Are you wondering what type of printing machine would help you produce faster shipping labels? Has your current inkjet/laser printer slowed you down with a paper jam?
Maybe it’s time to switch to a thermal printer. If your business prints labels on a daily basis, you will benefit from this upgrade, becoming more efficient and quicker in your production line.
In this article, we talk about what is a thermal printer and the benefits it gives to most industries as well as what to look for when deciding to buy.
What is a thermal printer?
A thermal printer is a machine based on a system of hot needles that run through thermosensitive paper. The film covering the label reacts to the hot needles when entering into contact, printing the image the machine stored from your computer.
They also do not use ink which makes them environmental-friendly. And as force is not required by the machine to print the image, like inkjet printers are, these machines are called “non-impact” printers. In fact, because it doesn’t require physical input from the machine, thermal printers are much faster at printing labels.
Advantages of thermal printers
Since thermal printers landed on the market, they have given a flexible & faster speed for printing receipts, barcodes, shipping labels, invoices, etc. The benefits these machines provide today in the business industry are vast and incredibly popular.
The main benefits are:
- Cheaper in the long term.
- As they do not rely on ink, the ongoing costs of using this machine are minimal and will pay off over time.
- Less paper jam.
- Because of the mechanism and the type of label it requires (rolls), they are less likely to jam like inkjet machines.
- Fast printing speed.
- The main standout feature of all thermal printers is the incredible speed it prints. Depending on the model, some printers will be faster than others.
Of course, depending on the type of machine, brand & model, you might have a more performant printing machine or a small model.
Part of the disadvantages of thermal printers is the need for specific labels and being aware the “ink” will fade away over time.
These labels are not used for permanent labelling as the thermal effect on the wax part of the label will dissipate the ink over time.
Criteria to look out for to buy the right thermal printer
Let’s take a look at the main features that will help pinpoint the model/type of thermal printer your business needs:
If you look at your business and identify a need for speed because of the heavy load your operations are, opt for a model that can print at least 150 millimetres per second (mm/s). Although, most thermal printers will print at an incredible speed compared to inkjet & laser.
Most commonly, thermal printers are renowned to be small & light, perfectly accommodating smaller spaces or narrower shelves. However, thermal printers can offer more paper capacity or faster printing speed which means a bigger machine.
You should also think about where you’ll need that printer to be. If you need the machine in an area with restricted access to plugs or where cables are dangerous to your employees, opt for wireless connectivity. The price might increase compared to wired models.
As mentioned above about the speed, you should also assess what usage will the printer be. If you only print a receipt or a small number of labels per day, you might get away with a small model that fits on a desktop shelf. If on the other hand, you’ll need intensive usage for your shipping labels, you might want to prioritise a sturdier machine that stands on its own storage.
Most popular brands
The brand Zebra is most famous for its small black-box printer on the market. Most flexible and does the job as expected, Zebra has gained its reputation for a few years in the thermal printer market. In the UK, it is also the main brand of choice by Royal Mail when you open a business account with them.
Shop the Zebra range here.
With a new emerging POS interface, Citizen thermal printers are gaining popularity in the printing industry. But with various models, Citizen offers a variety of printers that will fit most industry needs
Shop the Citizen range here.
Datamax, Intermec & Honeywell
Datamax thermal printers are most popular for their industrial targeting, offering advanced & robust machines on the market with colour features. Intermec & Honeywell thermal printers follow suit with their range including models for all major industries, which can be used for a huge range of print applications.
Shop Datamax, Intermec & Honeywell here.
With a need for speed & efficiency, businesses have found their print solution with thermal printers. For most industries that require printing receipts, shipping labels, barcodes or more, these machines are indispensable.
It can be tricky, however, to find the right model for your business’ needs and commit to the overheads to get started. But as mentioned in this article, the machine will pay for itself in the long run as it doesn’t require consumables such as inks to operate.
If you are still unsure about finding the right printer, contact our experts that will happily help you decide.