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best dot matrix printers

The Best Dot Matrix Printers in 2021

Author: Robert Wilson

Electronics & Peripherals Expert

Welcome to our big dot matrix printer test. Here we present you all dot matrix printers that we have tested. We have put together detailed background information for you.

We want to make the purchase decision easier for you and help you to find the best dot matrix printer for you.

You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. You will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a dot matrix printer.

  • With a dot matrix printer you have the option of producing any number of copies (carbon copies) in addition to your original.
  • Typical printheads contain nine or 24 pins. Depending on the type and model, the printers differ in their functionality.
  • 9 pin dot matrix printers generally have a higher penetration power. 24 pin dot matrix printers, on the other hand, produce a faster and nicer print image.

Best Dot Matrix Printers

Oki MICROLINE 320 Turbo Mono Dot Matrix Printer

Oki MICROLINE 320 Turbo Mono Dot Matrix Printer
310 Reviews
Oki MICROLINE 320 Turbo Mono Dot Matrix Printer
  • OKI MICROLINE 320 Turbo Mono Dot Matrix Printer (9 Pin) (435…
  • OKI MICROLINE 320 Turbo Mono Dot Matrix Printer (9 Pin) (435…
  • Matrix

Epson C11CC24001 Dot Matrix Printer

 Our Pick
Epson C11CC24001 Dot Matrix Printer
120 Reviews
Epson C11CC24001 Dot Matrix Printer
  • The Workforce WF-2650 is a fast compact all-in-one printer…
  • Epson LX-350 Dot Matrix Printer (9-pin) (347 cps) (Parallel)…
  • Matrix

OKI 62411701 Microline 321 Turbo Dot Matrix Impact Printer

 Our Pick
OKI 62411701 Microline 321 Turbo Dot Matrix Impact Printer
22 Reviews


21 Reviews
  • OKI MICROLINE 490 Dot Matrix Printer (24-pin) (475 cps) (128…
  • OKI MICROLINE 490 Dot Matrix Printer (24-pin) (475 cps) (128…
  • Matrix

Oki MICROLINE 186 Dot Matrix Printer (62422401)

 Our Pick
Oki MICROLINE 186 Dot Matrix Printer (62422401)
5 Reviews
Oki MICROLINE 186 Dot Matrix Printer (62422401)
  • OKI MICROLINE 186 Dot Matrix Printer (9-pin) (375 cps) (128…
  • OKI MICROLINE 186 Dot Matrix Printer (9-pin) (375 cps) (128…
  • Matrix

Frequently Asked Questions: Dot Matrix Printer

What are the advantages of a dot matrix printer over laser printers and inkjet printers?

Not so long ago, the ultimate among printer devices was the dot matrix printer. Although this is now being pushed out of the market by newer devices such as laser and inkjet printers, the advantages of such a printer remain unsurpassed.

A classic example of this is the printing of sick notes at the doctor’s: A pre-made form is printed with the needle technology, a copy for the health insurance is created with the carbon copy. Such a print is document-proof and cannot be damaged by moisture, which is why this printing technique is also often used in the checkout area.

The areas of application are diverse: from medical practices to tickets and delivery notes. Due to their high resilience and service life, dot matrix printers are also used in dusty areas that are exposed to temperature fluctuations, such as on construction sites or in factories.

Furthermore, the use of a ribbon means that dot matrix printing is much cheaper and more environmentally friendly than other printing processes.

Dot matrix printers generate copies and thus ensure the authenticity of the documents. In addition, dot matrix printers are much more environmentally friendly than other printers.

Who should get a dot matrix printer?

Purchasing such a printer is particularly worthwhile in a commercial and industrial environment. Due to the robust technology, such devices are very insensitive to environmental influences such as extreme temperatures.

Specific areas of application for carbon printing are doctors’ offices, banks, airports, parking machines, ticket validators, receipts, invoices, delivery notes, archiving and logs using continuous paper.

How does a dot matrix printer work?

Like the laser printer and the inkjet printer, the dot matrix printer belongs to the matrix printer family. The pins are located in the print head of the needle printer, the number of which may vary depending on the model. The pins can be controlled individually by the printer.

