As thermal label printers have become a necessity for businesses ranging from start-ups to large corporations with hundreds of branches, people are buying them like hotcakes. However, when it comes to Label printers, they often get confused between the thermal printer and thermal transfer printers and as they sound so similar, they end up getting the wrong printer. While these technologies are different and are designed to serve different purposes. Therefore, it is important to choose the right printer to meet the right purpose and the only way to do it is by learning which one serves which purpose.

What is the difference between a Thermal printer, and a thermal transfer printer?

Although both types of printers use heating technology to print an image or label that are sharp, best-in-quality, and necessary for reading they use separate methods to print.

Thermal printer: It uses direct thermal technology along with a chemically treated ribbon that is sensitive to heat. The printing head blackens away as it passes. With a thermal printer, there is no need to use ink, ribbon, or tonner that are usually involved in other printing methods.

Thermal transfer printer:4-Inch Label Printer uses the ribbon between printhead and label. Once the ribbon is heated the image is transferred.

Pros and cons of technologies

While you learned about the basics of these two printing technologies- gaining knowledge about the share of pros and cons they offer to users.

Thermal printer

Pros of the Best Label Printer

  • Uncomplicated design
  • Low operating cost
  • Two elements labeling

Cons of 4-inch Thermal Label Printer

  • Images may fade over time

Thermal transfer printer

Pros of the best thermal transfer Printer

  • More durable images
  • Superior image quality
  • Long-term readability
  • Works with a variety of materials

Cons of thermal transfer Printer

  • It costs more
  • Difficult to maintain
  • Use consumable parts


Based on the basics, pros, and cons of both printing technologies, thermal label printers are ideal for printing shipping labels, bills, pick-up tickets, receipts, and inventory labels. On the other hand, thermal transfer printers will be the perfect fit to create asset tags, serial numbers, patients’ wristbands, and material certificates. Moreover, you can always consult with professionals at Spata Technology– one of the leading printer providers in the market to assist you to choose the printer that fits your needs. Feel free to check out the website to learn more!

Leave a Reply