It goes without saying that printers are useless without the printer cables. The latter connect printers to your computer or other devices including cameras and high-end IT gadgets. Printer cables are often sold with the printer but some companies sell these items separately.

What are the different types of printer cables?

1. USB Printer Cables

These cables come with a USB connector, often at 480 mbps data transfer capability which is ideal for bulk printing. There are different USB printer cables namely: USB Type A, Type B, Mini B4 and B5 pin and Micro USB A-B.

printer cable

2. Parallel Printer Cables

These are the most traditional printer cables which consist of two parallel connectors that hook up dot matrix printers to computer devices. Such cables have become outdated and are rarely available at new IT shops. If you wish to get aUSB printer cable to replace it, ask for professional help. Many converters are available to modify these old pins.

3. Serial Printer Cables

A serial printer cable has 25-pin serial cable on its ends. Others have 9-pin. It allows swift data transfer but then, there are only few devices compatible with them.

Which is Better - USB, Parallel or Serial Printer Cables? 

USB printer cables are probably the most revolutionary printer cables ever invented to this date. They deliver data at 480 mbps which is way better than the traditional 2 mbps data transfer rate of parallel or serial printer cables. One of the best benefits of using USB printer cables is their capacity to work on multifaceted platforms. They are highly compatible to almost any device as long as it has the USB port. Such printer cables work well with Macintosh, Linux, or UNIX systems.

As they deliver data quickly, it makes printing easier and less time-consuming. The ‘plug and play’ feature of these cables offers a hassle-free installation process. Hence, you won’t need to look for special drivers to make it work. Despite these numerous advantages, USB printer cables are still not the perfect choice at times. The short cable length is one of the major disadvantages. However, these days you can purchase a USB extender to solve this.

Printer Cable Buying Tips 

Before buying any product, you need to do your own homework or research. Foremost, check your device and printer cable’s compatibility. Another thing is the system’s requirement. Be sure that the operating system is compatible with your printer cable. Check the printer driver version as well. Read reviews and trust brands with proven track record of performance. Visit reputable sites that give unbiased reviews and genuine feedback. While it is convenient to purchase online, it is wise to get the product and have it tested.

If you want to get a USB printer cable, you may need to measure the distance between your computer and the printer. Most USB printer cables are short and you might need an extension cord for better performance. But manufacturers have recently released longer USB cables that can reach up to 16 feet.