Inkjet vs Dot Matrix

Updated: Feb 14, 2024 3:16 PM


Dot matrix and inkjet are two different printer technologies, and which one is best for you will depend on what you print. Inkjet printers are far more versatile and can print on different types of paper. Dot matrix printers are far more specialized and used for receipts, labels, and multipart forms.

When you’re searching for the best printers, you may not come across any dot matrix options, but for certain applications, they may be ideal for you. Figuring out which mode works best for you will involve comparing and contrasting these different models.

Difference Between Inkjet and Dot Matrix

There is no better way to see the differences between these two technologies than to understand how they put the image or text on the page.

An inkjet printer uses nozzles that spray tiny droplets of ink onto the paper to create the text or image you print. They are capable of high-quality prints in both black and white and color.

Dot matrix printers use printhead with small pins arranged in a matrix. Each pin corresponds to a spot on the page that is being printed.

Dot Matrix Printing Process:

  • To print a character or dot, the printhead moves across the paper and positions the pins in the correct column.
  • The pins are activated corresponding to the dots that need to be printed for that column and strike the ribbon, which transfers the ink to the paper.
  • The pin strike combinations in the specific columns create the image or characters on the paper.

Keep reading to learn more about how these printers compare.

Print Quality

The inkjet printer can produce much higher-resolution images and is a better choice for making a quality print. These printers are capable of producing high-resolution prints with vibrant images and sharp text.

Dot matrix printers produce satisfactory work but can’t quite compare with their inkjet counterparts. These print in black and white and are best suited for printing on materials with carbon copies, like invoices and other non-standard media. If you don’t mind the black-and-white printing, you can learn about monochrome laser printers if you want higher-quality prints.

Another great comparison can be made between an inkjet vs. a dye sublimation.


Be cautious when dealing with printer performance issues to avoid potential pitfalls. For instance, understanding how many amps your printer uses is essential to prevent electrical problems. Disabling certain settings can also be crucial; for example, disabling printer color management can help maintain print quality. If you need to take your printer apart for any reason, make sure to follow our safe procedures on how to disassemble your printer.

Upfront Cost

When it comes to upfront costs, you will want to stick with an inkjet printer. They are significantly cheaper than those using dot matrix technology. You could be looking at as little as $100, whereas dot matrix printers will sell for a few hundred. For this reason, inkjet technology comes out ahead in this category.

Printing Speed

This category depends on whether you’re talking about images or text. When it comes to images, the two are generally pretty similar. However, when it comes to walls of text, you’ll find that the inkjet printer pulls ahead because of how its technology works.

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