Receipt printer selection guide
Published by Kelvin Low on 3rd May 2019
Are you setting up a retail shop, or a cafe and planning to roll up the sleeves and DIY to setup the POS systems at your own? We are preparing this guide and hope it is helpful to you. Please keep in mind that this guide only apply to iPad POS systems.
iPad POS software will usually built-in the driver of compatible printers and save the steps to install driver while stting up connection between device and the printer. Thanks to Apple MFI certification which ensure that the printer is fully compliance with iOS framework and make it effortless to setup the connectivity with printers. With that you do not have to worry about the technical complexity and just jump straight into connecting the wires (well, not applicable if you are choosing wireless printers) and making some parameter setting on the iPad POS app and it is ready.
There are 3 types of interfaces that commonly use by iPad POS, and they are the USB, Ethernet (LAN) and Bluetooth. Both Ethernet and Bluetooth interface printers have its pros and cons depends on your use cases. For example, if you are running a cafe with few waiters taking orders together, Star micronics TSP100IIIE will probably be your choice vs TSP654IIBti Bluetooth printer. The TSP100IIIU USB receipt printer is the recent model that carry the most advanced features such as "plug and play" like setup experience.
With our past experience setting up more than thousands of printers, we will try to give you neutral and concise judgement (our judgement) to help you choose the right printer(s) minus bog down my frequent technical issues for getting the wrong one. We will elaborate on some simple troubleshooting tips that help you to confront some common issues that others is experiencing. After all, if you can fix the problem yourself, you can get back to selling more sooner isn't it?
Here we go!
Ethernet printers are required to connect to a router. Some common models are Star Micronics TSP143IIIU, Star Micronics TSP143IIIE, Star Micronics TSP654IIE LAN, and Epson TM-T88V. These models are embedded with Network Interface card and able to connect to a router and obtain an IP Address. And once this connection established, the iPad POS software will be able to detect the printer and start printing.
The alternative choice of more advanced printer is using Bluetooth Interface. Leveraging on the characteristic of Bluetooth connectivity, this printer is easy to configure, automatically reconnect and more resilient to the hardware issue. The common model of Bluetooth printer is Star Micronics TSP654IIBTi, Star Micronics SM-S220i, Star Micronics SM-300i. We will elaborate the pros and cons of the Bluetooth next.
Thanks to Apple and Star Micronics technology advancement and TSP100IIIU is the ultimate version of thermal receipt printer that you can find for iPad POS. It is responsive, reliable, and easy to setup. Most iPad POS systems support this model and our best selling models. And guess one, this printer has 0% fault rate and less than 1% technical support request since launching last year.
TSP100IIIU receive a major upgrade which last 2x longer than the previous generation TSP100II.
|Fast printing and work for most of the iPad POS systems. Such as Vend, Shopify, Square & Timely POS. The USB interface is most advanced interface in iOS POS systems that promote superior printing speed and ultra simple setup process (just connect cable).||USB printer does not really have any short coming as it has been the most advanced printer ever build for iPad POS.|
|Paper "ironing" function to keep the printed receipt flat and not curl. And the improvised cutter able to endure 2 times of the lifespan that the previous model.||No applicable.|
Ethernet / LAN / Network Printer
Star Microncs TSP100IIIE build receive same components like TSP100IIIU but connect with T-base 10/100 Ethernet card. It is a good companion for cafe or restaurant that require concurrent printing from multiple ordering iPad. The printer ship with dynamic IP which make it so easy to connect to a router. Star Micronics even release utility app that help you to discover the printer and configure to static IP and gateway for production use.
|Fast printing and work for most of the iPad POS systems. Such as Vend, Hike, Shopify, Square & Loyverse. The network interface has the larger bandwidth to transmit data and that translate to faster response when an order has been sent to the printer.||More complex setup as it requires to attach to a router. Most of the Network printer ship in Dynamic IP settings to make it easy to connect to a router. But due to the Dynamic IP mode, the IP address may change when power on/off the router or printer. This will disrupt the software as the IP address is usually hard coded in the software.|
|Sharing by multiple devices connected to the same network. It is especially useful for F&B ordering as there might be multiple printers and iPad running simultaneously to take order and print order ticket. The Ethernet printers allow to be shared by any of the iPad within the network and allow waiters to take order simulteneously.||As the LAN printer require to connect to a router which makes it a prone to failure if there is any network issue and include scenario when heavy network traffic which slowing down data transfer on the network. Another potential issue is due to other networking devices with high bandwidth usage such as CCTV or IP TV. A proper network planning is require to minimize the disruption.|
TSP650IIBTi is a popular Bluetooth receipt printer design for iPad POS systems. Prior to the release of TSP100IIIU, this is the best selling models at Square.sg. Compare to TSP100 series, the TSP650 series are more capable in speed of printing, and handle both rasterized (image mode) and line mode printing. It is highly adaptable to both retail and F&B business as line mode printing is going at 300mm/sec full speed!
It is easy to setup TSP650 too if you have ever pair the wireless headset with you phone. Just press and hold on the pairing button to toggle the pairing mode and go to your phone and select the printer and it is done!
|Very easy to setup as the Bluetooth printer does not need to connect to any intermediate devices. Bluetooth printer usually links up with iPad directly and form a dedicated channel to transmit the data for both ends.||Bluetooth channels are not as fast as Ethernet, in some cases when large amount data being transmitted. Some delay of the printing can be detected.|
|Highly portable. It is especially good for business which runs onsite and offsite. The merchant only needs to carry the printer, cash drawer, and iPad and they are ready to sell. Most of the iPad POS systems are capable to operate online and offline. The portability of Bluetooth printer makes it even easier to sell anywhere.||Single channel. As Bluetooth devices only connect to another device, Bluetooth printer is not really the right model if you are sharing the printer with multiple iPad (for order taking).|
It is important that you know your requirements before choosing the right models. If you need any help from us to recommend the right models to you, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.