How Do I Choose the Best USB Receipt Printer?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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A USB receipt printer can help a business grow, leave customers tapping their foot as a receipt slowly prints out or have customers squinting their eyes to read the blob of text on their receipt. The USB receipt printer market does not offer much variation on models, but there are still several important factors to go over before choosing the right printer. The most important is printing method, followed by resolution and speed, and then size of the printer.

In the realm of USB receipt printer machines, there are three printing methods: thermal, effect and inkjet. Thermal is the oldest technology, although it is still widely used by many retail stores. With thermal receipt printers, a heat-sensitive roll of paper is placed into the machine and a heated unit runs back and forth to produce letters and numbers. These printers are often cheap to maintain because there is no need for ink and have decent resolution. The problem with them is that if the receipt is subject to any heat, the paper will turn black.

Effect and inkjet are similar, because they both use ink. The major difference is the carrier unit. Effect uses an impact device like a typewriter, while inkjet sprays ink via a nozzle onto the paper. Both of these are slower and cost more than thermal to use and maintain, but they have better resolution than thermal and the paper is not affected by heat.


While the printing method will dictate the speed and resolution to a point, there are variations based on model. Out of the two, resolution is usually more important than speed, because customers and associates must be able to read the receipt, and customers will usually be willing to wait an extra second or two for a legible receipt. A faster USB receipt printer will generally cost more, so — if budgeting is an issue — go for a slightly slower model with legible resolution.

The size of the USB receipt printer is a smaller consideration in finding the best unit but is still important. More than the size of the unit, the size of the receipt paper is the main issue here. If the business sells items with long names, or if laws dictate that the receipt has to use a larger font size or include additional information that retail store do not need to add, then a wider USB receipt printer will be better than a narrow one. Much like speed, the size will be a pricing factor, so getting a printer than is made specifically for the necessary receipt size, and no bigger, is best.


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