TOP 15 Advantages and Disadvantages of Dot Matrix Printer

Last Updated on August 7, 2023 by Shahzad Arsi

The dot matrix printer, which is also referred to as an impact printer, brought about a significant transformation in the printing industry upon its initial release in the 1970s.

Unlike its counterparts, such as the laser printer, this type of printer uses a ribbon that strikes against the paper to create the desired printout.

It is crucial, though, to carefully analyze the benefits and drawbacks of this technology.
Although it has many advantages, there are certain disadvantages as well that should not be disregarded.

Table of Contents

What is Dot Matrix Printer?

A dot matrix printer is a type of printer that uses a print head containing a series of pins to strike against an ink-soaked ribbon, creating dots on the paper to form characters and images. It is known for its ability to produce carbon copies, as it can create pressure on multiple layers of paper simultaneously.

Although dot matrix printers are an old technology, they are still used in certain industries that require multiple copies or continuous forms. They are also known for being tough and able to live in hard places. However, their print quality is not as high as that of modern printers, as the dot matrix method creates characters and images using a series of dots.

They can also be prone to paper jams, requiring manual intervention to clear the jammed paper. Overall, dot matrix printers remain a reliable choice for specific applications. 

Working of Dot Matrix Printers?

Dot matrix printers work by striking a set of tiny pins against an ink ribbon to create a series of dots, which are then combined to form characters and images on paper. The pins are arranged in a grid pattern, and when a character or image needs to be printed, the appropriate pins are activated to strike the ink ribbon against the paper.

This impact creates a dot or a series of dots on the paper, and as the pins move across the page, the dots combine to form the desired text or image. Dot matrix printers are known for their durability and ability to print on multi-part forms, making them popular in businesses that require carbon copies or continuous printing.

However, their relatively slow printing speed and noisy operation have caused them to become less commonly used in modern environments. 

Who invented the dot matrix printer?

The dot matrix printer was invented by a team of engineers led by Dr. H. Gene Slottow at the University of Michigan in the early 1960s. This revolutionary technology provided a reliable and efficient way to print documents by using a series of small dots to form characters on paper. The dot matrix printer was a big step forward in the area of printing, and it has had a big effect on the modern world.

dot matrix printer advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of Dot Matrix Printer

1. Durability: Dot matrix printers are built to last, with sturdy mechanical components that can withstand heavy use.

2. Cost-effective: Dot matrix printers are typically more affordable than other types of printers, making them a cost-effective option for small businesses or individuals on a budget.

3. Versatility: Dot matrix printers can print on a variety of materials, including paper, envelopes, labels, and multi-part forms.

4. Carbon copy printing: Dot matrix printers can easily produce multiple copies of documents, making them ideal for creating invoices, receipts, or other forms that require multiple copies.

5. Impact printing: Dot matrix printers use a print head that strikes a ribbon against the paper, which results in clear and legible printing even on uneven or textured surfaces.

6. Wide-format printing: Some dot matrix printers are capable of printing in wide formats, allowing for the printing of large-scale documents or posters.

7. Long-lasting prints: Dot matrix printer output is designed to be permanent and resistant to fading, making it ideal for documents that need to be stored for an extended period of time.

8. Lower ink costs: Dot matrix printers use a ribbon that is more affordable than ink cartridges or toner cartridges, making ongoing printing costs lower.

9. No drying time: Unlike inkjet printers, dot matrix printers do not require any drying time, allowing for immediate handling of printed documents.

10. Reliable performance: Dot matrix printers have a reputation for being reliable and consistent, with fewer instances of printing errors or jams.

11. Noise level: While dot matrix printers can be loud during operation, some people find the sound reassuring and nostalgic.

12. Compatibility: Dot matrix printers can be easily connected to different devices, such as computers or point-of-sale systems, making them compatible with a variety of setups.

13. Lower power consumption: Dot matrix printers generally have lower power requirements compared to other printers, making them more energy efficient.

14. Easy maintenance: Dot matrix printers are relatively simple to maintain, with fewer components that require regular replacement or cleaning.

15. Support for older software: Dot matrix printers are compatible with older software programs that may not be compatible with newer printer technologies, allowing for continued use of legacy systems.  

Disadvantages of Dot Matrix Printer

 1. Poor print quality: Dot matrix printers may not deliver high-quality prints, especially when compared to modern inkjet or laser printers

2. Slow printing speed: These printers are generally slower compared to other printing technologies, as they print one dot at a time.

3. Noisy operation: Dot matrix printers produce a loud noise while printing, making them unsuitable for quiet environments.

4. Limited color options: Most dot matrix printers only print in black and white, with limited color options available.

5. Limited paper options: These printers often have limitations in terms of paper types and sizes that can be used.

6. Limited print resolution: Dot matrix printers have a lower resolution compared to inkjet or laser printers, resulting in less sharp and detailed prints.

7. Regular maintenance is required. Dot matrix printers require frequent cleaning and maintenance to ensure their proper functioning.

8. Consumes more power – These printers tend to consume more power compared to other printing technologies.

9. Limited connectivity options: Some dot matrix printers may have limited connectivity options, making it difficult to connect to modern devices.

