The difference between thermal printing and thermal transfer printing

The difference between thermal printing and thermal transfer printing

  1. Different printing consumables

Consumables used by thermal printers: thermal paper. The thermal paper is coated with a layer of coating that changes color when exposed to heat, which is similar to photosensitive film, but this layer of coating will change color when exposed to heat. Because of this characteristic of the thermal coating, Sensitive printing technology invented; (Note: Thermal printers can only use special thermal paper)

Consumables used by thermal transfer printers: self-adhesive label paper, PET, PVC, wash label, tag and other label media, and thermal paper can also be used for printing;


2. The shelf life is different

The storage time of the media printed by the thermal printer is short, usually half a year to one year! (It depends on the storage location, luminosity, temperature and other environment to determine the actual shelf life);

The storage time of the media printed by the thermal transfer printer is longer, generally more than two years (specifically, it depends on the quality of the label paper and ribbon used);

3. The cost is different:

The cost of thermal printer is lower, and the consumables are also lower; the cost of thermal transfer machine and consumables are higher than the cost of thermal machine;


  1. The scope of application is different

Thermal printers are suitable for supermarkets, clothing stores, logistics, retail and other companies that do not require high bar codes;

Thermal transfer printers are suitable for manufacturing, automobile industry, textile industry, telecommunications industry, food sector, electronics industry, chemical industry, pharmaceutical industry, medical industry, public utilities, retail distribution industry, transportation and logistics, government agencies, etc. enterprise;

In contrast, thermal printing does not require ribbons and is economical. In fact, thermal printing requires the use of thermal paper, which is much more expensive than ordinary paper. In order to save money, some users try to buy the cheapest media on the Internet or from cheap vendors. This approach may save limited costs, but inferior materials may reduce the service life of the print head, affect print quality, and often lead to higher total costs. The creator here recommends that users look for the brand specified by the printer equipment manufacturer when purchasing print media separately, so as to avoid unnecessary losses.

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