When printing, the pins hit the ribbon. The paper that is to be printed is located under the ribbon. A needle hit leaves a small point on the paper. The printing process is now repeated until the result to be achieved is achieved.

The following applies: the more pins, the finer the typeface. But: the more pins, the less penetrative power. Small electromagnets press the individual pins in the direction of the printing belt. There are two different methods: the hinged anchor method and the stored energy principle.

In the first method, a magnetic field is built up by energizing a coil. This attracts one side of the pivoted hinged armature. As a result, the other side of the hinged armature hits the needle, which is pressed against the paper.

A spring tensioned as a result now pulls the needle back into its starting position. When the current is switched off, the magnetic field stops and the hinged armature returns to its original position. This procedure is much louder compared to the second.

The stored energy principle works with the spring. The spring is kept under tension by a permanent magnet. Once again, a current pulse through the coil ensures that a magnetic field is built up. The magnetic field of the permanent magnets is compensated due to the opposite polarity, which means that there is no longer any magnetic force acting on the spring for a short time.

Now the needle presses against the ribbon and is immediately withdrawn as soon as the magnetic field becomes active again. With this principle, you can work much more energy-efficiently. In addition, a higher speed is achieved than with the hinged anchor method.

Types of Dot Matrix Printer

Basically, dot matrix printers differ in the number of pins in the printhead. The usual variants are:

  • 9 Pin
  • 18 Pin
  • 24 Pin
  • 28 Pin
  • 48 Pin

The number of pins determines the quality and the speed. Which type of dot matrix printer is right for you depends very much on the area of application. Depending on whether you value a beautiful typeface or simply want to quickly print a large number of copies, a different number of pins is possible for you.

In the following section we would like to help you find out which type of dot matrix printer is best for you. We will introduce you to the above variants with their individual advantages and disadvantages.

General Advantages & Disadvantages of Dot Matrix Printers

The main advantages of dot matrix printing are the environmental friendliness and the cost-effective printing of around 0.05 to 0.08 cents per black and white page and 0.35 to 0.75 cents per color page.

A dot matrix printer is very robust. It is therefore often used in the industrial sector, as there are hardly any maintenance costs. In addition, a dot matrix printer produces copies, continuous paper can be used, and document authenticity according to ISO 12757-2 is given.


  • Carbon copies
  • Low printing costs
  • Document-proof
  • robustness
  • environmental friendliness


  • High noise level
  • High acquisition costs
  • Slow pressure
  • Only conditionally suitable for graphics

One disadvantage is the noise generated during printing. In addition, such a device is more expensive to purchase compared to other printers and the printing speed is quite slow compared to other devices. Needle printers allow graphic printing, but are rather unsuitable for this.

9 Pin Dot Matrix Printer: Advantages & Disadvantages

The particular advantage of a dot matrix printer with nine pins is its high penetration power. A 9-pin printer can handle multiple copies without any problems. Thereby it delivers a fast and high number of copies. It is one of the fastest dot matrix printers, but it also has the most unclean typeface. Draft quality is used for printing, a fast, low-quality print.


  • Fast draft printing
  • High impact


  • Poor print quality
  • Slowly with NLQ pressure

Most dot matrix printers with nine pins also have a so-called NLQ mode (near letter quality). In this mode, a higher print quality is achieved, but at the expense of the print speed. The print head moves at half speed and a line is passed through twice.

Such a device can not only print texts, but also tables or graphics in sufficient quality. The 9-pin printer are among the cheapest devices on the market.

9 pin dot matrix printers print slowly but have a high penetration power.

18 Pin Dot Matrix Printer: Advantages & Disadvantages

A printer with 18 pins will achieve higher speeds. In principle, the 18 pin printer works like the variant with nine pins. The difference is that the printhead is equipped with two rows of pins, either offset or parallel, with nine pins each.

In the case of devices with staggered rows of pins, the imprints of the pins overlap. This increases the speed in NLQ mode up to four times that of a printhead with nine pins. Overall, however, the number of possible punctures is reduced due to the higher number of pins.


