The first-ever mechanical printer was introduced in the 1800s. Humanity has come a long way from that point, yet printers hold key importance in our day-to-day lives. Be it a printer you use at home, the ones at your office, or the ones you see in public infrastructures such as airports and banks, printers affect our lives in multiple ways.
And even printing tech has evolved over the years. Right now, we have multiple printer types at our disposal, and they are largely differentiated on the basis of their printing mechanism.
In this article, we provide you with an objective comparison of two of the most popular printer types, dot matrix printers, and laser printers. We will measure them against the prevalent business parameters such as speed, cost-effectiveness, longevity, etc., and give you a concrete idea as to which one is the best for your business. But let’s know these printers better first.
What’s a dot matrix printer?
Also known as impact matrix printers, dot matrix printers have three basic elements- the dots, the hammer, and the ink ribbon. A print head, consisting of a matrix of pins, moves across the paper. The hammer strikes the print head, which in turn hits the ink ribbon leaving a print mark on the paper.
The quality and speed of printing vary with the specifications of the dot matrix printer. For instance, a print head can consist of anywhere between 7 to 24 pins. The higher the number of pins on the head, the finer the quality of the print.
Dot matrix printers were introduced back in the 1950s, and have a very simple printing mechanism. Yet, they are still used across the globe in huge enterprises. The reason is the advantages of impact printing. It’s not only very cost-effective, but it also enables the printing of multiple copies at once. A capability that only dot matrix printers possess.
What are laser printers?
Unlike their impact printing counterparts, laser printers are amongst the more advanced and sophisticated breeds of printers. A laser printer uses a laser, rolling drum, powdered ink, and electrical charges to print images on a sheet of paper. Let’s go through the mechanism.
When a graphic image is sent to the laser printer, it draws the same image on a drum by hitting it with a laser and charing up the surface area. The drum then rolls through a toner that contains powered ink of opposite charge. As a result, the powdered ink stick to the drum.
The paper inserted in the printer is also then charged so that the powdered ink now transfers from the drum to the paper and sticks to it. Finally, the charge is removed from the paper and a fuser permanently fuses the ink to the paper.
The biggest advantage of this sophisticated print technology is that it can produce very high-quality prints. However, the number of moving parts and the advanced tech don’t make for an easy-to-maintain and a relatively cheaper solution respectively.
Now that you are aware of what these two printer types are all about, let’s dive right into the key factors you need to look at when purchasing one for your business.
Dot matrix printer vs laser printer: Which one is right for your business?
Let’s start with the biggest concern ever for businesses. Which type of printer costs less?
While there’s not much difference between the initial costs of dot matrix printers and laser printers, the differences are quite obvious in the long run. Some of the constant purchases involved with a printer are the ink and printer.
In dot matrix printers, all you need to replace are ink ribbons. And these aren’t expensive at all. However, in the case of laser printers, there are multiple parts that you need to keep replacing. These include toner, cartridge, transfer rollers, etc. All these add up to the cost over time. Another key differentiation metric is the cost per page print. The cost of printing one page in a dot matrix printer is significantly lower compared to that in a laser printer.
The speed at which you can carry out operations often determines the likelihood of success. Print speed is definitely one of the factors dictating how fast operations can move for a business. So let’s take a look at some hard data for printing speeds of laser and dot matrix printers.
Printing speed in a laser printer varies anywhere between 4 pages per minute to 25 pages per minute. It depends on whether you are printing black & white or colored pages. However, these aren’t impressive at all if we compare them to dot matrix printers.
Dot matrix printers can have a print speed in the range of 50 to 100 pages per minute. The print mode and printer type you use will determine the actual speed. So if you are a business that values speed, dot matrix printers are your preferred option.
You never want the printer to die on you without any warning. Laser printers are sadly susceptible to even slightly harsher working conditions. Humidity, high temperatures, and even an increase in dust particles can lead to failure in laser printers. Dot matrix printers, on the other hand seamlessly continue working in the harshest of working conditions.
If your printer is going to be on the job floor and get exposed to the elements of nature, then dot matrix printers might be the best bet for you.
Laser printers are based on a sophisticated tech, which isn’t the easiest to maintain. With multiple critical and moving parts in the element, there are so many factors that you need to care for to ensure smooth operations. You need to take care of the toner cartridge, fusing unit, paper tray feed roller, and so on.
Dot matrix printers don’t ask for much in terms of maintenance. All you need to worry about is replacing the ink ribbon. Apart from that, there isn’t much that can go wrong in this simple yet effective mechanism.
Printing multiple copies
As a business, it’s normal for you to require multiple copies of the same document. Printing the same thing twice will cost more time and money. But not with dot matrix printers. Since these are impact printers, you can easily have multiple sheets go through the same pass with carbon paper between them. And the mechanism will create copies of the document on the go. It’s among the significant reasons why airports and banks are still using dot matrix printers. Laser printers don’t come with such capabilities. You’ll have to print the same thing twice if you need copies.
Finally, let’s also check which printer is better for the planet.
A laser printer might consume about three times the energy compared to a dot matrix printer. If you are a business that’s concerned about its carbon footprint, then you’ll fare better off with dot matrix printers. Also, let’s not forget that it’s good for the pocket as well.
Dot matrix printers clearly stand out if it’s the question of business cases. And the next obvious question is where to find the best dot matrix printers.
In that case, you can check out the amazing range of dot matrix printers from TVS Electronics. It’s a reliable brand that you’d love to engage with and has a wide range of options to fit your specific use case. Go check out TVS dot matrix printers now!