it can use continuous paper, unlike other printers that require individual sheets.
  • Even so, the ink ribbon does not dry out easily.
  • More so, it is reliable and durable.
  • In addition, it is cheap and easily available in the market.
  • Furthermore, it can be used to make carbon copies of the printout.
  • Moreover, it has a very low maintenance cost when compared to others.
  • It can also tolerate dirt and hot conditions, especially in industrial environments.
  • Finally, the printout fades gradually instead of coming to a halt suddenly. Hence, you get enough time to change the ribbon before any crisis emerges.


The following are the limitations of using a dot matrix printer:

  • It is usually noisy.
  • Also, it has a very low printing speed.
  • In addition, it is prone to bent pins, which can also destroy the print head.
  • Even more, the use of a single sheet of paper has to be bound and aligned with the hand. Hence, it is time-consuming and stressful.
  • Moreover, it has a low barcode density- which may fail to match the users’ standards.
  • Lastly, it has a low output resolution. Therefore, the color printout has a lesser print speed limit, unlike the non-impact printers.

However, the benefits and limitations are quite equal in number, and it depends on the users’ requirements. More so, if you do not mind compromising the print quality for cost when buying a printer, then the dot matrix printer is the best.

Although it can be disastrous to use the dot matrix printer for printouts that require high resolution, recently, you can only find these printers in devices such as cash registers, POS terminals in shopping outlets, and ATMs.

What Is A Dot Matrix Printer: My Recommendations

What Is A Dot Matrix Printer: My Recommendations
ProductsDimensionWeightCompatible DeviceConnectivity TechnologyPrinter Output
OKI MICROLINE 320 Turbo Mono Dot Matrix Printer21.4 x 21.3 x 9.4 inches16.7 poundsPCUSBMonochrome
Epson C31C514767 Epson, TM-U220B, Dot Matrix Receipt Printer17.5 x 11.8 x 9.6 inches1 poundPC, LaptopsEthernetN/A
Epson LQ-590II 24-pin Dot Matrix Printer2 x 4 x 8
15.84 poundsPC, LaptopsUSBMonochrome
Epson C11CC24001 Dot Matrix Printer14.25 x 17 x 8.75 inches11
Epson C11CC24001 LX-350 Dot Matrix Printer10.83 x 13.7 x 6.06 inches9.04 PoundsPCWiredMonochrome

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Is The Difference Between Dot Matrix And Inkjet Printer?

Typically, the inkjet printer sprays liquid ink on paper through microscopic nozzles. In contrast, the dot matrix printer has pins that push an ink-soaked ribbon against the paper. Hence, it creates images or prints.

2. What Is The Example Of A Dot Matrix Printer?

The dot matrix printer is an impact printer. More so, it prints with striking ribbons.
Also, a few versions of the impact printers are chain wheel, drum, etc.

3. Do Dot Matrix Printers Use Ink?

Yes, it does.
The dot matrix printers, otherwise called matrix devices, are one of the oldest printers that depend on an ink-soaked ribbon for operation.
This is very similar to the ribbon used in a traditional typewriter.

4. What Is The Difference Between Dot Matrix Printer And Daisy Wheel Printer?

The dot-matrix printer is the most popular printer that uses tiny dots to create graphics and text in the sheet to form desired shapes.
In contrast, the daisy wheel printer is the one that prints symbols and characters that are not graphic at a very low speed.

5. What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Dot-Matrix Printers?

It can print on multi-part sheets or carbon copies, has a low printing cost per page, can be used on continuous form paper, is useful for data logging, and is durable and reliable.
While the major disadvantages are: It has limited print quality, color printing capacity, low printing speed, and noise.

6. How Long Does A Dot Matrix Ribbon Last?

The dot-matrix printers typically last four to seven years but usually last twice as long as a laser printer. However, this depends on how you use the printer.
Also, a single ribbon can last up to a year. Finally, in most cases, the matrix components may cost less than the ribbons of typewriters.

7. Are Dot Matrix Printers Reliable?

Yes, they are.
Unlike laser and inkjet devices, dot matrix printers can operate in environments with extreme temperatures and dust.
They can also produce a constant stream of reliable output for a long period.

8. Is Dot matrix printer input or output?

It is output.
The dot matrix printer can print output as dots so that it can print any shape of the character. This allows the printer to print special characters, charts, graphs, etc.
Dot Matrix Printers come under the category of impact printers.

9. What Is The Paper Size Of A Dot Matrix Printer?

The dot matrix printers use plain paper. However, the most popular sizes are 279 x 241 mm (11 x 9.5″) and 279 x 368mm (11 x 14.5″) which are for wide carriage machines (132 column).

10. When Would You Use A Dot Matrix Printer?

The dot matrix printers can be used just anywhere you want to. In addition, they are capable of printing on multiple sheets at once.
With a single print on the white front sheet and colored carbon paper on the copies behind, you can create multiple printing at a time.
Generally, dot matrix printers are more reliable than laser or inkjet machines, especially when used in dirty environments such as warehouses or car garages.

What Is A Dot Matrix Printer: My Final Thoughts

What Is A Dot Matrix Printer My Final Thoughts

On this note, we have come to the end of this article on what is a dot matrix printer. However, I am confident that this post has helped to enlighten, inform, and educate you.

More so, you will agree that the benefits and the setbacks of the dot matrix printer are fairly equal, without anyone outweighing the other.

Even more, it is one of the oldest but very reliable printers, although it has a low-quality production capacity. Nevertheless, it can print on more than one sheet at a time.

Hence, getting this type of printer in the present day could be a bit difficult; that is where my recommendation comes in. With the above recommendation, selecting a dot matrix printer when need is will be an easy task.

Furthermore, the ability to withstand all temperatures and reliability of use anywhere is one most unique attributes of the printer. Hence, buying this printer is not bad if you do not mind the speed limit and production rate.

More so, it is the best option as far as cost is concerned.

I believe you found this Powerversity article helpful.

Do not hesitate to fill out the “leave a reply” form at the end of this article to share your thought.

Moreover, you might want to read other articles like this. Please visit the pages below:

What Is The Best HP Photo Printer?

5 Best 11 X 17 Printer: Best For Small Business

What Is A Plotter Printer

Agboola Mary Gbemisola
Agboola Mary Gbemisola
Agboola Mary Gbemisola is a Technical Writer for She has a B.Sc in Mass Communication and Journalism. Mary loves Cooking, Playing games, and involving in educational talks. In, she writes product best picks, buying guides, and product comparisons.
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