System ID / Barcode Printers
A barcode system isn't complete without a printer. Make sure you select the correct one that fits your specific needs. For example, do you need a thermal transfer or a direct transfer printer? What size labels will you print? Do you require a cutter, rewinder, or peeler? And what about DPI and durability? + Show More
Direct thermal printers create images directly on specially treated labels or tags. They do not use ribbon, toner or ink, and are extremely durable printers. Direct thermal labels are made of chemically treated papers, which are heat-sensitive. The label or tag darkens as it passes under the thermal print head, which creates the image or barcode.
Direct thermal printers are easy to use, and simple to maintain, but there are some limitations. Direct thermal labels are very sensitive to sunlight or heat and cannot withstand much abrasion. There are a limited amount of facestocks for direct thermal printing. Direct thermal barcode labels are recommended for short term applications that are indoors.
Thermal transfer printers do use ribbon to create the image or barcode. Thermal transfer printers create high-quality barcodes. The thermal print head heats up and transfers ink from the ribbon onto the barcode label or tag. These barcodes are highly durable and can withstand more elements than other barcode labels or tags printed with dot matrix, inkjet or laser, or direct thermal technologies.
Thermal transfer printers can print barcodes on a much wider variety of materials such as paper, polypropylene, polyester, polyimide, and more. These barcode printers produce the highest quality and longest lasting barcode labels, and they can withstand abrasion, exposure to the elements, and some are chemical resistant.
Zebra QLN Series
When printing a barcode, how do you know which type of printer to use? The print quality of the barcode affects the readability, or scannability, so the type of printer used to print them is important.
Laser, inkjet, dot matrix, and thermal printers are the four types of printing technology available to print barcodes, but the clear advantages of thermal barcode printers make these the ideal solution for nearly any barcode printing need.
There are two types of thermal printing technologies: Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer. Most thermal printers can print both ways, but you must have the correct supplies for the application. Here we cover the different types of thermal barcode printers and where they work best.
There are many thermal barcode printers in the market today. There are desktop, mid-range, industrial (or tabletop), and mobile (portable) barcode printers available. Which one you need depends on your application, quantities printed each day, and space.