Types of Printers: Exploring their Features and Examples

There are several types of printers available, each with its own unique characteristics and applications. in this article we will discuss some commonly used types of printers.

Here's a classification of the types of printers based on the printing technology and their functionality:

1. Based on Printing Technology:

        - Dot Matrix Printers

        - Dye-Sublimation Printers

        - Inkjet Printers

        - Laser Printers

        - LED Printers

        - Solid Ink Printers

        - Thermal Printers

2. Based on Functionality:

       - All-in-One Printers (Multifunction Printers)

       - Barcode Printers

       - Card Printers

       - Commercial Printers

       - Continuous Ink Supply System (CISS) Printers

       - Eco-Solvent Printers

       - Handheld Printers

       - Impact Printers

       - Label Printers

       - Mobile Printers

       - MICR Printers   

       - Network Printers

       - Photo Printers   

       - Plotter Printers

       - Portable Printers     

       - Production Printers  

       - Sublimation Printers   

       - Supertank Printers

       - UV Printers     

       - Virtual Printers

       - Wide-Format Printers           

       - Wireless Printers    

       - 3D Printers            

This classification is based on the underlying printing technology used and the functionality provided by each type of printer. 

Different Types of Printers based on their classification are explained below:

I. Based on Printing Technology:

1)  Inkjet Printers: 

Inkjet printers work by spraying tiny droplets of ink onto the paper to create images and text. 

They are like using a small spray gun to print. Inkjet printers are versatile and can produce high-quality color prints.

Inkjet printers are popular for home and small office use. 

Example: HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 Inkjet Printer.

 2) Laser Printers: 

Laser printers use a special beam of light called a laser to create an image on a drum. 

This image attracts a powdered ink called toner, which is then transferred onto the paper using heat. 

Laser printers are fast and produce high-quality text documents. 

They are commonly used in offices for large volume printing.

Example: Brother HL-L2380DW Laser Printer.

3) Dot Matrix Printers: 

Dot matrix printers are older technology but still find some applications today, particularly in specialized environments. 

Dot matrix printers use a print head with tiny pins that strike an ink-soaked ribbon, making tiny dots on the paper to form characters.

It's like stamping ink dots onto paper. Dot matrix printers are sturdy and can create multiple copies using carbon paper. 

They are used in places that require printing on multiple sheets at once, like in receipts or invoices. 

Dot matrix printers are known for their ability to create multipart forms and for their durability.

Example: Epson LQ-590 Dot Matrix Printer.

4) Thermal Printers: 

Thermal printers use heat to create images on heat-sensitive paper.

It's similar to using heat to draw on special paper. 

There are two types: direct thermal printers, which generate images by applying heat directly to the paper, 

And the other is thermal transfer printers, which uses heat to transfer ink from a ribbon onto the paper. 

Thermal printers are commonly used for labels, receipts, and barcode printing.


Zebra GC420d Thermal Printer: The Zebra GC420d is a popular desktop direct thermal label printer. It is commonly used for printing labels in various applications such as shipping, retail, manufacturing, and more. 

5) Dye-Sublimation Printers: 

Dye-sublimation printers transfer dye from a ribbon onto different materials, such as paper, plastic, or fabric. 

The dye turns into a gas and then solidifies onto the material, creating vibrant and long-lasting prints. 

Dye-sublimation printers are great for printing high-quality photos and professional graphics, often used by photographers or graphic designers.

Example: Canon SELPHY CP1300 Dye-Sublimation Printer.

6) Solid Ink Printers:

Solid ink printers use solid ink sticks that melt to produce ink for printing. 

Think of it like melting a colorful crayon to make ink. 

Solid ink printers provide vibrant and consistent colors and are eco-friendly since they produce less waste compared to other printers. 

They are suitable for businesses that need moderate color printing.

Example: Xerox ColorQube 8580 Solid Ink Printer.

7) LED Printers:

LED printers use an array of tiny lights called light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to create an image that transfers toner onto the paper.

It's similar to using lots of tiny flashlights to create an image. 

LED printers are similar to laser printers in terms of print quality, but they are often more compact and energy-efficient. 

They are suitable for home or small office use.

Example: Xerox Phaser 6510 LED Printer.

II. Based on Functionality:

1) All-in-One Printers (Multifunction Printers): 

All-in-One Printers are also known as multifunction printers (MFPs) They can do multiple tasks such as printing, scanning, copying, and sometimes even faxing. 

These printers are perfect for homes or small offices where space is limited, and you need a single device that can handle different functions.

Example: HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 All-in-One Printer.

2) 3D Printers: 

3D printers are like magic machines that can create three-dimensional objects. 

They work by building objects layer by layer using materials such as plastic, metal, or resin based on a digital model. 

