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What Are the Different Types of Receipt Printers?

By Whitney Leigh White
Updated May 16, 2024
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Most businesses provide their customers with a receipt any time a business transaction is conducted. The receipt usually includes information in relation to what was purchased by a customer, how much was paid for the item and/or service, and what payment method was used. Most times, receipts are also provided to customers when they make a return or exchange an item. To provide customers with receipts, most businesses will use some type of receipt printer to aid in the process. Receipt printers are available in different types, including thermal, ink-jet, impact, and dot-matrix.

Many businesses use thermal printers to complete their receipt printing tasks. These types of printers work in a very fast manner and are very easy to use. Instead of using ink or printing ribbons, thermal printers use thermal printing paper, which is chemically-treated and heated to perform printing activities. Due to the speed of a thermal receipt printer, many retail stores, especially supermarkets, use this type of printer. Unless the printer is very high-tech, however, the images on the receipts do not last for a long period of time, especially when exposed to long periods of sunlight.

Unlike thermal printers, inkjet receipt printers do utilize ink and printing ribbons to perform their printing tasks. These types of printers can print in many different colors, which easily allow retail stores to advertise their logo in bright colors. Many businesses do not opt for inkjet printers because they are slow at printing receipts and the ink cartridges have to be switched often. For those businesses that need receipts that last for a long period of time, inkjet printers are a wise pick.

Impact printers are very similar to inkjet printers, but they do not produce such high-quality and long-lasting images on receipts. An impact printer can be utilized with or without printing ribbons. When the printer is used without a printing ribbon, a special type of paper is used containing micro-capsules of ink which bust open upon impact, hence its name. Many businesses do not choose an impact printer because it is very noisy and not nearly as fast as the other types of receipt printers.

Many businesses that need copies of their receipts choose to use dot matrix receipt printers. These types of printers have the ability to print on more than one piece of receipt paper at the same time. Businesses that require carbon copies of receipts will usually utilize dot matrix receipt printers. Restaurants find them very advantageous because receipts of food orders are often needed in more than one location throughout the store, such as one in the kitchen and one at the point of sale.

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