Thermal Transfer


  • Face stock & Ribbon


  • Different face stock/ribbon combinations can provide scratch, smudge and chemical resistance

  • Less expensive material than Direct Thermal

  • All material is scan-able in both visible and infrared light

  • Much more face stock choices

  • Longer printhead life


  • Can be very costly for short term applications

  • Timely and messy to change ribbons

  • Ribbon lengths rarely match label rolls lengths

Direct Thermal


  • Face stock only


  • More cost effective for short term, visible light scanable, paper applications

  • Less down time on printer without having to change the ribbon

  • Most used in medical applications where the end-user cannot afford to waste time or get hands dirty from the ribbon

  • Glove friendly adhesive for medical applications


  • Cannot withstand UV light or high temperature exposure

  • Face stock costs more for near infrared or infrared scanability

  • Shorter shelf life

  • No options for scratch resistance

  • Few options for chemical resistance

  • Costly to replace the printhead more often