The Best Dot Matrix Printers for 2020

When it comes to dot matrix printers, there are several manufacturers and sellers on Amazon. It becomes challenging to select the best dot matrix printer, especially when you have no experience.

Beginner dot matrix printer users usually end up buying very cheap printers that can’t withstand heavy use for long. So, how can you tell which is the best dot matrix printer? We have attempted to solve this problem for you. Below, we have listed seven of the best dot matrix printers for 2020.

Take a look at this dot matrix printer buying guide, and select the best dot matrix printer that meets your requirements and preferences. After reading this guide, you will know the best dot matrix printer, the modern dot matrix printer, the fastest dot matrix printer and the dot matrix printer prices.

Alternatively, skip to the Best Dot Matrix Printer on Amazon.

Best Dot Matrix Printers Comparison Chart

Best Dot Matrix PrinterMost Affordable Dot Matrix PrinterFastest Dot Matrix PrinterBest Epson Dot Matrix Printer
Best Dot Matrix PrintersBest Dot Matrix PrintersBest Dot Matrix PrintersBest Dot Matrix Printers
OKI MICROLINE 420 Dot Matrix PrinterEpson LX-350 Dot Matrix PrinterOKI Microline 620 Dot Matrix PrinterEPSON LQ-590II Dot Matrix Printer
Best Dot Matrix Printer	Most Affordable Dot Matrix PrinterFastest Dot Matrix PrinterBest Epson Dot Matrix Printer
Energy Efficient Dot Matrix PrinterBest Dot Matrix Receipt PrinterMost Durable Dot Matrix Printer
Best Dot Matrix PrintersBest Dot Matrix PrintersBest Dot Matrix Printers
OKI MICROLINE 321 Turbo Dot Matrix PrinterEPSON TM-U220B Dot Matrix Receipt PrinterOKI MICROLINE 320 Turbo Mono Dot Matrix

Reviews of The Best Dot Matrix Printers

1. OKI MICROLINE 420 Dot Matrix

Features

The ML420 is typically a 3-piece and is endowed with resistance to incidences of breaking. It weighs, on average, 17 pounds and measures 20.8 by 21.5 by 9.2 inches. It has a parallel port, USB, Ethernet and standard memory of 128KB. It can reach printing speeds of 570 characters per second (cps) max (that is for the 9-pin model when operating in super speed mode).  Maximum print resolution stands at 240 by 216 dots per inch (dpi). It can handle 6-part forms and its ribbon can print up to 4 million characters. Its print head is good for a cool 400 million characters thus giving it the much-needed longevity. Its mean time between failure (MTBF) stands at 20 000 operating hours.

It also has a petite size which makes it suitable for use in environments where it will be placed on a countertop. The feedback system uses a closed-loop mechanism that ensures accuracy, zero-tear and clean tears on perforation. The ML420 is versatile enough for use in any environment spanning from countertops to industrial sites. The head gap is expandable making it easy to accommodate different sizes of forms and stock. 

Review

The vast majority of users give this dot matrix printer a high rating. This is the best dot matrix printer on the market. There is an appreciation that the model is not as noisy as its predecessors. The durability of this printer is its most outstanding characteristic. However, it is important that you run routine maintenance checks from time to time – that is crucial for longevity. This dot matrix printer is most recommended for heavy duty and demanding workloads. There is also a general consensus on how reasonably priced the ML420 is. This is the best dot matrix printer for 2020!

Pros
  • Long lasting
  • Reasonable price tag
  • No wastages due to zero-tear and clean tear
  • Internal cooling fan enhances performance for lengthy print jobs
  • Compatible with Windows 10 operating systems
Cons
  • Does not support wireless printing

2. EPSON LX-350 Dot Matrix Printer

Features

It weighs 9.04 pounds, measuring 10.8 by 13.7 by 6.1 inches. This makes it compact enough for use on office desks. No wonder why the best applications are office environments. It is a 9-pin and can reach speeds of up to 347 cps. It wields parallel, serial and USB interfaces and is a low power consumer. When sleeping and running it uses power of 1.1 Watts and 27 Watts respectively.

Its mean time between failure (MBF) is 10 000 operating hours. One ribbon lasts up to 4 million characters. The dot matrix printer offers easy integration due to the presence of parallel, serial and USB ports.  Supported media types are continuous forms, plain paper, envelopes and labels. Its standard memory or RAM is 128KB. For multi-part forms it can handle as many as 5. It can handle both single sheets and continuous feed. The print head has an average life span of 400 million characters.

