There are only two choices in the POS printer technology: Dot-Matrix and Thermal.
Thermal Printers are almost always the preferred choice for most of the busy retail outlets
Thermal POS printers use a technology which uses a hot printing head to burn the paper with. Special thermal paper is used for the purpose so that the burning has clear edges and high-resolution impressions are made.
Advantages of Thermal Technology:
Speed – Printing speed is faster in thermal technology than even in laser printing
Quiet Printing – Makes less sound while printing and is quieter compared to laser printing
High Resolution – Really high resolution makes for clarity
Cost Saving – No need to buy toner, ribbon or ink. Only required supply is paper.
Averse To High Temperatures – Thermal paper is very delicate and reacts to heat. This is required for the hot printing head technique to work. But, an increase of heat and temperature in the environment can turn the paper black. This could mean that your receipts may not be readable.
Colour Limitation – Printing available in black colour only
Cost of Paper – This requires thermal paper which is priced higher than the usual paper.
Dot-Matrix printers of POS receipt, print by a needle striking an ink-ribbon on the paper. These printers are the preferred printers for POS in a high heat environment or if multiple copies are needed with every printout.
Advantages of Dot-Matrix Technology:
All-Weather Set Up – Temperatures, hot or cold, are not a problem for this technology
Affordable – Ink-Ribbons are not very expensive as the paper is plain
Copies – Prints on two-ply paper, this makes it easy if you need two copies of every printout
Colour Options – Two-colour options are available in dot matrix
Slow– It is slower printing than more advanced and latest technologies.
Loud – This technology is noisier while printing.
Low Resolution – Lower resolution impacts the clarity of the receipt.
More Supplies– The ink-ribbon has to be replaced when printing colour fades or it runs out.
It is also a fairly common situation in the POS industry, where both technologies are used. For example, in the restaurant business, the front POS System often has a thermal POS printer for quiet, fast and high-resolution printing of receipt, whereas in the kitchen, there is a dot-matrix printer, that is capable of handling the humidity, heat and print readable receipts even in this tough environment.
Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of these technologies of printing, which dominate the POS sector, will help one determine the right receipt printer to choose according to the needs of the retailer.