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Buyer's Guide for POS Receipt Printers
Learn Receipt Printer Basics From The Pros
How Do Receipt Printers Work?
Receipt Printers act very similarly to full-sized printers; they connect to your computer and usually receive print commands from installed driver software. These printers do offer additional functionality vital to high-stakes retail & restaurant environments, including fast print speeds, energy efficiency, and the ability to open cash drawers on command.
What Kind of Receipt Printer Do I Buy?
POSGuys.com carries a wide variety of receipt printers, ideal for many budgets and applications. The most important consideration is what printers are compatible with your POS software. Aside from that, you will want to determine what kind of interface you need, whether you need an auto cutter, or if you have environmental restrictions that would prevent some printers from working well.
Software Requirements and Device Drivers
Some POS software has specific hardware and driver requirements, so it is important to double check before buying a receipt printer. For instance, some software requires OLE for point of sale drivers, otherwise known as OPOS, while others work fine with Windows, Mac OS, or Linux drivers. Epson receipt printers offer compatibility with most OPOS drivers and have their own Windows drivers, so they are smart choice if you are uncertain which drivers you need.
Many receipt printers on the market offer cross compatibility with major brands and command sets, giving you more options if you need to replace an aging receipt printer. Some of these printers do require additional configuration to change emulation modes; our excellent support staff is happy to help you with these changes.
Cable InterfacesThere are many ways to connect a receipt printer to your POS computer, including USB, Serial, Parallel, and even networked via Ethernet. Depending on your POS software, some of these interfaces will work better than others for connecting your receipt printer. The diagram below has images on the major interfaces available and what they look like both on the back of a POS computer as well as the receipt printer.
Serial Cable and Printer Interface Examples
Parallel Cable and Printer Interface Examples
USB Cable and Printer Interface Examples
Ethernet Cable and Printer Interface Examples
Most receipt printers come with an auto cutter standard, though some offer a manual tear bar instead. Having an auto-cutter ensures clean separation of receipts and reduces jams that can occur from poorly torn receipts.
Environment Restrictions and Additional Functionality
Some environments have specific needs that make some receipt printers a smarter choice than others. For instance, in kitchens or dry cleaners, an impact receipt printer is ideal; the printouts can handle extreme temperatures and humidity better than direct thermal printouts. Below are some common questions to ask before choosing a receipt printer.
- Is speed a factor?
- Do you need multiple colors on a single receipt?
- Do you want to print on-the-go?
- Do you take checks at your business?
- Do you need carbon copies of receipts?
POSGuys splits receipt printers into major subcategories based on features and functionality. So once you have an idea on where the printer will be installed and what features you need, our categorical breakdown should help you find the product best suited for your needs.
Receipt Printer Types
Impact receipt printers are some of the longest running on the market. Similar to the older tractor-feed style printers of the 1980s, these printers use a series of small pins to press and transfer ink from a ribbon onto receipts. Many impact receipt printers can print up to two colors using special two-tone ribbons, making them a smart choice for businesses where order changes need to be stark and apparent.
Recommended Use: Kitchens/heat-intensive environments, or any retail POS environment where duplicate receipts or two-color printing are required.
As the most popular receipt printer style on the market, direct thermal receipt printers offer a combination of speed and easy operation ideal for most retailers. Direct thermal printing uses heat to activate an emulsion in special heat-sensitive receipt paper, eliminating the need for additional media when printing. These printers are remarkably fast, with top print speeds at over one foot of receipt per second.
Recommended Use: High volume receipt printing in retail and restaurant environments.
Ink jet receipt printers use the same type of technology you see in home printers, using tiny nozzles to spray ink onto receipts. With ink jet printing, you can add color logos or other personalized elements to your receipts. However, you do have to buy replacement ink jet cartridges, adding to the long term costs.
Recommended Use: Retail, banking, or any business wanting quieter, color printing.
Models to Try: Ithaca POSJet 1500
Multi-Function receipt printers combine various retail functions into a single, space-saving solution. With support for receipt printing, slip printing, check endorsing, MICR, and sometimes even barcode scanning, these receipt printers are a fantastic choice for higher volume retailers, banks, or any place where space is a premium but multiple payment types are accepted.
Recommended Use: Banks, grocery stores, department stores, or any business that accepts checks.
Mobile receipt printers offer the portability necessary for field service crews, law enforcement, and mobile POS applications. The printers receive print jobs either through special cabled interfaces or by pairing wirelessly to your device. Select models include a DEX interface, allowing delivery drivers to connect directly to grocery store POS systems and upload inventory data.
Recommended Use: Mobile POS, line busting, delivery service, or any job needing receipt printing on the go.