There are four different versions of Star TSP143 Receipt Printer compatible with the Shopify POS app on an ipad. Which one should you choose?
The only difference in the printers is how they communicate with your ipad. The printers look and print identical, and the only way to tell them apart is from the connectors on the back.
All four of the printer models connect to a cash draw for automatic opening at the end of a sale.
Which to choose depends on how your ipad will be used and the connections available in your store.
Connects via a wire plugged into the lightning charging port on the ipad. It also keeps your ipad charged while it is plugged in. The latest ipads no longer have a lightning connector (only usb-c) so this printer will not work with those.
The Lightning Printer is a great option if your ipad remains in one place on the counter, usually in a lockable stand. The lockable stands do not fit the latest ipads which are larger than 10".
It doesn't require any connection to a network, so isn't prone to any issues with networks and internet. The ipad plugs directly into the printer with a lightning cable.
It is also around $200 less than the network version of the Star Printers.
How to connect the Lightning Printer with your ipad
NETWORK (LAN) PRINTER
Connects via a network cable to your internet modem. It needs to be plugged into the same network that your ipad is connected to via wifi.
Often requires extra cabling to get a wire from your internet connection to the printer. However being connected with a cable is always more reliable than a wifi or bluetooth connection.
How to connect the LAN Printer with your ipad
Connects to your ipad via bluetooth connection. Needs to be kept in bluetooth range of the ipad.
Requires pairing to your ipad via bluetooth connection.
NETWORK WIFI PRINTER
Connects via network wifi connection to your internet modem.
Requires a strong and reliable wifi connection to the same network modem that your ipad is connected to.
If your ipad is not the latest version, and fixed to the counter and you can locate the printer with cash draw close to it, then the lightning version is possibly the most reliable, and definitely the cheapest option.
If you have a network connection to the modem, or your modem is close to the counter then the LAN version is the most reliable network option.
If your wifi is strong, then that may be an option, otherwise the bluetooth connection is fine if you are in bluetooth range.