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Zebra Printer: Which Thermal Printer is Right for You

By aisltd, Monday, 18th February 2019 | 0 comments
Filed under: Publications.

If you are looking to purchase a zebra printer, then this post is for you. Zebra offers a range of flexible printers which includes the Zebra desktop range if you are limited on space. The Zebra high performance industrial range stands up to the most demanding tasks and will deliver the reliability and power you need.

To help you decide what zebra printer is right for you we have the differences in thermal printers described below.

Choosing the Right Thermal Printer

When it comes to barcode printing, you have thermal transfer and direct thermal, but what’s the difference? If your business relies on data collection you will have a barcode printer. For consistent quality and performance a thermal barcode label printer is advised. The reason for this is that they are purpose built. Thermal printers use one of two types of printing technology and these are thermal and direct thermal. These options are the first step in making sure that your inventory is labelled correctly.

When deciding which zebra printer to buy, the decision will come down to the application. What types of labels and tags will you be producing and where will they be used. In order to make the decision between direct thermal and thermal transfer printers, it is important to understand what each one can deliver.

Direct Thermal Printer

The Zebra direct thermal printer range will use a printhead that heats up and then contracts with chemically treated media that in turn reacts to the heat. This causes a colour change. Direct thermal media is very sensitive to light so if you require temporary labels or receipts, this printer is a good choice and economical too. It is less expensive than other models and it doesn’t use ink, toner, or a ribbon. It also has fewer parts making it easier to service than a thermal transfer printer. However the direct thermal printhead is costly and has a shorter lifespan than thermal transfer models.

Thermal Transfer Printer

This type of zebra printer uses a two-step printing process and applies the heat from the printhead to a ribbon which then transfers the image to the media. The ribbons for these printers are available in three different types: wax, resin, and wax/resin. The wax ribbon is suitable for those printing on paper with little or no exposure to light, chemicals, or moisture. A resin ribbon is designed to print on synthetic material and produces labels that comply with UL/cUL rating. They will also stand up to harsh chemicals and abrasives. The wax/resin ribbon produces the most durable of labels and can be used on synthetic media and with UL/cUL approval.

Thermal transfer printer use a ribbon which is an extra cost but they also provide a longer lasting barcode image and label.

Before you invest in a new Zebra printer, be sure to get in touch with one of our experts who will be happy to go through the range with you and help you choose the right barcode printer for your specific needs. Our experts will match the printer to you so you have a solution that works.



Automatic Identification Systems Ltd


Automatic Identification Systems Ltd
Unit 35 Eastgate Drive,
Little Island, Cork,  
T45 C925, Ireland

Phone: +353 (0)21 2355540


AIS Automation Ltd
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Coes Road Industrial Estate
Dundalk A91 HF95, Ireland

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Barcelona, Spain

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5835 DS Beugen
The Netherlands

Phone: +31 (0)485-561616

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