Review

This dot matrix printer has a very high user rating that stems from some great conveniences. The majority of its users give it a high rating. The issue of low-cost to both buy and operate stands out. This far outweighs the costly nature of cartridges for inkjet printers, for example. Some users transitioned to the LX 350 to move away from the high cost of using non-impact printers – but still getting satisfactory results. It is also quite easy to change cartridges and load paper for printing. This is one of the best and cheapest dot matrix printers in 2020.

Pros
  • Energy efficient printer i.e. consumes low power
  • Compact design makes it fit easily on desks
  • Low maintenance and running costs
Cons
  • Not particularly fast

3. OKI Microline 620 Dot Matrix Printer

Features

Weighing 16.98 pounds and measuring 14.8 by 17.2 by 7.5 inches this dot matrix printer is also a 9-pin. Printing speeds can reach 700 cps with one ribbon lasting up to 8 million characters. Its mean time between failure (MTBF) stands at a towering 25 000 hours. The printer has an expandable head gap which allows for multi-part forms and cut-sheet stock. It can handle the printing of forms with as many as 7 parts. The average life span of the ML620 print head is 400 million characters. It has a receive buffer or RAM of 128 KB

Review

This dot matrix printer is acclaimed for its durability, longevity and speed. It is one of the best and fastest dot matrix printers. It’s also a modern dot matrix printer.

Pros
  • Significantly long lifespan (as much as 25 000 operating hours)
  • Exceptionally high print speeds attainable (700 cps)
  • Very long ribbon ink lifespan (8 million characters) thus leading to low operating costs
  • Easy to set up
  • Low energy consumption
Cons
  • Can be very pricey

4. EPSON LQ-590II Dot Matrix Printer

Features

It weighs 15.87 pounds and measures 2 by 4 by 8 inches. This is the printer of choice of environments where printing a daily and critically important aspect. It is a 24-pin printer which can reach printing speeds of up to 584 cps. One ribbon can last for up to 5 million characters. They are suitable for use in adverse environments and they can handle multi-part forms of as thick as 7 pages. Its mean time between failure (MBTF) is 25 000 operating hours. It is an 80 column printer which can handle up to 6-part forms. The interface it supports is high speed USB compatible with USB 2.0 and also has a parallel port. In terms of document or paper feed it can handle single sheet (front and rear), continuous paper (front and rear) and paper output (rear). The print head has a life span of up to 400 million characters. The supported paper formats are single and multilayer sheet paper, single and multilayer continuous paper, envelopes, cardboard and roll paper.

Review

This is the EPSON brand best dot matrix printer for 2020. Very high satisfaction rates from those who used it. Works well for continuous feeds and replacement cartridges are relatively cheap.

Pros
  • Offers the highest possible print quality that a dot matrix printer can do (due to being 24-pin)
  • It has low energy consumption
  • Comes with a minimum sound level thus making it less noisy
  • Low cost per page due to longer lasting ribbon (5 million characters)
  • No need for frequent ribbon changes
Cons
  • Some noise during printing

5. OKI MICROLINE 321 Turbo Dot Matrix Printer

Features

This dot matrix printer measures 20.5 by 27 by 9.5 inches whilst weighing 21.3 pounds. It is specially designed to operate in adverse environments. This is a 9-pin printer whose sleeping power consumption is 4.2 Watts and operating power consumption is 37 Watts. It can reach print speeds of up to 435 cps and has both parallel and USB interfaces. Supported media types are plain paper, labels, envelops, card stock and continuous forms. One ribbon can last up to 3 million characters whilst the print head has a life span of 200 million characters tops. RAM is 128 KB and the mean time between failure is 10 000 operating hours. In terms of media handling the maximum sheets in multi-part form is 6. POS, automation and utility applications are great fits for this printer.

Review

Very high ratings are given for the ML321 Turbo, it qualifies among the best dot matrix printers in 2020. Longevity stands out quite often in user experiences. This printer is found to be reliable to use and also very reasonably priced. There have been several cases of the ML321 lasting at least 10 years of use with little or no service at all. This is a very energy efficient dot matrix printer.

Pros
  • Low energy consumption
  • Has zero-tear capability
  • Can handle much thicker paper stock
  • No wastage of forms
  • Easy installation
  • Low cost of operation (affordable ribbons) and lasts long
  • Can withstand rough environments
Cons
  • Noise during printing
  • Some unstableness (vibrations) when operating at maximum speed

6. EPSON TM-U220B Dot Matrix Receipt Printer

Features

This printer weighs 5.51 pounds and measures 9.8 by 6.3 by 5.5 inches. This is again a 9-pin printer has great suitability for use in retail, tourism and hospitality industries amongst others. Print speed is 6 lines per second. As indicated in the name it is a receipt printer thus it supports receipt paper types. That is why it is an ideal printer for POS terminals. The dot matrix printer has a drop-in load and has a selectable auto-cutter. The mean time between failure (MTBF) is 180 000 operating hours and the printer life span is 7.5 million lines. The printer comes with two-colour printing i.e. black and red.

