Dot-matrix printers use very small pins that rapidly impact against a ribbon, to transfer an image to the receipt paper. These printers are reliable and generally lower in price than thermal receipt printers, but are typically louder and require a ribbon to operate. Dot-matrix receipts are more resistant to the elements, making these great for areas where temperature and humidity can make thermal receipts hard to read.
Thermal receipt printers provide you with near silent, remarkably fast printing. These printers use specially treated heat-sensitive paper and do not use a ribbon, cutting down on the supplies you need to print. Thermal receipt printers are ideal for retail and restaurant environments.