3D printers have revolutionized manufacturing, design, etc. 

They are used in various industries, including manufacturing, prototyping, healthcare, and education.

Example: Ultimaker S5 3D Printer.

3) Mobile Printers: 

Mobile printers are portable printers that you can carry with you on the go. They are like having a mini printing machine in your bag. 

These printers are handy for professionals who need to print documents or receipts while traveling or working outside the office. 

They can be connected to smartphones, tablets, or laptops wirelessly.

Example: HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile Printer.

4) Wide-Format Printers: 

Wide-format printers are designed to handle larger paper sizes and print wider documents. They are like giant canvases for printing. 

These printers are commonly used in the advertising and design industry to create posters, banners, and large-scale graphics. 

They are perfect when you need to make a big impact with your prints.

Example: Epson SureColor P8000 Wide-Format Printer.

5) Plotter Printers: 

Plotter printers are specialized printers used for precise and detailed drawings, often in engineering and architectural fields. 

They are like robotic artists that can draw complex designs with great accuracy. 

Plotter printers use pens or inkjet technology to create large-scale drawings or blueprints.

Examples of hp plotter printer:

Some of the examples of HP plotter printers are as follows:

  • HP DesignJet T650: This is a compact and easy-to-use plotter printer, ideal for small to medium-sized workgroups. It offers precise line quality and vivid color prints for technical documents, posters, and graphics.
  • HP DesignJet T1600: This plotter printer is built for high-volume printing and large-format applications. It provides fast printing speeds, high-resolution prints, and a large color touchscreen for easy operation.
  • HP DesignJet Z9+: The Z9+ is a high-quality plotter printer suitable for professional photographers and graphic artists. It utilizes HP's high-definition printhead technology to deliver exceptional color accuracy and consistency.
  • HP DesignJet T730: This is a versatile and robust plotter printer designed for architects, engineers, and construction professionals. It offers mobile printing capabilities and can handle a variety of media types and sizes.
  • HP DesignJet T3500: The T3500 is a multifunction plotter printer, combining printing, scanning, and copying capabilities in one device. It is suitable for large workgroups and enterprise environments with high-demand printing needs.

6) Barcode Printers: 

Barcode printers are like secret code creators. They are specifically designed to print barcodes, those unique lines and numbers that help identify products. 

Barcode printers are commonly used in retail, logistics, and inventory management. They make it easy to track and manage products efficiently.

Example: Zebra ZT410 Barcode Printer.

7) Photo Printers: 

Photo printers are like personal photo studios. They are optimized for printing high-quality photographs with vibrant colors and sharp details. 

Photo printers are popular among photography enthusiasts and professionals who want to produce stunning prints of their captured moments.

Example: Canon PIXMA Pro-100 Photo Printer.

8) Impact Printers:

Impact printers use mechanical force to create images on paper. They are like little hammers that strike an inked ribbon to make impressions on the paper. 

Impact printers are often used for printing receipts, invoices, or carbon copies, and they are known for their reliability and ability to create multiple copies.

Example: Epson LX-350 Impact Printer.

9) MICR Printers: 

MICR printers are specially designed to print magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) codes used in banking and financial documents. 

They are like money printers, but they only print the special characters found on checks or important financial papers.

Example: TROY MICR 3015 Secure Printer.

10) Label Printers:

Label printers are like efficient label makers. They are used to print adhesive labels for various purposes such as organizing items, creating address labels, or making product stickers. 

Label printers are handy in offices, warehouses, or businesses that require labeling items accurately and professionally.

Example: DYMO LabelWriter 450 Label Printer.

11) Card Printers: 

Card printers are specifically designed to print plastic cards like ID cards, access cards, or membership cards. They are like little card factories. 

Card printers can print high-quality images and text directly onto plastic cards, making them perfect for businesses or organizations that require personalized identification cards.


Fargo DTC1250e Card Printer: 

The Fargo DTC1250e is a popular desktop card printer used for printing ID cards, badges, and other plastic cards. 

It is commonly used in various industries, including corporations, schools, healthcare facilities, and government institutions.

It offers single-sided or dual-sided printing, direct-to-card printing, and various card encoding options. 

The printer has fast printing speeds, Ethernet connectivity, and optional Wi-Fi. It's user-friendly, customizable, and supports security features for secure printing.

12) Wireless Printers: 

Wireless printers are like tech-savvy printers that don't need any wires to connect to your devices. 

They can be connected to computers, smartphones, or tablets through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Wireless printers offer the convenience of printing without the hassle of cables.

Example: HP ENVY Photo 7855 Wireless Printer.

13) Network Printers: 

Network printers are printers that are connected to a network, allowing multiple users to print from different computers or devices. 