Reviews

This dot matrix printer performs quite well, it’s among the best dot matrix printers on the market. The resounding majority of users are of the conviction that this printer deserves a 5-star rating. Multiple computers can be connected to this printer thus making it easy to use it in a network. It also turns out there is a considerable number of people who use this printer in restaurants. Works well in restaurants despite the presence of heat that is characteristic of the kitchens. This is the best dot matrix printer for printing receipts.

Pros
  • Easy access and maintenance
  • Compact design and can actually be mounted on a wall
  • Low noise level
  • Fast print speed
  • Low cost of operation because of a very long life span
Cons
  • Dedicated use (receipts) thus cannot be used for other print jobs

7. OKI MICROLINE 320 Turbo Mono Dot Matrix

Features

The printer’s dimensions are 21.4 by 21.3 by 9.4 inches and it weighs 16.5 pounds. It is also a 9-pin has a printing speed of 435 characters per second (cps). Possible applications can be POS, industrial and other utility-based environments e.g. retail or wholesale. This dot matrix printer can handle 6-part forms and stocks, thanks to the expandable head gap. It has parallel and USB interfaces. The print head has a 200 million life span. It has a mean time between failure of 10 000 operating hours and has a RAM of just 28 KB.

Review

This dot matrix printer has very high ratings with mentions of smooth operation and cheapness of ink refilling or cartridge replacement.  One noteworthy detail to note is that routine maintenance maybe necessary especially if the printer has been used for extended periods of time. This is mainly to do with blowing out small pieces of paper – this is best done using compressed air. It is important to maintain and clean them over time to make them last longer. Other users remark of how the printer can effectively work in a mining environment with an ability to handle fluctuating atmospheric conditions. The long lasting attribute is also key for this printer with most users going beyond a decade of daily use with no complications. One remarkable example is of one that lasted 35 years of use. This is the most durable dot matrix printer on the market!

Pros
  • There is no wastage of forms due to auto-tear and clean-tear features borne out of the optical sensor incorporated into the printer
  • Can used in virtually any environment
  • It is energy star compliant i.e. it consumes low energy
  • Durability due to an impact-resistant chassis
  • It is smaller than its predecessors thus can be easily placed in confined work spaces
Cons
  • Noise production is a concern
  • Small items such as staples or clips and the like tend to find their way into inner compartments of the printer (care must be taken to regularly check for them and clean out)

The Cheapest Dot Matrix Printer

Of the 7 dot matrix printers we have reviewed, the cheapest dot matrix printer is the Epson LX-350.

The Best Epson Dot Matrix Printer

The best Epson dot matrix printer for 2020 is the Epson LQ-590II. The first reason why this is so is because the printer is 24-pin (this offers the best attainable print quality for any dot matrix printer). It also has exceptional longevity and this borne out of its mean time between failure (MBTF) of 25 000 hours. That is also buttressed by its print life span of 400 million characters. One ribbon can last up to 5 million characters which results in low operating costs. The print speed is also quite good standing at 584 characters per second (cps). The printer can handle 6-part forms. The other reason we chose this one as the best dot matrix printer is because it is a moderately priced printer which makes it affordable for most people. It also consumes low energy and is well suited for operation in environments where printing is a daily and highly critical necessity.

Overall Best Dot Matrix Printer for 2020

The overall best dot matrix printer for 2020 is the OKI MICROLINE 420 Dot Matrix (ML420). The OKI ML420 Dot Matrix printer will handle the most demanding print environments: point-of-sale, automation and utility applications such as wholesale or retail sales counters, financial departments, and manufacturing or warehouse sites. ML420 printer supports the gamut of paper types and envelopes at lightning speed: 9-pin ML420 model reaches 570 cps in SuperSpeed Draft mode. The patented OKI closed-loop feedback system assures character placement accuracy. And a zero-tear feature accurately positions continuous forms for a clean tear at the perforation to eliminate wasted stock. ML420 printer sport features that gives it a strong edge over their predecessors as well as the competition include the following:

  • The internal cooling fan provides continuous airflow for the printhead—maximizing throughput productivity for long, unattended print jobs;
  • Additional feed rollers provide precise forms handling and printed-character placement accuracy
  • The 3-piece top cover provides easy access and unsurpassed break resistance.

What is a Dot Matrix Printer?

