What is printer? Definition, Types and Examples

Types of printer


What is printer?

Printer Definition: Printer is one of the important device of computer. It’s an external hardware output device which takes the electronic data stored on a device and generates a hard copy.

Types of printer

There are several types of printers that are designed for several types of applications. Generally printer fall into categories which are as follows:

1. Impact printers

An impact printer creates an image by pressing an inked ribbon against the paper, using pins or hammers to shape the image. Typewriter is a simple example of impact printer that uses small hammers to strike the ribbon. Each hammer is embossed with the shape of a letter, number or symbol that shape is transferred through the inked ribbon onto the paper, creating a printed character.


2. Nonimpact printers

Nonimpact printers use other means to create an image and they do not hit or impact a ribbon to print. Inkjet, Thermal and photo printers are nonimpact types of printers.

Depending on speed and approach of printing, printer can be classified as

a) Character printer.

b) Line printer and

c) Page printer.


a) Character printers: are printers that print only one character at a time. There are three types of character printers, which are most commonly used.

1. Letter quality printers: These printers use a point wheel font known as a daisy wheel. The speed of letter quality printers normally ranges from 10 to 50 characters per second.

2. Dot-matrix printers: are common types of impact printers, which are used in workplaces or in homes and even in business. These printer create an image by using a mechanism called a print head, which contain cluster or matrix of short pins arranged in one or more columns. The speed of dot-matrix printers is measured characters per second (cps). The slowest dot-matrix printers create 50 to 70 characters per second and the fastest print more than 500 characters per second. Dot matrix printers are inexpensive but noisy as the print head is hammered very rapidly against the paper

3. Ink-jet printers: are nonimpact type printers that create an image directly on the paper by spraying tiny (nozzles) drop sets of ink onto the paper. The Ink-jet printers can print from two to four pages per minute. They are slightly slower than the slowest laser printers. Ink-jet printers are also inexpensive for both colour and black printing. Compared to laser printers, the operating cost of ink-jet printers is relatively low.


b) Line printers: These are special type of impact printers that work like a dot-matrix printer but uses a special wide print head that can print an entire line of text at one time. They do not offer high resolution but are incredibly fast and the fastest can print 3,000 lines of text per minute.


c) Page printers: are very high-speed nonimpact printers, which can produce documents at speed of over 20,000 lines per minute. The most common type of page printer is laser printer.


Laser printers: are nonimpact printers, which produce higher quality print and most are fastest. Laser printers are more expensive than ink-jet prints. These printers are available in both color and black and white and the high-end model laser printers have resolutions of 1,200 to 1,800 dpi.

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