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In professional areas, such as large offices, banks, and logistics centers, printing is the order of the day – especially when it comes to labels, reports, and tickets. The demand is so high that it faces heavy costs, not to mention the impact on the environment. Fortunately, we have a very efficient alternative available: thermal printers.
Have you ever heard of these devices? If not, don’t worry: you’ve come to the right place. While most of us have very little knowledge about these printers, they are actually common in a variety of sectors that use them on a daily basis. In our shopping guide, we will tell you everything there is to know about them.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Our Selection: The Best Thermal Printers on the U.S. Market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Thermal Printers
- 3.1 What is a thermal printer exactly?
- 3.2 How do thermal printers work?
- 3.3 Can thermal printers print in color?
- 3.4 What are their structures composed of?
- 3.5 What power source do thermal printers use?
- 3.6 What are the advantages of thermal printers?
- 3.7 What type of paper is used with thermal printers?
- 3.8 What is the difference between direct thermal printing and thermal transfer printing?
- 3.9 How is the speed of a thermal printer measured?
- 3.10 In which sectors are thermal printers used?
- 3.11 Why are thermal printers sustainable?
- 4 Buyer’s Guide
- 5 Summary
- Thermal printers are electromechanical devices that rely on heat and a type of thermal paper to operate. Since they require no cartridges or any other inkjet system, their printing costs are much lower, and the environmental impact is minimal.
- The use of thermal printers is widespread in ATMs, supermarkets, shops, and logistics centers, as well as other environments where labels need to be printed. These devices tend to be very fast and easy to use. Most of them are electric, but you can also find wireless models or others that work via USB or Ethernet cable.
- If you are contemplating buying a thermal printer, you will have to consider various criteria before making your decision. These include size and design, power supply, printing speed, and ease of use, among others we will discuss in our guide.
Our Selection: The Best Thermal Printers on the U.S. Market
Whether you’re heading to a museum, a concert, or a cinema, you need a ticket. You also receive a ticket every time you purchase something at the supermarket or in a store. Thermal printers really are more common than you might have thought originally. In the following section, you will discover our very own selection of the best models currently available on the market.
- Best Thermal Printer: Amazon’s Choice
- Best Thermal Printer for Small Businesses
- Best Label Printer
- Best Receipt Printer
Best Thermal Printer: Amazon’s Choice
With hundreds of positive reviews and high ratings, the Rollo label printer is a high-quality commercial-grade device that will fully meet the needs of your business. With a printing speed of 150 mm/s, it is compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems. This model is easy to use and can print labels up to 4.1 inches in width. In addition, the printing quality meets the requirements of major delivery companies like USPS and FedEx.
Best Thermal Printer for Small Businesses
This may not be the fastest thermal printer out there, but it certainly is the most elegant. It allows you to create artsy label designs and print them instantly after taking a picture on your smartphone. Ideal for small businesses that like to get creative, the Phomemo pocket printer is incredibly compact and easy to store and carry. It is also a great tool to decorate your home or a travel journal, for instance.
Best Label Printer
Capable of producing up to 51 labels per minute, the Dymo LabelWriter 450 is an incredibly compact thermal printer for your business. The manufacturer’s software allows you to create your own personalized labels on your computer (Windows or Mac) before printing them. In fact, you can even print directly from popular software such as Microsoft Word and Google Contacts.
Best Receipt Printer
Last but not least, this Amazon’s Choice thermal printer is a high-quality device from industry-leading company Epson. Compatible with iOS, Windows, and Android, it offers a printing speed of 200 mm/s for a weight of under 4 pounds. Connectivity-wise, this model features a USB port and an Ethernet cable port.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Thermal Printers
What is a thermal printer exactly?
How do thermal printers work?
The print head consists of a series of pins that are heated using resistances located inside. This causes the film covering the paper to react, thus transmitting the image onto the support. The thermal head designates which pins must be heated to get the different glyphs or images it wants to print.
