What Thermal Printer Supplies Do I Need?

Date Posted:17 July 2023 

What Thermal Printer Supplies Do I Need? main image What Thermal Printer Supplies Do I Need? image

Thermal printers have become an indispensable tool in various industries, offering efficient and reliable printing solutions. However, to ensure optimal performance and longevity of your thermal industrial label printer, it's essential to use the right supplies. In this article, we’ll explore the most important thermal printer supplies you need to consider for your printing needs. 


Thermal paper

When it comes to knowing what you need for a thermal printer, choosing the right type of paper is crucial. There are two main options to consider: direct thermal paper and thermal transfer paper.


The first option is direct thermal paper, which is coated with a special heat-sensitive layer that darkens when exposed to heat. This type of paper is commonly used for short-term applications such as:

  • Receipts
  • Shipping labels
  • Event tickets 
  • Food labels
  • Retail tags
  • Parking tickets


Direct thermal paper is a convenient option as it eliminates the need for ink or ribbons. However, direct thermal paper is also more susceptible to fading over time, especially when exposed to heat, light, or chemicals.


On the other hand, thermal transfer paper requires the use of a thermal transfer ribbon. The printer applies heat to the ribbon, which then transfers the ink onto the paper. This method provides more durable and long-lasting prints, making it ideal for applications that require resistance to environmental factors like heat, moisture, and chemicals. Thermal transfer labels are commonly used for:

  • Product labels
  • Barcodes
  • Asset tags
  • Compliance labels
  • Inventory and warehouse management
  • Industrial labels
  • Pharmaceutical and healthcare


Thermal transfer ribbons

If you opt for thermal transfer paper, you will need thermal transfer ribbons. These thermal ribbon rolls are made of ink and come in various formulations, each designed for specific printing requirements.

  • Wax ribbons are the most cost-effective option and are suitable for printing on uncoated or matte labels. They offer good print quality but may not provide the same level of durability as other ribbon types.
  • Resin ribbons, on the other hand, are highly durable and resistant to chemicals, abrasion, and extreme temperatures. They are commonly used for applications like pharmaceutical labels, outdoor signage, and industrial tags.
  • Wax/resin ribbons offer a nice balance between durability and cost-effectiveness. They provide good print quality and can withstand some exposure to environmental factors, making them suitable for a wide range of applications.


Food for thought: Choosing the right thermal transfer ribbon depends on the specific requirements of your printing application. Consider factors such as label material, expected durability, and environmental conditions to make an informed decision.


Labels and printing material

As well as the obvious paper and ribbons, other critical thermal printer supplies include labels and other printing materials. Labels come in various sizes, shapes, and materials, allowing you to customise your printing based on specific needs.


For instance, direct thermal labels are coated with a heat-sensitive layer, similar to direct thermal paper. These labels are suitable for short-term applications such as shipping labels, retail tags, and receipts. However, they may fade over time and are not suitable for long-term use.


Thermal transfer labels, meanwhile, are compatible with thermal transfer printing. They offer excellent print quality and durability, making them ideal for product labels, barcodes, and inventory tags that require long-lasting readability.


When selecting labels, consider factors such as adhesion strength, label size, and material compatibility with your printing application. Some common label materials include paper, polyester, polypropylene, and vinyl, each offering different levels of durability and resistance to environmental conditions.


Cleaning supplies

To maintain the performance and longevity of your thermal printer, regular cleaning is essential. Over time, debris, dust, and residue can accumulate on the printhead, affecting print quality and potentially causing damage. This means that investing in thermal printer supplies for cleaning is necessary.


Cleaning swabs or wipes specifically designed for thermal printers are available in the market. These cleaning tools usually contain a mild cleaning solution that effectively removes ink residue and debris from the printhead. Additionally, some cleaning supplies include lint-free cloths or cleaning cards that aid in maintaining the overall cleanliness of the printer.


Regular cleaning not only enhances print quality but also helps prevent printhead clogging and extends the lifespan of your thermal printer. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for cleaning procedures and frequency to achieve the best results.

For more information on how thermal printer supplies can help ensure optimal performance and longevity of your thermal printer, get in touch with our friendly team who will be able to provide further help. Alternatively, feel free to browse our products and get started on protecting your thermal printer with the right tools.