Difference Between Impact and Non-Impact Printers | Impact vs Non-Impact Printers

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

Difference Between Impact and Non-Impact Printers is that impact printers print by pressing the head or needle into the ink ribbon to make an imprint on the paper. However, physical contact between the paper and the printing equipment is not required with non-impact printers.

Difference between Impact and Non Impact Printers PDF

Mechanical components are used in impact printers to conduct printing, while a mechanical moving component is not employed in non-impact printers. Here, we will differentiate between Impact and Non-Impact Printers based on various factors. Further, we have defined impact and non-impact printers in the sections below.

Difference Between Impact and Non Impact Printers

The difference between an impact and a non impact printer is that an impact printer is more mechanical, requiring constant hitting of mechanical pins with ribbon ink to print on paper. In contrast, a non-impact printer can charge the paper electrically and then spray the ink on the paper, resulting in a print on paper.

Impact vs Non Impact Printers

Impact Printers Non Impact Printers
Impact printers produce characters and images on a piece of paper by striking it. A printer prints text and drawings on paper without striking the paper.
Printing is done in impact printers by hammering a character dye or metal pin. Printing with non-impact printers is done by splattering ink on paper.
Impact printers produce high-level noise. Non-impact printers produce low-level noise.
These are low-speed printers and consume a lot of time. These are very fast printers as they can print many pages in a minute.
They are unsuitable for printing photographs or other high-resolution materials. They’re ideal for printing photographs or other high-resolution materials.
These are generally less expensive. Non-impact printers are more expensive compared to impact printers.
Impact printers use old printing technology. Non-impact printers use the latest printing technology.

Introduction to Impact and Non-Impact Printers

Printers are classified into two categories depending on whether the printed image is generated by striking an ink ribbon against the paper. It is considered an essential topic in the GATE CSE syllabus. As a result, printers are categorized into two categories:

  • Impact printers
  • Non-Impact printers

What is Impact Printer?

After discussing the difference between impact and non-impact printers, let us discuss in detail the impact printers. Impact printers function by making a direct touch between the ink ribbon and the paper. These printers make a lot of noise, but they’re quite popular. To accomplish printing, impact printers use mechanical moving components.

Impact printers are no longer extensively used due to the noise they produce when the striker strikes the ink ribbon during printing, and they are mostly regarded as outdated. In situations when multi-part forms are necessary, these printers are still used.

Examples of Impact Printers are Dot-matrix printers, Daisy-wheel printers, line printers, etc.

What is Non-Impact printer?

In non-impact printers, there is no direct contact between the ink ribbon and the paper. They work with lasers, xerographic, electrostatic, chemical, and inkjet printing. These printers are quieter and don’t use mechanical moving parts to print.

Because non-impact printers are quicker and quieter than impact printers, they are presently the most popular. Characters and pictures are formed without direct physical contact between the printing machine and the paper in non-impact printers.

Examples of Non-Impact printers are Inkjet, Laser printers, etc.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Impact Printers and Non-Impact Printers

Advantages of Impact Printers:

Impact printers have a robust construction, making them suitable for environments that require frequent and heavy-duty printing.
Impact printers can create carbon copies or multipart forms by using pressure to transfer ink onto the paper.
Impact printers are generally more affordable compared to non-impact printers, both in terms of initial purchase and operational expenses.

Disadvantages of Impact Printers:

Impact printers produce noise due to the mechanical impact of the print head on the paper, which can be disruptive in quiet environments.
The mechanical nature of impact printing results in slower print speeds compared to non-impact printers.
Impact printers typically have lower print resolution and may not be suitable for applications that require high-quality graphics or detailed text.

Advantages of Non-Impact Printers:

Non-impact printers produce sharper, more precise text and graphics, making them suitable for applications that require professional-looking output.
Non-impact printers can print at significantly higher speeds, making them more efficient for large print volumes.
Non-impact printers operate silently, making them more suitable for noise-sensitive environments such as offices or libraries.

Disadvantages of Non-Impact Printers:

Non-impact printers are generally more expensive to purchase and maintain compared to impact printers.
Non-impact printers require ink or toner cartridges that need to be replaced periodically, adding to the operational cost.
Non-impact printers do not have the inherent ability to create multiple copies or multipart forms without additional equipment or processes.

Summary: Choosing Between Impact and Non Impact Printers

In summary, choosing the right printer for your needs depends on several factors. Impact printers are suitable for applications that require multiple copies, such as invoices or receipts, but they tend to be slower and noisier. Non-impact printers offer faster, quieter operation with better print quality, making them ideal for documents that require high-resolution output. Consider your specific requirements, such as printing volume, noise sensitivity, and desired print quality, to make an informed decision on which type of printer will best meet your needs.

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