They are like shared printers that can be accessed by everyone on the same network. Network printers are commonly used in offices or shared workspaces for efficient printing.

Example: Brother HL-L8360CDW Network Printer.

14) Portable Printers:

Portable printers are compact and lightweight printers that can be easily carried around. They are like mini printing companions. 

Portable printers are useful for people who need to print documents or photos while on the move, such as travelers or mobile professionals.

Example: Canon PIXMA iP110 Portable Printer.

15) Commercial Printers: 

Commercial printers are heavy-duty machines designed for high-volume printing in professional print shops or large organizations. 

They are like printing powerhouses capable of handling large printing projects, such as brochures, catalogs, or newspapers.

Examples of canon commercial printers are as follows:

  • Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE Series: This series includes a range of high-performance multifunction printers designed for businesses and office environments. They offer features such as fast printing, scanning, and advanced document management capabilities.
  • Canon imagePROGRAF Series: These printers are part of Canon's large-format printer lineup, primarily used for printing posters, banners, technical drawings, and other large-scale graphics. They are commonly employed in professional printing and design industries.
  • Canon imagePRESS Series: The imagePRESS series is designed for commercial printing applications, delivering exceptional print quality, high-speed printing, and versatile finishing options. They are suitable for print shops, marketing agencies, and other print-intensive businesses.
  • Canon PIXMA Pro Series: This series is dedicated to professional photographers and artists who require high-quality photo printing capabilities. The PIXMA Pro printers use multiple ink cartridges to produce stunning color accuracy and detailed prints.
  • Canon varioPRINT Series: These printers are part of Canon's production printing lineup, optimized for high-volume commercial printing environments. They are known for their reliability, speed, and cost-efficient performance.

16) Production Printers: 

Production printers are high-speed printers used for large-scale printing production. They are like printing factories that can churn out a high volume of prints in a short time.

Production printers are commonly used by printing companies or businesses that require mass printing, such as book publishers or marketing agencies.


Xerox Versant 280 Production Printer:

The Xerox Versant is a series of digital production presses designed for high-quality and high-volume printing. 

Xerox is known for producing advanced printing technology, and the Versant series is no exception.

They offer automation features for improved efficiency and seamless integration into production workflows. 

The series includes various models with options for finishing and supports personalization and variable data printing.

17) Virtual Printers: 

Virtual printers are software-based printers that create digital files instead of physical prints.

They are like digital converters that allow you to "print" documents into different file formats such as PDF or image files. 

Virtual printers are handy when you want to save or share documents electronically.

Example: PDFCreator Virtual Printer.

18) Continuous Ink Supply System (CISS) Printers: 

CISS printers are equipped with a continuous ink supply system, which allows for a continuous flow of ink to the printer cartridges. 

They are like printers with never-ending ink. CISS printers are cost-effective for high-volume printing needs as they eliminate the need for frequent cartridge replacements.

Example: Epson EcoTank ET-3760 CISS Printer.

19) Eco-Solvent Printers: 

Eco-solvent printers use eco-friendly inks that are less harmful to the environment. They are like environmentally conscious printers. Eco-solvent printers are commonly used for printing outdoor banners, vehicle wraps, or other large-scale graphics.

Example: Roland VersaCAMM VS-640i Eco-Solvent Printer.

20) UV Printers: 

UV printers use ultraviolet light to cure or dry the ink instantly as it prints. They are like instant dryers for prints. 

UV printers are known for their ability to print on a wide range of materials, including glass, wood, or metal. 

They are used in industries such as signage, packaging, or promotional items.

Example: Roland VersaUV LEF-300 UV Printer.

21) Sublimation Printers: 

Sublimation printers transfer dye onto different materials using heat, resulting in vibrant and long-lasting prints. 

They are like color transfer experts. 

Sublimation printers are commonly used for printing on fabrics, mugs, or other products for personalized gifts, promotional items, or apparel.

Example: Epson SureColor P800 Sublimation Printer.

22) Supertank Printers: 

Supertank printers are designed with large, refillable ink tanks that can hold a significant amount of ink. 

They are like printers with giant ink reservoirs. 

Supertank printers are cost-effective for high-volume printing as they require less frequent ink replacement.

Example: Epson EcoTank ET-4760 Supertank Printer.

23) Handheld Printers: 

Handheld printers are compact, portable devices that can be held in the hand for on-the-spot printing. They are like pocket-sized printers. 

Handheld printers are useful for printing labels, barcodes, or small documents in situations where mobility is essential, such as retail inventory management or fieldwork. 

Example: Brother PT-H110 Handheld Printer.

            This classification is based on the underlying printing technology used and the functionality provided by each type of printer.