Can thermal printers print in color?
Black remains the most common color because thermal printers were initially (and still are) very popular to create barcodes. After black, red and blue are now the most popular colors for these types of devices. This difference in color is obtained by heating the head pins to distinct temperatures.
What are their structures composed of?
- Input tray: Space allocated for the special paper feed roller.
- Lid: It protects the interior of the machine from dust and allows you to see the printing process.
- Output tray: Space designed to receive the printed sheet.
- Panel: It features LED indicators regarding the printer status (power, paper jam, in process), as well as buttons for different functions.
- Covers: They protect internal circuits while having an aesthetic role.
- Connection ports: Used to transfer data or files with your computer.
- Power connector: It provides power.
- Support: It allows you to position the printer in the most convenient way.
What power source do thermal printers use?
What are the advantages of thermal printers?
What type of paper is used with thermal printers?
What is the difference between direct thermal printing and thermal transfer printing?
Thermal transfer printing is a different process. In this case, the printer heads come into contact with a ribbon that causes the material to adhere to the printing surface when heated. This second option is actually considered to be more flexible in terms of material when applying the print.
If you use it to print on materials that are not heat-sensitive, they won’t degrade over time, and the print quality is maintained in the long term. Thermal transfer printers are used in many industries, especially where labeling procedures are essential in the production process, and where quality must be maintained.
How is the speed of a thermal printer measured?
In which sectors are thermal printers used?
Another sector where this system is common is the logistics sector, due to the use of thermal label printers – better known as labeling machines. Operating with rolls of self-adhesive paper, they are the most efficient and allow you to save significant time. Besides, their sturdiness and low printing costs have made them absolutely irreplaceable today.
In short, the whole entertainment sector has turned to these devices. Indeed, their low maintenance and ease of use mean that very few resources are needed to operate them.
Why are thermal printers sustainable?
Are you looking to expand and complement the working tools and equipment in your office or company? Then a thermal printer is probably what you need. Not only do they offer various advantages in terms of cost and time savings, but they are also extremely simple to use. In the following section, we have detailed the shopping criteria that you should keep in mind when making your decision.
Thermal printers can be distinguished by their high level of productivity. Logistics centers, supermarkets, and banks print a massive amount of receipts, tickets, or barcodes on a daily basis. This is why speed is a fundamental aspect that you have to consider when purchasing your thermal printer. In that regard, we encourage you to opt for a model that can print at least 150 mm/s.
Size & Design
As we briefly mentioned earlier, these devices also set themselves apart from other printers such as inkjet and all-in-one printers in the sense that they take up very little space. You should pay attention to the design of your thermal printer because some models can turn out to be very uncomfortable in offices or working environments. Wireless devices allow you to save space and get rid of cumbersome cables.
While most thermal printers are electric, you can now find wireless models on the American market. As we’ve just explained, they offer various advantages in terms of space-saving and ease of use. You should also think about the connectivity options available; USB and Ethernet cable ports are the most recommended ones.
Historically, these machines have only printed in black. However, there are more and more models out there that allow you to print in red and blue. This feature can be convenient if you need to print labels where a multicolored design is required. That being said, the printing speed should not be affected by this functionality.
Thermal printers are electromechanical devices whose process relies on heat rather than inkjet. This means that you will make significant savings in printing consumables, as cartridges tend to be expensive. This type of printer is very useful in logistics centers, supermarkets, banks, and small businesses and stores in general where printing receipts or tickets is needed.
While they often only print in black, the latest models are offering a couple of colors more (red and blue). Not only are thermal printers very energy efficient, but they are also very fast, contribute to protecting the environment, and are usually very quiet. They require electric current to operate, although you can now find wireless models.
We hope that you enjoyed our shopping guide on thermal printers. If that’s the case, feel free to share it with your friends and family so others can learn more about them. You can also leave us a comment in the section below!
(Source of featured image: Boonpong: 87163609/ 123rf.com)