Different Types of Printers and Their Functions


The printer is an important accessory of any computer system, especially for a graphics system. The printer is used for documentation, print media, or books, etc.

Different Types of Printers:

There are several two different types of printers technologies are available:
1. Impact
2. Non-impact

Impact: These printers have a mechanism whereby formed character faces are passed against an inked ribbon on to the paper in order to create an image.
Example: Dot Matrix Printer, Line Printer.

Non-impact: These printers don’t the paper rather use laser techniques, ink sprays, xerographic processes and electrostatic methods to produce an image on paper.
Example: Laser Printer, Inkjet Printer, Electrostatic Printer, Plotter.

Different Types of Impact Printers:

Dot Matrix Printer:

A dot matrix printer refers to a type of computer printer with a print head that runs back and forth on the page and prints by impact, striking an ink-soaked cloth ribbon against the paper. it’s just like a typewriter. These printers can create carbon copies. The print head normally prints along every raster row of the printer paper and the colour of the print is the colour of the ink of the ribbon.

Different Types of Printers

Each dot is produced by a tiny yet stiff metal rod that is called “Wire or Pin” which is driven forward by the power of a tiny electromagnet or solenoid either directly or through small levers (pawls). The pins are usually arranged vertically where marginal offsets are provided between columns to reduce inter-dot spacing. The position of pins in the print head limits the quality of such a printer.

Line Printer:

A line printer is a form of high-speed impact printer in which a line of type is printed at a time. In a typical design, a fixed font character set is engraved onto the periphery of a number of print wheels, the number matching the number of columns (letters in a line). The wheels spin at high speed and paper and an inked ribbon are moved past the print position.

Different Types of Printers

The line printer technology is usually both faster and less expensive than laser printers. It has its use in medium volume accounting and other large business applications where print volume and speed is a priority over quality.

Different Types of Non-impact Printers:

Laser Printer:

A laser printer employs technology just like a photocopy machine. A laser beam focuses a positively charged selenium-coated rotating drum. The laser gum removes the positive charge from the drum except for the area to be printed.

Different Types of Printers

In this way, the laser draws the letters and images to be printed as a pattern of electrical charges that is called an electrostatic image. The negatively charged black toner powder first adheres to this positively charged area (image) on the drum from where it is transformed to the rolling white paper.

 laser printer inside

Before the paper rolls under the drum, it is given a positive charge stronger than the positive charge of the electrostatic image, so the paper can pull the toner powder away. The paper is then subjected to mild heating to melt and fix the loose toner on the paper. The laser printer is mainly a bi-level printer.

Inkjet Printer:

An Inkjet printer is a non-impact printer that places extremely small droplets of ink onto paper to create an image. These printers are popular because they cost less but generate attractive graphics output.

inkjet printer

The dots sprayed on paper are extremely small (usually between 50 and 60 microns in diameter) and positioned very precisely with resolutions of up to 1440×720 dpi. The dots can have different colours combined to create photo-quality images. The core of an Inkjet printer is the print head that contains a series of nozzles that are used to spray drops of ink.

Electrostatic Printer:

An Electrostatic Printer has many print head, actually covering the entire 36 media width. So, instead of a single print head moving across the width of the media. The electrostatic printer prints an entire width of the page at one time.

Different Types of Printers

The media (paper, vellum, film) is electrostatically charged. The toner solution is circulated past the media and sticks to the energized portion of the media, thus producing a very fast high-quality image. The printer creates colour prints by breaking colour data down three basic colours (cyan, magenta, and yellow) plus black, and printing one colour at a time. In 5-pass print mode, combinations of cyan, magenta, yellow and black provide a wide range of different colours.


A plotter is a vector device that can directly reach specific positions on printer paper without raster scan device. In colour plotters, the carriage accommodates a number of pens with varying colours and widths.


The microprocessor in the plotter receives instructions from the host computer and executes commands like ‘move’ carriage to a given position with pens up and drawing geometric entities like a point, line, arc, circle, etc.