8 Types of Output Devices [Explained]

What is an Output Device?

The output device receives information from the computer and provides them to the users. The computer sends information to the output devices in the binary-coded form.

The output devices convert them into a form such as printed form or display on a screen, which can be used by the users. The commonly used output devices are the monitor and printer.

There are mainly two types of output devices

  • Soft copy output device
  • Hard copy output device

Soft Copy Output Devices

Softcopy output is an output that is not produced on paper or some materials which can not be touched or carried for being shown to others.

They are temporary in nature and vanish after use. For e.g. output display by a monitor is a softcopy output.

Hard Copy Output Devices

The hard copy output device is an output that is produced on paper or some materials which can be touched or carried for being shown to others.

They are permanent in nature and can be looked at later when the person is not using the computer. For e.g. the output produced by the printer is a hard copy output. Types of hardcopy output devices are:


Monitors are the most popular output devices used today for producing a soft copy output. The monitor is often called a visual display unit or visual display terminal.

The two basic types of monitors used today are CRT and flat panel displays.

A monitor that looks like a TV screen uses CRT technology in which an image is formed by an electron shooting stream of an electron at the screen. In a color monitor, there are three guns corresponding to the three primary colors red, green, and blue combined to produce various screen colors.

The flat panel display is thinner, and lighter, and is commonly used with a portable computer system. As compared to a CRT monitor, a flat panel consumes less electricity, less space, and is more expensive.

The flattest panel used LCD technology. LCD technology is used for portable which requires less power but for a large monitors, this technology is not suitable. Hence, for a large monitor plasma display technology is used.


Printers are commonly used output devices. They provide information in a permanent readable form. They produced the printed output of results, programs, and data.

The output of a printer is often called a hard copy. It also includes an impact and non-impact printer. They are:

  • Impact Printer – Impact printers are an electromechanical mechanism that causes hammers or pins to strike against a ribbon and paper to print the text. They are noisier kinds of printers. The output of this printer is low and slow as compared to a non-impact printer.
  • Non-Impact Printer – The non-impact printer refers to those printers that do not use an electromechanical printing head to strike against a ribbon and a paper. The quality of this printer is very high. They are less noisy also faster than an impact printer.

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