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General – Choosing a Printer

Choosing a Printer

This is a comprehensive guide about POS printers that are available in the market.
We will go through each of them and explain which one fits you the best.
If you do not want to read the entire article, in short, we recommend Epson TM-T20 or Star TSP-100 ethernet-based printer.

Pos printer is segregated into a few interface categories, each with their own pros & cons.
There is a USB, serial, parallel, ethernet, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi interface available. However, we will only discuss the ethernet, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi interface in this guide as the others do not work with MobiPOS.

Ethernet Printer
This is the most common interface printer available.
This pos printer requires an ethernet (RJ45) cable connected from the printer to the router.
As it is cabled, your printer can be located as far as your cable able reach.
Connection is also generally more stable as you have less interference compared to wireless printer.
Most kitchen printers would choose this interface as they are far from where the router or iPad is placed.

Bluetooth Printer
If you are a kiosk or pop-up store and range is not an issue, a Bluetooth printer can be put into good use.
As your setup is simple, the Bluetooth printer connects directly to the iPad without the need for a router.
This reduces the need for connecting cables between the router and printer, a single power cable to the Bluetooth printer would be sufficient.
If the Bluetooth printer is battery powered, then there will be zero cables in your setup.

Though, the Bluetooth printer is not all perfect. Depending on the printer model, you might not be able to have multiple Bluetooth printers connected to the same iPad or being shared by different iPads.
If your setup requires only 1 printer, this would be fine.
Anything more, you might have to check on the specification of the printer.
Furthermore, the Bluetooth printer is generally more expensive.

Wi-Fi Printer
Wi-Fi printer uses the same technology as an ethernet-based printer, the only difference is that an ethernet-based printer requires cable to connect to the router while the Wi-Fi printer transmits data over the air to the router.
Use a Wi-Fi printer if you think there’s absolutely no way to lay cable to the printer location.
The connection will not be as stable if Wi-Fi coverage in the area is weak.
Comparing to Bluetooth printer, the Wi-Fi printer range is further, however it requires a router.

USB Printer
USB printer does not work with MobiPOS.
However only with Star TSP-100, a direct connection of USB to the lightning port of the iPad does work.

Brand & Model

Common brands we see in the market would be Star or Epson printer which we recommend.
However, you would want to choose the right vendor which could provide support to you when your printer is faulty.
There are also a bunch of china made OEMs printer which are much more affordable, however they compensate in terms of support and quality.

After choosing the right interface for the printer, each brand has its own sets of printer model which you can choose from. What do you need to know?

Printout Size
3-inch paper width would be the common receipt size in the market. You can use 2 inches if you want a smaller printer due to your store size.
The smaller the size, the font size printed on paper would be smaller.
Otherwise, it will fit fewer characters per line in it.

Printing Speed
Depending on your usage and turnover rate.
The printer used to print receipts at the side of the cash register should use a printer with faster printing speed.
While the printer in the kitchen could go with the slower ones.
Printing speed is measured in inch/second, the faster it prints the more it costs for the printer.

Printing Method
2 common printing modes are thermal and impact printing.

Thermal printer is the most common, it uses heated pin to print on heat-sensitive paper.
A thermal printer is fast and commonly used for the countertop.

Impact/dot matrix printer works by banging a head or needle against an ink ribbon to make a mark on the paper.
Impact printer would generate a louder noise when printing. This could be good in the kitchen as the chef would be notified when orders come in.
Ribbon has to be changed from time to time when the roll comes to an end.
Printing done by impact printer is permanent while thermal printout fades after a period of time.
Impact printer supports 2-ply carbonless paper so you could have 2 printouts in one go.
The certain model supports printing 2 different colors, for example, printing modifier orders in red.

While it is not possible for us to list out all supported models, here are some common ones:

Bluetooth Printer
1) Epson TM-M30
2) Star SM-S220
3) Star TSP-100IIIBI
4) Star TSP-650BTI
5) Star Star mPOP
6) Bixolon SPP-R300

Ethernet Printer
1) Epson TM-T20
2) Epson TM-T88VI
3) Epson TM-U220 (Impact Printer)
4) Star TSP-100
5) Star TSP-650
6) Bixolon SRP-350

If you have any doubt whether the printer you own is supported by MobiPOS, feel free to contact us.

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