What's Best for My Shipping Labels: Thermal Transfer or Direct Thermal?

Date Posted:9 November 2020 

What's Best for My Shipping Labels: Thermal Transfer or Direct Thermal? main image What's Best for My Shipping Labels: Thermal Transfer or Direct Thermal? image

So you’re looking to ship products, goods or important documents en masse. It’s certainly cost-effective to be printing your own shipping labels, but like many you may have been pulled up short by the confusing choice between direct thermal and thermal transfer labels. Whether you’re getting started printing TNT shipping labels, Startrack labels with barcodes or general shipping labels, here’s what you need to know about thermal transfer labels vs direct thermal labels.


For most shipping label applications, direct thermal labels will be an ideal choice.

Most shipping labels only need to be clearly scannable for a matter of weeks or months, and as such direct thermal printing will suit the vast majority of shipping label needs. With direct thermal printing, the printhead applies heat in selected areas which causes a thermal coating on the label to react and turn dark.


A direct thermal label’s lifespan can generally be anywhere from 6 to 9 months, so if you’re looking for a label that will be clear and scannable for a reasonable amount of time then direct thermal is probably for you. Direct thermal labels are also cost-effective and can be printed quickly, meaning fewer hold-ups in your supply chain.


If you’re planning to print direct thermal labels, we manufacture TNT shipping labels and Startrack labels at the ideal size here in Australia, and can have them on their way to you before you know it.


If your shipping labels need to be particularly durable or long-lasting, then consider thermal transfer labels.

In certain cases you might consider thermal transfer labels for your shipping needs. This can include if the shipping labels need to last for a longer timeframe, or if they could be exposed to extreme conditions. If the shipping labels will be exposed to extreme heat, extreme cold or plenty of sunlight, it could well be worth considering thermal transfer for your labels.


The thermal transfer printing method applies wax or resin to the label from a ribbon, creating a crisp and permanently scannable label which works well for warehousing, retail and other applications. See our competitive wax resin ribbon priced here. Thermal transfer synthetic labels will offer further durability for any labels that may be exposed to water or humidity. Thermal transfer labels are distinctly different to direct thermal labels, as the label stock does not require the same heat-reactive properties.


Here at Thermal Labels we manufacture a vast range of direct thermal and thermal transfer labels from our Sydney base. If there’s something you can’t see on our online store such as specific shapes, stock or styles, simply get in touch and we can quickly set up a custom order to suit your needs. 

$512.00 $470.00

SKU: ZD220D_100150DT1B350P_KIT
Zebra Address Labelling Kit

$579.00 $529.00

SKU: BV410D_100150DT1B350P_KIT
Toshiba Address Labelling Kit


SKU: BV420D_104152CT1B300_KIT
Compostable Shipping Labels Bundle
Out Of Stock

Leave a comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up