Direct Thermal vs. Thermal Transfer
Print your own barcodes and labels
Barcode printers and Label printers come in two kinds of printing technologies Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer. Both have their pros and cons and are suitable for different situations. Below is a rundown on the best and worst of both.
Direct Thermal printers work by using the heat of the print head to cause a reaction in the coating of the label paper. Basically the printer burns a barcode or a logo onto the label. This direct process does not need a ribbon which saves you money, but it can only print on special labels made for direct thermal printers.
The downside to this type of printing is that labels will not last a long time. After a period of time the barcode will start to fade and the label will start to blacken. The labels made with direct thermal printers should not be kept in direct sunlight or exposed to high temperatures or under constant heavy lights. The bottom line is direct thermal printing is an inexspensive way to print labels that are for temporary use. If you need a label to last longer than 6 months you should look into purchasing a thermal transfer printer.
Thermal transfer printing produces crisp images onto labels. Heat is still used in this process except the heat does not come in contact with the label. Instead the hot print head causes the resin of a ribbon to form a high quality image on a label. The downside is you have to spend money on ribbons, the upside is you get higher quality print images and more durability. You can also print on many more kinds of paper.
If you have any more questions about the difference between thermal transfer and direct thermal printing please call us at (866)468-5767.
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