Thermal printing is a digital printing process, which produces an image on a thermal paper. When the paper passes over the thermal printer head, the coating turns black in areas upon heating up, and an image will be produced. Thermal printers can either print in black, or in colours by applying different temperatures. There are numerous factors to select the right thermal printer for your business. For example, printing frequency, bar code requirements, ease of use, operating cost and many more. Many businesses have their printing priorities change from time to time, and make mistake in investing on overly expensive labelling process like inkjet and laser printing. Purpose-built thermal printer is a more cost effective solution to modest label printing volumes. Cost aside, thermal printers are more convenient, with more media options, more consistent print quality and has unmatched performance for barcode printing. This article compares thermal printers to other alternatives in the market, and explains how to select the right thermal printer.

Thermal Printers vs Laser & Inkjet Printers

Thermal printer works on controlled heat to create images onto the printing media. There is no ink or toner needed, the only supply needed for thermal printing is the label or stock paper itself, hence bringing the operating cost low comparing to the likes of laser and inkjet printers. Since the thermal labels come in rolls, they can be conveniently printed on demand to the exact quantity without having to use an entire sheet.

Laser and inkjet printers print on media like paper sheets, and can be relatively expensive on cost per label basis. Comparatively, thermal printers support a wide range of printing media, from basic receipt papers, labels, plastic films, composite material and the list goes on. This allows for a wider range of application. They can be used with durable media, suitable for use in frozen storage, clean and other environment that would degrade conventional label stocks.

However, thermal printers are not well suited for general office document printing. Most thermal printing modules are optimized for printing labels that ranges from 2 to 8 inches wide, and thus not suitable for office document in A4 or letter sizes.

Choosing The Right Thermal Printer

Before you go into purchasing a thermal printer, you must first determine the task, or purpose. Here are several questions you have to determine:

  • Is your label printing a temporary or a long term solution?
  • What output requirements do your thermal printer needs?
  • What kind of materials do you have to thermal print on to?
  • What extent of maintenance and service time is expected?

There will be many factors to be considered beyond the cost of initial purchase. Since thermal printers are designed for label printings, these considered factors should revolve around label printing uses, regardless of type or volume of labels printed.

Choosing Thermal Printers For Its Low Operating Cost

Studies have shown that thermal printers have the cost advantage over conventional printers. Supply cost alone allows for an advantage for thermal printers. Thermal printers are also much preferred for their long product life cycle, with minimal maintenance and service needed. For comparison, laser labels are 1.8 times more expensive than thermal labels, and laser shipping labels are four times more expensive. On the other hand, inkjet label is 1.4 times more expensive than thermal labels. Therefore, if long term operating cost is one of your priority, pick thermal printers.

In conclusion, thermal printers are proven to be more versatile, more reliable, and more cost saving. Case studies have shown that manufacturers are able to cut costs by 57% with the switch to thermal printers. Grand-flo offers a wide variety of thermal printers to your specific demands. Browse through our website, or contact us directly if you wish to know more.