Printerbase News Blog

How does a dot matrix printer work?

Dot matrix printers, also referred to as “impact matrix” don’t just sound extremely techy and confusing, they look extremely techy and confusing, too.

For this reason, lots of people find themselves apprehensive about using them.

But there’s no need to worry – once you understand how these machines work, you’ll be fine. In this blog post, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about dot matrix printers, from how they work, to what they’re used for. So, without further ado…

Exactly how does a dot matrix printer work?

Dot matrix printers are a lot like inkjet printers. They work by implementing a moving head that prints in a line by line motion.

However, in contrast to inkjets, dot matrix printers employ an impact ‘head and ribbon’ method of printing. This method is very similar to that of a traditional typewriter, punching tiny holes through the ribbon and into the page, leaving a mark.

What do the numbers on dot matrix printers stand for? How do I know which to pick?

Dot matrix printers each bestow a matrix of pins, which are used to produce the characters on the page. When it comes to variation in this regard, you can choose from either 9 pins or 24 pins – 9 pin is usually the fastest option, meanwhile 24 pin boasts the highest resolution.

What are the benefits and uses of a dot matrix printer?

Although dot matrix machines are often perceived as archaic, these durable devices are perfect for invoicing and warehouse packing/picking slips where multiple copies are required.

Dot matrix printers can print multiple sheets at once, printing directly onto the white front sheet, then following on to the coloured carbon copies behind.  In general, dot matrix printers are more reliable than laser or inkjet machines, especially when used in dirty environments such as warehouses or car garages.

Can I buy a dot matrix printer from Printerbase?

Of course you can! Browse Our Full Range of Dot Matrix printers now.


If you enjoyed this news post, feel free to share it with your friends, family and work colleagues on Facebook and/or Twitter now. Alternatively, please feel free to leave a comment in the box below – we love to hear your thoughts and feedback!

Happy printing!
The Printerbase Team

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Anonymous 19 April 2018 at 1:47 pm


laxmiprasanna 11 September 2018 at 6:05 am

not bad

maria 1 January 2019 at 4:32 am

very nice

arriaty peany 28 January 2019 at 5:41 pm

Comment fantastic and enthusiastic

Anonymous 22 August 2019 at 7:22 pm

there was less info about how it works

Kate Crabtree 27 August 2019 at 10:57 am

Hi Arriaty,

Thanks for getting in touch. Sorry you weren’t satisfied by the information in this post. Please let us know what information you’d like and we’ll do our best to help you.

Many thanks,


Peter Knight 13 October 2022 at 9:15 pm

this is a test post


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