What are Impact Printers and Non-Impact Printers?


impact printersBefore inkjet printers, and long before laser printers, we had impact printers.

You might be surprised to know they’re still in active production, but I’ll get into that later.

These devices utilize a rudimentary form of printing that involves creating impact against an ink ribbon to transfer the ink onto paper. The ‘impact’ comes from either a hammer or needles.

To be sure, these types of printers are not used much anymore. They are still relevant though because some of the largest vendors continue to manufacture them. On top of that, they earned their place in computing history.

In this article, we will teach you more about what impact printers are and contrast them with the non-impact printers that are in most offices today.

Please be aware that Dean Office Solutions does not service or sell impact printers, this article is for informational purposes only.

Impact Printers

Any type of printer that uses both ink and pressure to make a print falls under the ‘impact’ category. This includes dot-matrix printers, daisy-wheel printers, and line printers.

They are particularly useful when working with multipart forms — the ones that you frequently print out in order to conduct business. Invoices and the like.

Impact printing is the oldest printing technology still in use today because how good it is when working with multipart forms.

These printers are efficient at working with forms, but goodness are they ever expensive. As soon as a cheaper way of doing things came along, people began using impact printers a lot less.

Another thing that caused these printers to become nearly a thing of the past is that all they do is print. In this day and age there aren’t too many electronics anymore that only do one thing.

Consumers started gravitating toward multifunctional printers as soon as they hit the market. Now, virtually every office has a machine that copies, prints, scans, and faxes.

Oh, and one more thing, no one enjoyed using an impact printer because of how loud they were.

With all that being said, you may still find the rare office that has an impact printer. Usually, if an office is using an impact printer, it’s for no other reason than they just never stopped.

They’ve always done business with an impact printer and no one is going to tell them otherwise.

Needless to say, there has been a better way of doing things ever since non-impact printers came along.

Non-Impact Printers

All the modern office printers and multifunctional machines we use today are categorized as “non-impact.”

There’s no impact occurring during the copying and printing process. There is nothing banging against anything to make a copy or print.

Non-impact printers are quieter, faster, more compact, more cost-efficient, and considerably more versatile than impact printers.


You could say the impact type of printer was a product of its time. As time passed and better machines were created, usage naturally began to shift to the modern multifunctional printers.

If you enjoy articles about older technology, you may also enjoy our article on who invented the Xerox machine.

At Dean Office Solutions we only deal with the latest in multifunctional printers. Visit this page to learn more about our process of matching up the right machine with the right business.

Scroll to Top