Direct thermal vs. thermal transfer
A barcode printer is a valuable investment for any business that relies on data collection. For consistent quality and performance, choose a thermal printer because they are specially designed to print labels and barcodes, while inkjet or laser printers simply cannot provide the required quality and durability. Thermal printers use one of two types of printing technology: direct thermal or thermal transfer. These thermal printing options are the first step in ensuring that your inventory is properly labeled.
Which printer is right for you?
The decision depends on demand. What type of labels and stickers will you produce and, more importantly, where will they be used? To be able to choose between thermal transfer and direct thermal transfer printers, you need to understand what they can provide.
Direct Thermal Printer (DT)
A direct thermal printer uses a print head that heats up and then comes into contact with a chemically treated substrate that reacts to this heat, causing a color change. Direct thermal media is very sensitive to light, so if you need temporary labels or receipts, this printer is an economical choice because it is less expensive and does not require the use of ink, toner or ribbon. With fewer parts, it is easier to maintain than a thermal transfer printer. However, a direct thermal print head, which is an expensive part, has a shorter life because it is in direct contact with the media.
Thermal Transfer (TT)
This two-step printing process applies heat from the print head to a ribbon, which then transfers the image to the media. Ribbons are available in three types: wax, resin and wax/resin. A wax ribbon is suitable for printing on paper media with little or no exposure to light, chemicals or moisture. A resin ribbon is designed to print on synthetic materials to produce labels that are resistant to chemicals and abrasives. The wax/resin ribbon produces the most durable label on a synthetic substrate.
Thermal transfer printers require a ribbon, which is an additional cost, but they provide a more durable barcode or label.
Before investing in a thermal printer, talk to our specialists. We will ensure that the printer meets your needs so that you have a durable solution.