POS World offers a wide range of receipt printers. Below are frequently asked questions to help determine the best printer for your business:
Most Common Reasons to Purchase a Receipt Printer?
Size / Form-Factor – A receipt printer has a smaller form factor so that it can fit easily on a desk or counter top vs. larger bulkier printers. The printer also prints a much more compact size receipt (usually about 3” in width) in comparison to a full size 8 x 11 inch printer.
Transaction Copies – A business may want to print a physical copy of a transaction for their customer as well as for accounting purposes.
Cost – Cost for receipt printers, thermal and dot-matrix, are typically far less than larger 8 x 11 inch desktop printers. Receipt printers are built for larger volume printing than a typical desktop printer from an electronics store.
Promotional Content – Increase return buyers with coupons and other promotional items printed on the receipt.
Store Information – Have a copy of the store’s contact information and return policies.
What Types of Applications Are Receipt Printers Used?
Dry Cleaning – Dry cleaners will often use dot-matrix receipt printers with a special form of “indelible” ink, which is less susceptible to moisture, on their dry cleaning tags.
Retail – to help speed up transactions and decrease wait times retailers use thermal receipt printers for the fastest printing solution.
Front of House – restaurants typically use thermal printers which print faster and make less noise than their dot-matrix counterparts.
Kitchen – dot matrix printers are better suited than thermal printers in restaurant kitchens due to the higher humidity and temperature.
Kiosks / Gaming – receipt printers can be form-fitted into kiosk enclosures for automated printing of receipts and gaming tickets.
Types of Printers
Dot-Matrix (also known as “impact”) printers use a traditional ink ribbon and standard receipt paper. They have a piece called a “Print Head” that slides back and forth, hitting the ribbon against the paper like a typewriter.
Receipts last longer, good for archiving receipts or documents
Works in hot environments, such as kitchens or outdoors
Ink ribbons must be replaced when they run dry
Multiple moving parts means greater wear and tear over time
Thermal printers rely on heat to print, rather than using an ink ribbon. These use a special, chemically-treated paper that turns black when it is heated. The printer has a thin heating element that heats up the paper to produce the image.
Less moving parts vs. a dot-matrix printer meaning increased reliability
No ink ribbon to replace
Not good for hot environments, as receipts can turn all black
Cost of paper is increased vs. a dot-matrix printer
Inkjet printers use liquid ink cartridges to spray ink on the paper. Some inkjet printers can use more than one color, allowing for highlights or some slight shading of graphics or logos. Inkjet printers use standard dot-matrix paper. Inkjet printers are mostly used in banking environments, rather than at a cash register.
Ink cartridges are easy to swap out, compared to ribbons
Slightly less moving parts when compared to a dot-matrix (inkjet printers do not have impact print heads)
Ink can be expensive to replace
Logos or other ink-heavy print jobs often feel “wet” immediately after printing
Other Purchasing Considerations for Receipt Printers?
Will a cash drawer be used with the printer?
The most common combination of POS hardware is a receipt printer and cash drawer. Cash drawers in this combination are often called "printer driven drawers". Most printers have a little jack on the backside called a drawer kick port where a cash drawer drawer can plug in. The printer then “jolts” the drawer and pops it open when appropriate. Each printer brand has different wiring in the cash-drawer jack, requiring that a brand-compatible drawer cable be used; Epson printers require Epson-compatible drawer cables, for example.
Do you need a printer that supports multiple emulations?
Some printers can use several different manufacturers' programming commands. In order to use the different commands, the printer must be set to emulate (act like) the other brand's printer. For example, a Star printer can use Epson commands by emulating the equivalent Epson model
Epson TM-T88V– Epson's most popular and most common thermal receipt printer. Features include a standard cash-drawer jack, built-in auto-cutter and USB port, your choice of connection types to the computer, included drivers disc, and a four-year manufacturer's warranty.
Epson TM-U220 – Epson's most popular dot-matrix receipt printer. Standard features include two-color printing (usually black/red), standard cash-drawer jack, your choice of connection types, and a two-year manufacturer's warranty. Model options are: [TM-U220D] base model, [TM-U220B] auto-cutter
Star TSP100II – Star's “green” printer. One of the cheaper thermal printers Star offers, considered an “economy” model. Features include a standard cash-drawer jack, built-in auto-cutter, USB connection, included drivers disc, Epson/Star-compatible emulations, and four-year manufacturer's warranty.
Star SP500 and SP700 – The SP500 single-color and SP700 two-color printers are Star's current dot-matrix printer offerings. Standard features include a cash-drawer jack, your choice of connection types, Epson/Star-compatible emulations, and three-year manufacturer's warranties. Model options are: [SP512] base model, [SP542] auto-cutter, [SP712] base model, [SP742] auto-cutter
Citizen CT-S310II – Citizen's “economy” thermal printer. Features include an Epson-compatible cash-drawer jack, built-in auto-cutter, dual USB/serial connections, included drivers disc, Epson/Citizen-compatible emulations, and three-year manufacturer's warranty.
Citizen IDP-3550 – Citizen's older model of dot-matrix printer. Features include two-color printing, an Epson-compatible cash-drawer port, choice of serial or parallel connections, Epson/Star/Citizen-compatible emulations, and 3-year manufacturer's warranty. Model options are:  base model,  auto-cutter.
Ithaca Transact iTherm 280 – Ithaca's most popular thermal printer. Features include Ithaca-compatible or Epson-compatible cash-drawer jack, built-in auto-cutter, choice of connection types, Epson/Star/Ithaca-compatible emulations, and 2-year manufacturer's warranty.
Ithaca Transact 150-series – Ithaca's venerable dot-matrix printer. Four models are available in the series. Standard features include one-color printing, two Ithaca-compatible or Epson-compatible cash-drawer jacks, choice of serial or parallel connections, Epson/Ithaca-compatible emulations, and a 2-year manufacturer's warranty. Model options are:  standard printer,  journal-uptake for 2-ply paper,  journal plus 15-line validation printing, or  15-line validation printing.
Bixolon SRP-350 series – Bixolon's current thermal printer series. Several different models, styles, and updates available. Features include an Epson-compatible cash-drawer jack, built-in auto-cutter, choice of connection types, and Epson-compatible emulation.
Bixolon SRP-275II – Bixolon's dot-matrix receipt printer. Features include Epson-compatible cash-drawer jack, choice of connection types, Epson-compatible emulation, and 3-year manufacturer's warranty. Model options are: [SRP-275IIA] base model, [SRP-275IIC] auto-cutter.