The two types of Thermal Receipt Printers are direct and Transfer Thermal Printer.The choice is made on the purpose of printing.

What is direct thermal printing?
The thermal receipt printer uses heat for printing from a chemical treated thermal print head. It does not make use of ink, ribbon or toner, and is compact. The paper passes under the thermal print head. The chemical treated print head darkens the image and prints it in the path of the print head. The image appears lighter or faded if exposed to excessive heat or light. The POS thermal receipt printer uses both direct and transfer print technology.

What is thermal transfer printing?
Thermal transfer printing uses a print head thermal technology. It uses ink, ribbon or toner unlike, the chemical treated print head in direct thermal. It melts wax on ribbon and binds it on paper to print the image.

Thermal printer

There are certain key differences in these two printing technologies.

Direct thermal Printing

  • Direct thermal printers are simple to use. They are affordable and cost-effective. The maintenance cost is low due to low replacement parts and has long term maintenance.
  • The batch printing or single label print option has no wastage. There are recyclable label printing materials available in the market.
  • Direct thermal printers do not make use of ink, toner or ribbons for printing purposes. There is no extra cost on extra material usage.
  • These thermal receipt printers are for short term or one-time use. It is well suited for indoor printing.
  • The direct thermal printer price is available at a lower price compared to thermal transfer printers. As the thermal printer works on heat, it does not need extra materials for printing.
  • Direct thermal printers are for sharp prints, scalability, and durability. Easy to scan and have a long life span. They are low in maintenance and often used for barcode printing applications.
  • Direct thermal printing is sensitive to excessive light and heat. With excessive exposure, the printed image gets darkened and difficult to read.
  • The chemical on the printed image remains active even after printing. It is to be coated with UV light resistance, chemical exposure, and abrasion.
  • Used for short term printing applications like coupons, tickets, shipping labels, etc.
  • Thermal receipt printers use this method as it is a one-time printing usage.

Thermal transfer printing

  • This thermal receipt printer prints superior and accurate text print, barcodes, and images. The images are consistent, precise and reliable. You can use thermal paper, polypropylene and a variety of paper for printing.
  • The labels printed on the thermal transfer receipt printer are long-lasting. They are tough and are not affected by heat and moisture.
  • As they are available in 1d and 2d. There are a vast choice and varied thermal printer price options. The POS receipt printer available in 1D and 2D technologies.
  • One does not have to spend on the repair on thermal printer. The print head lasts for a long time.
  • The thermal print price might pinch you as one has to change the ribbons. 
  • The thermal printer price varies from moderate to high due to installation costs. There are no recycling options.
  • The ribbon melts into the label material if there is a mismatch. Special adhesives are used for long-lasting print images and barcodes.

Choose the right type of thermal receipt printer as per your applications and business.