  • Double / quadruple speed in NLQ quality
  • Twice as fast thanks to parallel rows of pins (draft quality)


  • Small number of copies possible

In applications where a lot of forms are filled out, speed is more important than quality. 18 pin printers with two parallel rows of pins can print twice as much in draft quality in the same time as 9 pin printers. In NLQ quality, however, this variant only prints twice as fast.

24 Pin Dot Matrix Printer: Advantages & Disadvantages

A needle printer with 24 pins impresses with its high resolution and high printing speed. The print head consists of two slightly offset rows with 12 pins each. This also means that the second printing pass and the reduced speed in NLQ printing are not required.

The individual pins are narrower in diameter, which enables a significantly better print quality for a lower number of copies. The quality level is no longer called NLQ, but LQ script (“letter quality”).


  • High print quality
  • Very quick print


  • Small number of copies possible

Some 24 pin printers are able to print in SLQ (super letter quality). Here the entire print image looks much more precise and beautiful and individual steps can hardly be seen in the print result.

24 pin dot matrix printers print faster and more beautifully. However, the general penetration is lower.

28 Pin Dot Matrix Printer: Advantages & Disadvantages

The 28 pin printer offers all the advantages of the 18 pin printer with parallel and offset rows of pins.


  • Four times the speed in NLQ quality
  • Twice the speed in draft quality


  • Small number of copies possible

The print head of the 28-pin printer consists of three rows with nine pins, one of which is offset. It combines the advantages of the 18-needle printer: Either two parallel rows with a high draft quality or two offset rows with a high NLQ quality can be printed. The penetration power is as high as with the 18-needle devices.

48 Pin Dot Matrix Printer: Advantages & Disadvantages

In this needle printer variant, the needle diameter has been reduced again. Top letter quality is achieved when printing. The generated resolution, which is 360 x 360 dpi, is higher than that of a laser printer, which can deliver a resolution of 300 x 300 dpi. In practice, however, the quality of the laser printer wins because the laser beam is much thinner and more precise than the needle.


  • Very high print quality
  • The fastest print


  • Lowest number of copies

There is no difference in the quality of the printout when compared to a 24-pin printer. The 48 pin dot matrix printer works faster, however, because it achieves the same quality with one line pass as the 24 pin dot matrix printer with two passes.

Dot Matrix Printer: Purchase Criteria

In the following we would like to show you the factors you can use to compare and evaluate dot matrix printers. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular device is right for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Number of pins
  • Print quality
  • Penetrating power
  • Print speed
  • Size
  • Interfaces
  • Noise
  • Power consumption
  • Lifespan

In the following paragraphs you can read about what the individual purchase criteria are and how you can classify them.

Number of pins

Most dot matrix printers have nine, 18 or 24 pins in the printhead. The type of print differs depending on the number. Essentially, a dot matrix printer with many pins, such as 24 pins, prints faster and of higher quality. A dot matrix printer with comparatively fewer pins, i.e. a dot matrix printer with nine pieces, is cheaper on average and achieves a higher penetration power.

But every printer has its own advantages and disadvantages. In the following three points, the individual printer types are compared with regard to the criteria of print quality, penetration and speed.

Print quality

The final result of the printout is significantly influenced by the resolution of the printer. So you should first ask yourself how high the quality of the printout should be in the end. If you attach great importance to a fine, neat font, then the resolution should be 360 x 360 dpi. Dpi stands for the point density (dots per inch): the higher this is, the more detailed the printouts are.

If you want to print beautiful fonts and graphics, the resolution should be as high as possible. A needle head with many thin pins is recommended for this. A 24-pin printer with letter quality is ideal for this purpose.

If the print quality is not the top priority, the other printer variants can of course also be used. Most 9-pin printers print in near letter quality and have a resolution of around 240 x 144 dpi.

Penetrating power

The main advantage of a dot matrix printer is the ability to print carbon copies. Our product lists only show the number of copies, the original print is not taken into account here. This is where you should ask yourself how many copies do you need? Depending on the model, you can usually create three to five copies in one pass in addition to the original.

