How is direct thermal printing different from thermal transfer?

Direct thermal printing is a specialized printing technology that uses rapidly heated pins that selectively activate a heat sensitive coating applied to the facestock thus forming the desired image. Thermal transfer is thermal printing process using a temperature sensitive ribbon that through heat and pressure is selectively transferred to a printable surface thus creating the desired image. The ink is transferred from the ribbon to the print surface thus the term “thermal transfer.” Which one is right for you will depend on your labeling needs.

Direct Thermal

  • Bright white paper with a high sensitivity thermal coating
  • All-temperature adhesive
  • Cost-effective material for grocers
  • Warehouse, shipping, barcodes
  • Great for on the go labeling

Thermal Transfer

  • A bright white paper that can handle heat or sunlight
  • Resistant to fading and smearing
  • Ideal for barcode applications
  • More durable & longer shelf life
  • Can print colors other than black

We carry thermal transfer and direct thermal labels in common ready-to-order sizes. If the size you’re looking for isn’t listed, please ask our customer service team for more information. We are happy to work with you on the custom sizes you need.