A parallel port in computing is used to refer to a connection or an interface that allows computers to send or receive data between other devices such as printers.
Data through this interface is transmitted as a single byte or multiple bytes simultaneously.
Parallel ports for printers were introduced in the 1970s by Centronics Data Computer Corporation. It was later standardized in 1994 by the IEEE.
The data is transmitted between the supported ports through a parallel cable with a recommended maximum length of 10 feet.
Prior to when USB became the standard communication protocol for printers, parallel port was the standard. All computer motherboard were built with parallel ports for supporting printers and other devices.
Unfortunately, parallel ports have almost gone obsolete.
Fortunately though, some printers still come with a parallel port although it was replaced in many modern models by the USB port.
In this article we will have a look at the select few best printers with parallel port you can still find in the market.
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Importance of Parallel Port Now
Parallel ports have been around for decades. They have been used to connect PCs with peripheral devices.
The port had been designed to transfer a single bit of data on every two wires. This, of course, had a lot of implications for the data transfer rates at the time.
They were originally intended to be used with printers when they were developed. With improvement, parallel ports were able to transmit data bidirectionally.
Although the parallel port has been replaced with the USB port in most PCs to connect to peripheral devices, there are some typical use cases where the interface comes in handy.
Parallel ports are considered to be a legacy port (a port that is fully or partially replaced by another).
Small machines lack the space for the parallel port. However, it is used by electronics hobbyists and enthusiasts to connect to external circuit boards and embedded systems for development and debugging.
They are great for embedded systems in industrial usage where a USB port is unavailable.
This is still one of the fastest legacy ports available and as such, it is still quite useful and doesn’t require a serial-to-parallel converter.
If you happen to have an old piece of industrial equipment that can print details via the printer, chances are that it would only support a parallel port connection.
List of Best Printers with Parallel Port in 2020
Here we have selected the following printers as the best ones currently available with parallel port.
- Epson Stylus C88+ – Color Inkjet Printer – Uses Pigment Ink – Highly Recommended
- Epson LQ-2090II – Dot Matrix Printer
- HP LaserJet 2200dn – A High Volume Monochrome Laser Printer
- Lexmark MS310 – High Speed Monochrome Laser Printer
- Zebra – GC420t – A Monochrome Thermal Transfer Label Printer
1. Epson Stylus C88+ – Color Inkjet Printer – Uses Pigment Ink – Highly Recommended
- 1 x 9.5 x 7.6 Inches
- 14 Pounds
Despite being small and compact, this color inkjet printer uses a four-color pigment ink system to make those pictures come out clear and sharp.
Pigment ink is highly sought after by those who create graphics. Since this ink is water resistant and smudge proof, it is excellent for use on outdoor banners and leaflets.
Furthermore, this printer can carry out borderless printing on various media types such as plain paper, card stock, airmail and bond paper.
The device has a single input tray that can take 120 sheets of paper. It is a small printer and can produce monochrome prints with a maximum printing speed of 23 ppm and color prints at 14 ppm maximum. This makes the device quickly complete printing tasks which can be good for busy individuals.
The printer works with various operating systems like Windows and Mac. It also comes with a photo editing software that can make image manipulation a breeze due to its ease of use. Connectivity on this device is mostly wired, through USB 2.0 and a parallel port.
On the downside, the printer lacks support for WIFI connectivity. This means that every use case with the device needs to have it connected via a wire.
Additionally, the printer also lacks the copy function and also consumes a lot of ink as is the case with pigment ink printers
For an inkjet printer, this device comes with a pretty affordable price tag. If you are specifically looking for a pigment ink printer, then this is certainly one of the best printers with parallel port.
Its use of a parallel cable means that it would work perfectly with older PCs that have this port. However, since this is primarily a graphics printer, its use case of industrial use would be limited.
You should also note that this one of the latest printers that still offers a parallel port. Most of the printers listed here are older models.
Also Read: Best Printers for Graphic Design
2. Epson LQ-2090II – Dot Matrix Printer
- 29 x 18 x 12 Inches
- 27 Pounds
The Epson LQ-2090II is one of Epson’s entries in a long line of dot matrix printers. The model is built for speed and reliability.
Dot-matrix printers use pins that impact an ink ribbon against the printing medium to make prints. They tend to be expensive and do not produce high-quality prints compared to most modern printers.
Also, they are considered to be outdated. They do, however, come in handy in industrial and commercial applications like printing receipts and they are also capable of printing multiple copies at once using a carbon copy strip.
Besides dot matrix printing, the LQ-2090II can also do monochrome prints. It can print at a fast speed of 550 characters per second with a spacing of 10 characters per inch. Producing high volume prints is one of the best aspects of this printer making it not only efficient but also reliable for industrial use.