In order to have a basic appreciation of this we will explain what dot matrix printing is. Dot matrix printing entails the printing of characters on paper by pins (which comprise the print head) which hit a ribbon of ink. Thus the printed characters come out as a series of dots. A dot matrix printer (as known as an impact matrix printer) thus is a printer that works using that mechanism. Typically the print-out comes off dotted-like in appearance which is why the quality can be somewhat lower in comparison to other types of printers. The quality of the print is a function of how many pins the print head has. The number of pins ranges from 9 to 24 (with 24 being the highest quality).

Uses of Dot Matrix Printers

Dot matrix printers are usually used for printouts or forms that have multiple parts. They are also most suited for the printing out of documents whose input data is in the form of a perpetual (or continuous) feed. Examples of such printouts are invoices, payslips, and receipts, just to mention a few. The environments in which dot matrix printers can be used vary from printer to printer. Broadly, the environments span from offices, retail or wholesale outlets, tourism and hospitality facilities to industrial sites. The robustness of their design makes them that versatile and adaptable to even the most adverse environments.

Advantages of Dot Matrix Printers

Not only are dot matrix printers inexpensive to buy (in some cases) they are much cheaper to operate. Note though that buying them cheap is relative since in some cases they can be very expensive to buy. The overall advantage, either way, is how cheap they are to operate. One ribbon can fade after characters numbering millions (as much as 7 million characters actually) have been printed. Low repair and maintenance costs also account for the cheapness of operation.

The dot matrix printers themselves are quite robust and have a significantly long lifespan. This also makes them strong enough to be used in relatively harsh conditions such as construction sites, for instance. This makes them withstand conditions like dust and heat.

Dot matrix printers comfortably handle continuous feeds of paper. This is great advantage when documents being printed are multi-paged. In essence this makes dot matrix printers well-placed to handle high-volumes printing.

One of the greatest advantages of dot matrix printers is their ability to print both carbon and carbonless copies. By this we are referring to the printing of two pieces of paper simultaneously. This is the multiple-part element we mentioned earlier. It is no wonder why they are most suitable for applications such point of sale (POS) or cash registers and way bills (common with courier services companies), amongst others. The running out of ink is not abrupt but rather it is gradual. This makes it easy to for you to notice in good time that the ink needs refilling or the ribbon needs to be replaced.

Disadvantages of Dot Matrix Printers

Dot matrix printers tend to be noisier as compared to the other two types we mentioned earlier. This is borne from the impact nature of their working mechanism. This, however, can be minimized by the inclusion of encasements (padding) in their hardware design.

Over the years, dot matrix printers have been overtaken by inkjet and laser jet printers. This has created a lesser demand for dot matrix printers over the years. The result of that has been a relatively higher price tag for them due to their limited supply. There is the issue of low print quality which stems from dotted-like nature of the print. Tied in to this can be the issue of a much slower print speed in comparison to inkjet or laser jet printers. (These are issues that are relative especially in light of a customer’s intended use).

What Is The Price Of A Dot Matrix Printer?

First of all let us look at non-impact printers e.g. inkjets and laser jets. This is to give some perspective to make comparisons to dot matrix printers which we shall discuss shortly.

The average price range for laser jets is US$200 to US$800. Note, however, that you can get one from as low as US$70 and as high as US$3000. As for inkjets the average price ranges from US$100 to US$500 with the possibility of getting one from as low as US$30 and even as high as US$3000 and beyond.

The operating (printing) costs for inkjet and laser jet printers, in terms of price per page, range from as low as 6 cents to as high as 20 cents per page. The variations depend on whether you are printing in black and white or in colour. The price per page surges when you are dealing with photos or printouts involving high graphics. In such cases the price can be as high as 60 cents per page – for laser jet printers. Generally, laser jets are relatively cheaper to use because they use toner which is longer lasting as opposed to inkjets which use ink.

Now let us look at dot matrix printers:
The printing cost per page of dot matrix is quite low and averages around 2 cents per page. The ribbons for dot matrix printers are also quite cheap – from as low as US$4 you can actually get one. The average price range of dot matrix printers is US$200 to US$600.

Which Dot Matrix Printer Brand Is The Best?

When it comes to the best dot matrix printers, two brands stand out namely, Epson and Oki. Oki is dedicated to creating cost effective, professional in-house printing solutions. Epson prides itself as the world leader of impact printers. It is not that easy to say who the best between these two is because they are quite formidable in terms of what they offer. They are both acclaimed for developing impact printers that are adaptable to harsh environments. They are also both exceptional in the production of dot matrix printers that have longevity (along with low maintenance and operating costs).


Go to the Best Dot Matrix Printer on Amazon.