Epson has been in the receipt printer game of a while, and the FX-890 is still trying to stand out as the best receipt printer for retail operations.
It’s large, in charge has a lot of impressive technology inside, but is it the best receipt printer for your Point of Sale System? The short answer is that the FX-890ii replaced the FX-890 for a reason. The original FX-890 has some great features but misses in a few critical areas that the new and improved version handles.
That said, if you’re able to find an original FX-890, it can be a fantastic budget option for printing invoices and an old favorite of business owners.
Build and Quality
The build quality is by far the most impressive feature of the FX-890. It boasts an impressive 680 CPS (Characters Per Second) for lighting fast printing, and the machine itself is staggeringly durable.
Most printer brands don’t advertise their MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) hours because they don’t want to let you know how often the machine will break. Epson has bucked the trend, and the FX-890 proudly boasts 20,000 powered on hours as the average time between mechanical issues.
That’s over two years of being on 24/7 or almost seven years of 9-5. The FX-890 is also easy to repair yourself. The machine is simple to open up, and replacement parts are not expensive. Seeing as it’s not going to break often, and it’s not a problem when it does, the build of the FX-890 is its best quality.
The FX-890 works with pretty much any older Windows system, connecting via USB and using the ‘Epson Remote Configuration Manager.’ If you’re using a Windows operating system as the backbone for your printing needs, you’re going to need to make sure you’re running on something as old as, or older than Vista.
If you try to run the printer on Windows 10, you’re not going to find the drivers for it.
If you’re looking to use the FX-890 with some other POS Solutions like Square, Shopify or Lightspeed, you’re out of luck. The printer only works with computers and is going to fall short with tablet-based POS systems.
The FX-890 is a receipt printer, but it’s best used for complicated invoices instead of standard retail receipts. The large impact printer is an old-school beast that has a little too much power for basic retail needs.
If you need a more complicated invoice printed on proper 8.5 by 11, it’s hard to find a better option (outside of the FX-890ii.) The FX-890 chews through large projects and won’t leave your customers waiting.
Another strength of the FX-890 when speaking about invoices is the printer’s ability to handle forms that are up to 7 parts long. Four paper paths handle complicated projects well and make sure that everything is printed neatly and in order.
A Master of Harsh Environments
One of the FX-890’s best qualities is that it’s right at home in environments that would make other printers shut down. Auto shops, outdoor sales and other dusty places aren’t going to be a problem for the printer.
Part of this durability comes from being an old-school impact printer. Where thermal printers and their ink cousins will get damaged and ruined by a bit of dust, the impact printer will keep on chugging.
Additionally, as was mentioned above, the printer is expected to work for 20,000 hours before running into issues, so you’re not going to have to cash in that warranty day one.
A Budget Option
The FX-890 isn’t going to break the bank in the world of receipt printers, and once you own it, the upkeep cost is minimal.
The FX-890 replacement parts are much cheaper than thermal printers or the ink for inkjet printers.
The central replacement part for the FX-890 is the ribbon cartridge that acts as the ‘ink.’ That said, the ribbon only costs 8.99 on Amazon and prints 7.5 million characters or 26,785 tweets. No matter the size or amount of invoices you’re printing, that’s a supreme value.
Between a modest buy-in cost and cheap upkeep, the FX-890 is one of the best budget invoice printers that you’re going to find on the market.
The Newer Version
The FX-890ii replaced the FX-890 for a good reason, and the newer version of the printer boasts significant improvements from the last time around.
First of all, it’s compatible with newer Windows systems, including Windows 10, so you’re never going to have issues with running it on a new computer.
Second of all, the printer speed has been upped even higher—the FX-890ii prints at almost a hundred more characters a minute. The original FX-890 is a fast invoice printer, but the 890ii is even faster.
Finally, the 890ii is a continuous form printer, a feature that the original FX-890 lacks. This means you cannot use continuous form paper with the FX-890 unless you pre-cut the sheets.
The Epson FX-890 is an excellent solution for rough environments, and if you’re trying to replace your FX-890 after ten years and don’t want to change Windows operating systems, it’s a fantastic option.
That said, the FX-890ii is a strict upgrade, and as the original FX-890 becomes harder to find, it’s slipping in our rankings.
If you’ve fallen in love with the FX-890 and want to replace yours, or you’re picking one up used, it’s still a good contender for printing invoices, but if you’re looking to pick up something new, we would suggest taking a look at the FX-890ii for something a little faster and modern.