Connecting to the printer can be done either through its USB port or the parallel cable port. This allows support for devices that have a parallel interface but lack a USB port. This is useful for legacy devices.
The printer is also very durable. It is built to withstand humidity, dust, and extreme temperatures and since it has few moving parts, the risk of getting breakdowns is reduced.
While the use cases for this printer are limited, if you want a dot matrix option, then this among the best printers with parallel port.
3. HP LaserJet 2200dn – A High Volume Monochrome Laser Printer
Dimensions and Weight
- 22 x 20 x 18 Inches
- 8 Pounds
If you are looking for a high-volume laser printer at an affordable price then this is the printer for you. The LaserJet 2200dn is a suitable HP monochrome laser printer that can churn out pages relatively fast.
This is a monochrome laser printer which means that the outputs can only be black and white. Nevertheless, the device has a high-speed output that is rated at 19 ppm for prints that are letter-sized and 18ppm for prints that are A4 sized.
The device comes with a built-in automatic duplexer that allows printing on two sides of a paper without the need for manual intervention.
It also features two paper input trays, a 250-sheet and a 100-sheet paper input tray for paper handling. The auto-duplexer and the large capacity input tray makes it fast and convenient for users to get their prints done with minimal effort.
With its 40,000-page monthly duty cycle, this device can easily service a small-sized office or some small workgroups.
The device comes with several connection options that support printing from various devices.
It has a USB port for supported USB connections, a parallel interface connection, and an Ethernet connection. You can also print from cameras and computers that are IrDA compliant. The printer has a Fast Infrared receiver that creates a connection for wireless printing with the compliant devices.
The infrared connectivity has gone obsolete and since this printer is an old model, it is excellent for embedded system or industrial hardware with the older parallel port connection.
4. Lexmark MS310 – High Speed Monochrome Laser Printer
- 15 x 15.7 x 10.3 Inches
- 86 Pounds
The Lexmark MS310 is also a monochrome printer like the HP 2200DN above.
That said, the only output that can be gotten from this device is black and white. However, the printer itself can serve as a great monochrome printer for a small office, mainly since it does high-quality prints.
This laser printer boasts a rated maximum printing speed of a whopping 35 pages per minute, making it a high-speed printer. This speed is on part with some of the best printers out there in the market.
Furthermore, on this device, you can get the first output page in as little as 6.5 seconds. It has a 250-sheet input tray and a 50-sheet multipurpose tray. The printer is also easy to set up and use.
Printing connections can be made to the printer through Ethernet, USB and a Parallel port. These allow for easy integration with both modern devices that have a USB port and legacy devices that still use a Parallel cable and interface. If you want an alternative with networking capabilities, the MS310dn is a good option.
The printer also works with the common operating systems like Windows and Mac, however, support for Linux is not available.
The device uses high yield Lexmark laser toner cartridges that are very reliable. This makes the printer suitable for myriad of applications.
All in all, if it speed that you are after, then this is one of the best printers with parallel port. Its compact design coupled with its reliability and speed can help enhance a user’s productivity.
Also Read: Best Printers for Small Business
5. Zebra – GC420t – A Monochrome Thermal Transfer Label Printer
Dimensions and Weight
- 4 x 7.9 x 6.8 Inches
- 31 Pounds
This thermal transfer printer is the only one of its kind on this list. To begin with, it is the smallest printer in terms of both its physical size and weight.
The thermal printer is great for printing items such as labels, tags, wrist bands, receipts and bar codes. It prints monochrome only.
The printer does not use ink to print, ergo, no need for a toner. It uses a different technology altogether, known as thermal transfer. This is where a ribbon of either resin or wax is used thus making the cost of printing almost nil.
Owing to its size, the printer is limited in the size of documents it can produce. To be specific, the device can print on paper with a maximum width of 4.25 inches. This is printed on a roll of paper whose maximum diameter should be equal to or less than 5 inches.
The device is cheap to acquire and quite easy to use as well. It is very reliable and can be used for up to medium volume printing.
It produces enterprise-grade results. Printing speeds are decent. The Zebra-GC420t is capable of printing 4 inches per second.
Basically, this is a device that most would procure for creating shipping and product labels. It is NOT something that you would use for printing documents and sheets etc. This it has a very specific use.
The device can be configured to work with both Windows and Mac OS and also features support for Linux-based Operating Systems.
In the end, if you want to create labels only, then this one of the best printers with parallel port.
Also Read: Best Label Printers
As you can see, parallel port is an obsolete port. It has almost completely been replaced by USB. However, there are certain devices, especially old industrial or embedded hardware, that still use parallel ports.
In that case, the best printers for parallel port mentioned above would certainly come in handy.
You must note that since they are older models, they do not feature current gen features like WiFi, Bluetooth etc.