Thermal Transfer and Direct Thermal Print Methods

Barcode Label Printers use one of two print methods in order to print on labels or tags.

Direct Thermal (DT)

Thermal Labels for DT print methodsThese printers use the heat from the printhead to cause a chemical reaction on the thermal labels and the area that is heated turns black producing the print. Therefore no ribbon is used for this method of printing. The abbreviation for Direct Thermal used on this site is “DT”.


Thermal Transfer (TT)

Thermal Transfer RibbonThese printers also use the heat from the printhead. But to rather transfer the ink from the ribbon onto the label. The thermal transfer method produces a much longer lasting printed label that is not easily affected by heat, liquid or direct sunlight. The abbreviation for Thermal Transfer Printers is “TT”.

Thermal Transfer Ribbons are available in Wax, Wax/Resin or Resin. The type of ribbon used will be determined by the type of label you will be printing on.

Using a ribbon on the barcode label printer will extend the life of the Thermal Print Head. The ribbon is smooth and not as abrasive as the labels that will eventually cause the Print Head to wear.