Thermal Printer Vs. Receipt Printer, who’s the winner?

Author: POSPaper   Date Posted: 14 March 2016 

POSPaper stock both thermal receipt printers and Impact receipt printers so we thought we’d help you choose the right one for your business! POSPaper stock both thermal receipt printers and Impact receipt printers so we thought we’d help you choose the right one for your business!

POSPaper stock both thermal receipt printers and Impact receipt printers so we thought we’d help you choose the right one for your business!

While both have have different functionalities in the long run it’s what works best for your business. 

We’ve put both printers head to head in a clash we’ve called ‘POS Printer Wars’... ultimately for your businesses benefit (and also for a bit of fun!)


Let’s talk about SPEED:

There isn’t much competition in this category for the Impact receipt printer, as they print on average around 3 lines per second, whereas the thermal receipt printer on average print in excess of 20 lines per second. The impact receipt printer uses printing ribbons so is much slower in comparison to the thermal printer speed, there are no ribbons or ink making the process seamless.

POSPaper rates them for speed:

Thermal Receipt Printer 9/10 Impact Receipt Printer  7/10

All things Quality:

Quality is a huge factor when considering which printer to buy, you want something that is going to provide long-lasting quality and print receipts of a high quality to give to your customers.

Thermal receipt printers do provide a much clearer image and print quality compared to impact printers. 

The Impact receipt printer requires a ribbon, which act as small hammers imprinting small dots on the page to makeup the images. If you look closely at the receipt you will see the small dots that make up the characters.

Thermal Printers don’t use printing ribbons, so their images are a lot clearer and quicker!

POSPaper rates them for Quality:

Thermal Receipt Printer 9 ½ /10 Impact Receipt Printer 7/10

Wear and Tear:

When looking at wear and tear of printers we can assess them in two ways. 

  1. The average number of lines printed before a failure occurs. 
  2. The average distance or length of paper that can be printed before a failure.

Thermal receipt printers have much more of a longevity than impact receipt printers, it’s plain and simple.. Thermal receipt printers paper is pulled across a heat mechanism that heats the thermal paper to make the images and line, this means less moving parts. They simply don’t wear as easily and can print thousands more receipts before they start to break-down

POSPaper rates them for Wear and Tear:

Thermal Receipt Printer 9 ½ /10 Impact Receipt Printer 6/10


Let’s talk about the capabilities of both of these great printers.

Thermal Printers print more lines per second and are known to have clearer images and words, however it’s the impact printer that really wows in this category especially in the hospitality industry.

Impact Receipt printers have the advantage of being extremely useful to businesses that need multiple copies of receipts. By using dual or triple ply bond paper rolls in your printer you can print more than one copy of the same receipt, in one go.

Impact Receipt Printers are extremely useful in the hospitality industry through a number of ways:

  • Can print 3 copies of the same receipt, giving the kitchen one copy, the business one copy and the customer the third copy.
  • Noisy when printing- while this is often considered a negative feature, in busy kitchens the noise of the receipt printer alerts the staff of new orders coming in.
  • Receipts aren’t heat sensitive- In hot, busy kitchens you want a docket or receipt that will withstand the busy service. Impact Receipt Printer use bond paper, and aren’t heat sensitive like thermal paper.

POSPaper rates them for Productivity:

Thermal Receipt Printer 5 /10 Impact Receipt Printer 9/10

The Verdict

In the ‘POS Printer Wars’ it seems there is a clear winner, however impact receipt printers are still a great investment for your business. Both printers have different capabilities and work differently in all environments. When making the decision on which to buy weigh up what features are more important to you.

Please contact us today if you would like our recommendations or advice!

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