Typically, fewer pins hit the ribbon harder, which means more copies can be made. If you want to have a high number of copies, the 9-pin printer variant is recommended. This copes with multiple copies without any problems. When buying, look out for printers with a higher number of pins. Depending on the model, many copies can also be made here.

Print speed

The printing speed differs depending on the model, the main difference being the number of pins. A needle printer with 24 pins generally prints faster than a printer with nine pins. Here, of course, it depends on the intended use.

If you print very often and a lot, it is advisable to use a 24-pin printer. The two slightly offset rows in the print head, each with 12 pins, mean that there is no need for a second print run, which is necessary for 9 pin printers, for example.

Did you know that there are also fast dot matrix printers?

High-performance dot-matrix printers can print up to 1,550 characters per second. That’s about 46.5 pages per minute when 2,000 characters are about one page.

In our product list, the speed is given in characters per second. But of course the printing speed also depends on the file size and the type of document to be printed. While 9 pin printers achieve an average speed of around 300 characters per second, 24 pin printers achieve a speed of 500 to 550 characters per second.


Of course, you shouldn’t forget that your dot matrix printer also needs enough space. As a rule, the new devices are much more space-saving than their ancestors. Old or more professional devices, on the other hand, are much larger.

When buying, also pay attention to the item dimensions. Make sure you think about where the device will be located beforehand, as the printer noise causes a lot of noise. It is therefore advisable to keep dot matrix printers in a cupboard. In the 1980s, special soundproof cabinets were even developed, some of which are still in use.


Many old devices can be connected to a computer system via the parallel interface defined by the IEEE 1284 standard with a data rate of up to 2 MB / s. Another outdated technology for data transmission is the serial interface. With this variant, data is transmitted one after the other at a relatively slow speed.

In the meantime, only a USB port is actually required, which is included in the scope of delivery of most devices. Here, however, you should make sure that your USB port supports the USB 2.0 standard.

If you prefer to connect your printer to a network, you should make sure that it also has a LAN connection. Some manufacturers also offer optional inputs for their printers, such as for a network card.


Dot matrix printers are generally very noisy. The operating noise can be very annoying during a long print job. The 9-pin printers are loudest due to their high penetration power. The pins from the print head hit the ribbon, creating the noise level.

The problem of high noise pollution has existed since the invention of this printing technique. Today’s dot matrix printers are already much quieter than their predecessors. However, so-called soundproof cabinets or a special noise-protection housing for the dot matrix printer can help.

Power consumption

Printers do not belong to the big power guzzlers in the household, but in order to save costs and energy, attention should be paid to the performance of the printer. If you often print documents and the printer is used for a long time, you should choose a device with a low power and thus a low wattage for the sake of the environment.

Unlike printers with a toner, dot matrix printers do not have to heat up. This saves you a lot of electricity. Even in stand-by mode, they do not have to maintain a minimum temperature.

Not only do they consume less electricity, they are also more environmentally friendly. After all, they also generate less waste because all components apart from the ribbon last the life of the printer.

This is not only sustainable, but also saves your wallet the next time you bill for electricity. There are also many models that have been awarded the “Blue Angel” quality seal.


Dot matrix printers are reliable, sturdy and solid devices. For these reasons, too, they are often used in dusty factories or on construction sites.

Like power consumption, the life of your printer is a critical cost factor. Consumable parts include the print head and ribbon. The printhead wears out over time and the ribbon, just like the ink in classic inkjet printers or the toner in laser printers, has to be replaced.

Did you know that printouts from a dot matrix printer can be read for decades?

Similar to a typewriter, the printouts have a very long shelf life. That’s why dot matrix printers are often used in archives.

You can find spare parts directly from the manufacturer or in online mail order companies such as amazon.de. Also pay attention to the product guarantee when buying. For example, if you decide to buy an OKI device when buying a dot matrix printer, you can register on the manufacturer’s website within 30 days to receive a three-year warranty for the product.

4.8/5 - (13 votes)

Last product update on 2022-06-28 | Source: Amazon Affiliate