10. Low print durability – Prints from dot matrix printers are more susceptible to fading and smudging over time compared to prints from other printers.

11. Ink ribbon replacements: These printers require regular ink ribbon replacements, adding to the printing cost and maintenance requirements.

12. Bulky size: Dot matrix printers are generally bulkier and take up more space compared to inkjet or laser printers.

13. Limited compatibility – Some dot matrix printers may not be compatible with newer operating systems or software applications.

14. Limited font options: These printers often have limited font options, limiting the formatting and customization possibilities of prints.

15. Less commonly used: With the advancement of inkjet and laser printing technologies, dot matrix printers are becoming less commonly used and may have limited availability for support and repairs.

Parts of computer monitor

Examples of Dot Matrix Printers 

  • 1. Epson LQ-590 Dot Matrix Printer
  • 2. OKI Microline 320 Turbo Dot Matrix Printer
  • 3. Lexmark Forms Printer 2580 Dot Matrix Printer
  • 4. Panasonic KX-P1150 Dot Matrix Printer
  • 5. IBM 4230-4S4 Dot Matrix Printer
  • 6. Brother P-Touch QL-500 Dot Matrix Label Printer
  • 7. Citizen iDP-3550 Dot Matrix Printer
  • 8. TallyGenicom 6312 Line Matrix Printer
  • 9. Star Micronics SP500 Dot Matrix Receipt Printer
  • 10. Bixolon SRP-275 Dot Matrix Printer 

Uses of Dot Matrix Printers

Dot matrix printers are commonly used for various purposes due to their unique features and capabilities. Here is a numbered list of some of the most common uses of these printers

1. Printing invoices and receipts:

Dot matrix printers are widely used in the retail and banking sectors to print invoices and receipts. The quick, durable, and cost-effective printing method makes them ideal for producing multiple copies of transaction records.

2. Creating labels and barcodes:

Dot matrix printers are ideal for printing labels and barcodes due to their ability to produce clear and sharp images. They are commonly used in the logistics and warehousing industries to label products and track inventory.

3. Generating carbon copies:

These printers are often used in offices where multiple copies of documents are required. Dot matrix printers can create carbon copies of documents, making them convenient for record-keeping and documentation purposes. 

4. Printing multipart forms:

Dot matrix printers can handle multipart forms, making them suitable for applications such as order forms, delivery receipts, and contracts. The ability to print on multiple layers simultaneously saves time and enhances efficiency. 

5. Impact printing:

Dot matrix printers use impact technology, allowing them to print on various types of paper, including continuous stationery, envelopes, and preprinted forms. Because of this, they can be used in many different ways in fields like banking, healthcare, and utility businesses.

Dot matrix printers are used in many different fields because they can make multiple copies, print on different types of paper, and make pictures that are clear and sharp. Because of how long they last, how cheap they are, and how many things they can be used for, they are a good choice for many printing needs.

What are the components of a dot matrix printer?

A dot matrix printer is a type of impact printer that uses a print head with multiple pins to strike against an ink-soaked ribbon, transferring ink onto the paper to create a printout. The main components of a dot matrix printer include:

1. Print Head

The print head is a key component of a dot matrix printer. It consists of a series of pins that can move back and forth, striking against the ink ribbon to create characters on the paper.

2. Ink Ribbon

The ink ribbon is a crucial part of a dot matrix printer as it holds the ink used for printing. The print head strikes against the ink-soaked ribbon to transfer ink onto the paper.

3. Paper Feed Mechanism

A dot matrix printer has a paper feed mechanism that ensures the paper is properly fed through the printer. It normally has paper trays, rollers, and guides that move the paper through the printing process.

4. Platen

The platen is a rubber wheel in the shape of a cylinder that holds and moves the paper as it goes through the printer. It allows the print head to strike against the paper with precision.

5. Control Panel

The control panel is the user interface of the dot matrix printer. It usually has buttons, LED lights, and switches to control things like paper size, print quality, and how far apart characters are.

6. Carriage

The carriage is the mechanism that holds the print head and moves it back and forth across the paper. It ensures that the print head strikes the correct positions on the paper to form characters.

7. Motor

A motor is responsible for powering the movement of the carriage and paper feed mechanism. It provides the necessary kinetic energy to drive these components.

8. Tractor Feed

Some dot matrix printers incorporate a tractor feed mechanism, where sprocket tractors are used to pull continuous paper through the printer. This ensures precise alignment of the paper during printing.

9. Control Circuitry

The control circuitry is the electronic component that controls the various functions of the dot matrix printer. It interprets the print commands from the computer and coordinates the movement of the print head, paper feed mechanism, and other components.

10. Power Supply

The power supply provides the necessary electricity to operate the dot matrix printer. It converts the mains power into the appropriate voltage and current required by the printer’s components.

