Barcode printers can be divided into thermal printing and thermal transfer printing according to the different printing methods. Both methods use thermal print heads to heat the printing surface. Thermal transfer is to heat the ribbon to print on the printing paper and make it durable. Pattern, thermal printing is not suitable for ribbon, but directly printed on the label paper.

Thermal printers are generally used in places like supermarket receipt printers, POS cash register printing, bank ATM machine receipts, etc., and can be printed directly by installing thermal paper, without ink and ribbon, and low cost.

Bar code printers also obtain printing results by heating the print head thermal transfer ribbon and sometimes can replace thermal printers. It is used to print storage labels, supermarket price labels, medical and pharmaceutical labels, logistics express labels, product labels, authenticity traceability, and other labels.

1. First, let’s take a look at the printing principles of these two printing methods:

thermal tranfer and direct thermal comparison

1.The principle of thermal transfer printing:

In thermal transfer printing, the thermal print head heats the ribbon and the ink melts on the label material to form a pattern. The ribbon material is absorbed by the medium and the pattern forms part of the label. This technology provides pattern quality and durability that other on-demand printing technologies cannot match.

2.The principle of thermal printing:

For thermal media with chemically treated label paper, select the thermal printing method. When the media passes under the thermal print head, it turns black. Thermal printers do not use ink, toner, or ribbon. The simple design makes the thermal printer durable and easy to use. Because there is no ribbon, the operating cost of a thermal printer is lower than that of a thermal transfer printer.

2. The difference between thermal and thermal transfer:

1.Barcode printer printing mode

The thermal transfer barcode printer is dual-mode, which can use both thermal transfer printing mode and thermal printing mode (such as jewelry);

The thermal printer is a single-mode and can only perform thermal printing (such as supermarket receipt printer, movie ticket printer).

2.The label storage time is different

The printing effect of thermal transfer barcode printers can be kept for a long time, at least more than one year;

The printing effect of the thermal printer can be kept for 1-6 months.

3. The cost of consumables is different

Thermal transfer bar code printers need to use ribbons and labels, and the cost is relatively high; thermal bar code printers only require thermal paper, and the cost is lower, but the relative print head consumption is greater.

In some industries, because labels need to be stored for a long time, thermal transfer printers are needed, such as medical labels, supermarket price labels, jewelry labels, clothing storage labels, etc.;
As for cashier receipts, movie tickets, takeaway receipts, express logistics orders, etc., thermal label printers can be used because they do not need so long storage time.