Impact Vs Non Impact Printers | 11 Surprising Differences You Should Know

Differentiating impact and non-impact printers are tricky since the differentiating points are more mechanical. The core difference is that the impact printers involve the movement of the mechanical components to print while the non-impact printers do need the movement of mechanical components.

There are a few more differences and we will guide you step by step.

Differences between Impact & Non-impact printers

These are the key differences between the impact and non-impact printers. The differentiating parameters are how they operate and what functions involves within the process of printing.

Impact Vs Non Impact Printers

Factors Impact Printers Non-Impact Printers
Mechanical Involvement Involves mechanical moving components to print No Mechanical movement for ptinting
Printing Style Produce characters through striking Doesn't need to strike
Print Speed Printing speed is low Print speed is high
Noise Level High Noise low Noise, or even works silently
Affordability Less costs Costs higher
Ability to print Photograph Cannot print photograph Can print color photograph
Technology Outdated printing technology Advanced printing mechanism
Source of ink Inked ribbons Cartridge & toner
Styling Freedom Character styling cannot be changed No limit, Can print any style
Paper Feeding Pattern Continuous paper sheet Individual Paper sheet
Paper Tray No Paper Tray Paper trays Available

Impact Printer

An impact printer uses mechanical movement to press the ink ribbon on the paper and visualize the character. Usually, these printers are aged and are not much productive as non-impact printers. There are four types of impact printers those are Dot matrix, daisy wheel, line printer, and drum printers. We will discuss them one by one.

Explore more about digital access badge printers here.

Impact Printer Types Infographic

Dot matrix printer

A dot matrix printer has a limited number of pins connected to the same quantity of characters. It operates by striking the pins over the paper to visualize the picture of letters or numbers. In the early 1970s, dot matrix printers were popular for personal use but slowly they faced a downward slopping trend.

Among the competitors, Centronics 101 and IBM 5103 was the most applauded dot matrix printer. However, such printers were efficient during that time. For example, Centronics 101 could print at a speed of 165 characters per second and 6 lines per inch. Apart from a heavy weight of around 155 pounds, the printer could handle the thickness of the original plus four copies.

Daisy Wheel Printer

Daisy wheel printers are even older than the dot matrix types. It used metal or plastic disks that had letters, numbers, and characters. While printing, the disk is used to rotate and place the pin over the inked ribbon to print. Daisy wheel printers are not in use at today’s date.

Line Printer

The specialty of a line printer is that it could print one line at a time so there was a need to feed additional papers continuously. Even they could print at a speed of 600 lines per minute. The line printing technology is partially used by many advanced printers no days with higher capacity.

Drum Printer

A drum printer is used to place characters inside a drum that rotated continuously based on the requirement of characters. A printing hammer behind the paper helped visualize the letters with a rotating drum. It was an advanced technology of impact printers earlier.

Non-Impact Printer

Non-impact printers do have mechanical parts but are not in need of any mechanical movement to print. Usually, non-impact printers spray ink on the paper to make any prints. Examples of non-impact printers are Inkjet, Thermal, Laser, and Electro static printers.

Non Impact Printer Types

Inkjet Printer

Inkjet is a non-impact printer that propels color droplets into the paper to make the image. These printers are most commonly used for personal or occasional purposes.  Regardless of having more advantages, the color of inkjet printers is more expensive. Here are the top inkjet printers for occasional use.

Thermal Printer

Thermal printers use heat to visualize the prints. Due to their quality, durability, and mobility, thermal printers are widely used by banks, retailers, and any other sales point. For example, the receipt comes after swiping our credit cards from thermal printers.

There are some advantages of having a thermal printer which is: easier to carry, doesn’t need direct power, thermal papers are cost efficient and the price of a thermal printer is lower. However, there are some negative sides as well. For instance, the copy made by a thermal printer may fade away after a few months.

Laser Electromagnetic Printer

Laser electromagnetic printers use electromagnetic induction and toner to print characters. They are costly and produce insanely high speed. Usually, such printers are bought by large offices or banks.

Electro Static Printer

Electrostatic printers also known as large printers can print from any storing device. It has its own computer built to process documents. It also uses an electric charge to deposit ink from the toner. Such printers would require paper with a soft coat of zinc oxide. A perfect example of electro-static print is a large print of a world map.

Electrostatic printers can also print small papers such as photocopying or printing books. The cost per page comes to a lower point upon printing a minimum quantity. These are not suitable for personal use since they require start-up time to warm up.

The main difference between an electrostatic & electromagnetic force is that – an electrostatic force works between an electric charge which may not move relative to each other.

On the contrary, an electromagnetic force refers to the interaction at a fundamental level that exchanges photons. However, the electromagnetic force also include electrostatic charge. Source: Slideshare

Ethan Robert
Ethan Robert

Hi, I'm Ethan.

After graduating from the University of North Dakota, I started knowing the CNC and that becomes my passion.

Earlier, I had fascination of 3d printers, Laser cutters and other CNC machines. Later on, I started analyzing those machine and started blogging on my known things by a different way.

I aim to assist you with the insights of 3d printer, laser engravers and computer printers with the help that you save your money and take the right decision before you purchase any machine.

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