Direct Thermal vs Thermal Transfer
"Does my printer need a ribbon?"

What's the difference? The most common question we receive is "what's the difference between thermal transfer and direct thermal printing"? Both methods use a print head which applies heat to the label substrate.

Thermal Transfer which transfers heat from the printers print-head, through the ribbon onto the labels. The type of wax on the ribbon can require more or less heat from the print head.

Direct Thermal images the label with no ribbon, by transferring heat directly on the surface from the print head to the label. The chemical coating on a direct thermal label turns black where heat is applied. Each label type has different uses. We can help you choose the right label or thermal printer to meet your application requirements.

We provide OEM solutions and our own repair solutions for leading manufacturers. These manufacturers include Zebra Technologies, (formerly Motorola and Symbol), Honeywell which include Intermec, Honeywell, LXE and Datalogic. Our technology support solutions are built on ISO 9001:2008-certified quality processes and our cloud-based maintenance management solution.

Thermal Transfer vs Direct Thermal
 
 
Direct Thermal labels-

Commonly known as receipt paper, direct thermal labels can be printed using a direct thermal or thermal transfer printer.

  • Material: The majority of Direct Thermal labels are paper, paper tags and limited synthetic labels.
  • Uses: Most often used as retail receipts and shipping labels.
  • Advantages: No need for ribbon • Inexpensive to purchase and print • Great for mobile receipt printers.
  • Disadvantages: No need for ribbon • Inexpensive to purchase and print • Great for mobile receipt printers.
 
Thermal Transfer labels-

Thermal Tarnsfer labels require a ribbon to create an image and can be pritned using only a thermal transfer printer.

  • Material: The majority of Direct Thermal labels are paper, paper tags and limited synthetic labels.
  • Uses: Because Thermal Transfer labels have a durable wax image, they are used for a very wide variety of applications, Everything from shipping labels to asset marking, product labels, and much more.
  • Advantages: Slightly less expensive than Direct Thermal labels.
  • Disadvantages: Requires a ribbon.
 
 
 

For more information or to enroll, please fill out the form or call us at 888-237-8525.

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