Dot Matrix Printer Input or Output Device

So, you know those old-school printers that make all those strange noises? Yeah, that’s the dot matrix printer. It’s like the typewriter on steroids. This bad boy is an output device that uses tiny pins to create text and images on paper. It’s not the prettiest printer in terms of look, but it gets the job done. And let’s be real, the sound it makes is kind of nostalgic in a weird way.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Dot Matrix Printers Advantages and Disadvantages


So, you know those printers that don’t make any noise when they’re printing? Yeah, those are called non-impact printers. They use some fancy technology to get those words on the paper without banging it with hammers like old-school printers used to do. Pretty cool, huh? 


While dot-matrix printers may be considered old technology, there are still some practical reasons to use them. These printers can create carbon copies and print on multipart forms, making them useful for certain businesses or industries. Additionally, dot-matrix printers tend to be more reliable than inkjet printers, especially in harsh or dusty environments.


Dot matrix printers typically use a ribbon with ink to print. The color of the printed output depends on the color of the ink ribbon being used. Common colors include black, blue, and red, although various other colors may be available depending on the printer model and the availability of different ink ribbons.


Some of the most popular ones are inkjet printers, laser printers, thermal printers, and 3D printers. Each type has its own distinct features and functionality. Inkjet printers are suitable for producing detailed color prints, while laser printers are faster and more efficient for high-volume printing. Thermal printers are commonly used for printing receipts and labels, whereas 3D printers are used for creating three-dimensional objects. 


Yes, dot matrix printers can print images. However, the quality of the image will not be as high as that of inkjet or laser printers. Dot matrix printers use a series of dots to create images, and the resolution is relatively low. They are more suitable for printing basic line drawings or simple graphics than detailed images or photographs.


Some common types include impact printers, thermal printers, and high-speed line printers. Impact printers use a print head to strike the ink ribbon and create an image. Thermal printers use heat to generate text and images, while high-speed line printers are capable of printing multiple lines simultaneously, making them suitable for high-volume printing tasks.


A dot matrix printer can be maintained by regularly cleaning the printhead with a soft cloth or alcohol wipe to remove any dust or debris. It is important to also replace the ink ribbon and ensure the paper is properly aligned. Additionally, adjusting the print head gap and lubricating any moving parts can help extend the lifespan of the printer. 


Dot matrix printers have both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, they are durable and reliable and can create carbon copies of documents. On the other hand, they are noisy and produce lower-quality prints compared to inkjet or laser printers.


A dot matrix printer is a type of printer device based on impact. It uses a print head that moves back and forth, striking an ink-soaked cloth ribbon against a single sheet of paper to create printed text or images.


No, dot matrix printers are not considered non-impact printers. They are classified as impact printers because they create prints by physically striking the paper with a print head.


They have lower print quality compared to inkjet or laser printers. They are also slower and noisier. Additionally, they can only print in monochrome and may have limited compatibility with modern computer systems.


They are relatively inexpensive compared to other types of printers, thus making it more cost-effective if you need to print a large number of documents. They are also commonly used in environments where multiple copies or carbon copies of printed documents are required, such as in billing systems.


Yes, dot matrix printers can make carbon copies of documents. They use an ink-soaked cloth ribbon to strike the paper, which allows the impact to transfer ink onto multiple layers, creating duplicates or carbon copies of the original document.


Dot matrix printers work by using a print head that moves back and forth across the paper. The print head contains a series of tiny pins that strike an ink-soaked cloth ribbon against the paper, creating a pattern of dots. These dots form the characters and images on the printed page.


They are slower compared to modern printers, and the print quality is not as high. The noise produced by dot matrix printers can also be a nuisance in quiet environments. Additionally, they are typically larger and bulkier in size compared to inkjet or laser printers.


Yes, dot matrix printers are still available on the market. However, they are less known when you compare them with inkjet or laser printers, as they are more popular due to their higher print quality and faster printing speeds


The cost per page for using dot matrix printers is generally lower compared to inkjet or laser printers. This makes them a cost-effective option for businesses or individuals who want to print large numbers of documents.


When choosing between a dot matrix and a laser printer, it is important to consider your specific needs. Dot matrix printers are reliable for forms and multipart printing, but produce low-quality results. Laser printers, on the other hand, are more costly but offer clearer and more professional-looking prints. Consider your budget and printing requirements before making a decision. 

Summary and Takeaways: Pros and Cons of Dot Matrix Printers

One of the main pros of a dot matrix printer is its ability to produce carbon copies. This makes it an ideal choice for businesses that require duplicates of their documents. Additionally, the ink used in dot matrix printers is less expensive compared to other types of printers, making it a cost-effective option for those who print large documents.

However, the print quality of dot matrix printers is often not as crisp and clear as that of laser printers. This is because the characters are formed by a daisy wheel or pin striking against an ink ribbon, which can result in a slightly blurry printout. Furthermore, these printers are prone to jams, and the ink-soaked ribbons can be messy to replace.

In conclusion, while dot matrix printers have their merits, such as the ability to create carbon copies and cost-effectiveness, their drawbacks in terms of print quality and maintenance must also be taken into account.

Hey guys, Shahzad Arsi man behind Circular Guru. I am a digital marketer with hands-on experience in Blogging, Seo, and Facebook marketing. Here you will get all the necessary information about Asu's laptop motherboard with easy fixes and how-to guide.