When choosing a barcode label printer for your business, you must know that not all of them are created equal and not all of them have the same purpose. According to specialists, in order to find the right type of printer from which your company can benefit a lot, you must understand what are the purposes of your company. Generally speaking, there are three types of barcode label machines: direct thermal, thermal and ink jet and all of them have a different purpose. And while you can use a laser printer for printing barcode labels, this is not efficient if you plan to print barcode labels for short run and even for single labels.
Choosing the right barcode label machine requires an individual approach which means that before making any kind of decision, you should consider some of the following things: the expected bar code label print volume (large or small output), the size label (smaller or wider labels), the print quality, whether the printer can be easily replaced or not, will the labels be printed in batches or on demand, etc.). Once you consider these things, it is time to see the different types of barcode label machine printers.
Direct thermal barcode label printers apply heat directly to a specially coated label in order to activate the ink on it so the image could appear on the paper. No ink, ribbon or toner is required in this type of printing which is why it is considered one of the most affordable options on the market. The main downside of this type of printing is that the used paper is extremely sensitive to heat, moisture, UV light, scratching and smudging, so if you plan to use barcode labels in these type of conditions, you should look for another version of printer.
Thermal transfer printing, on the other hand, applies heat from the print head to the thermal transfer ribbon that is coated with resin, wax or a combination of both. Once done, the heat melts the coating and therefore transfers the image onto the paper which is way more durable than the previous method. What’s more, the former method of printing usually has a black colour (although a second colour is available but rare), the image of the latter one can be available in a full range of colours. As you might guess, the thermal transfer printing is more expensive than the direct one but it provides lasting labels and can be used in a range of applications as it also can withstand moisture, UV light, heat, cold, chemicals, smudging and scratching.
And lastly, ink jet printing applies small dots of ink in order to create the image. Consequently, the more dots per cm the higher the image resolution, however, its main downside is that the jets can clog which makes it the least used option.