Nowadays, the barcodes are becoming more and more inevitable in our daily life, which drives more and more demand to the barcode printer to output the barcode.
A barcode printer is a printer which is used to produce barcode labels which can be attached to other objects. There are many kinds of printers available on the market, such as the Inkjet printers, laser printers, dot matrix printers, direct thermal printers, thermal transfer printers, etc. Though the Inkjet printers, laser printers, dot matrix printers can print barcodes, they are not the best choices as the barcode printers, because the media are limited to papers and the cost is not effective. The most popular barcode printers are direct thermal printers and thermal transfer printers because of the different media requirement of the barcode, such as PET, PVT film, cloth, etc.
Thermal transfer printers use heat-sensitive ribbons to apply the barcode directly into the different media, while direct thermal printers use its thermal print head to heat the barcode image onto the thermal labels.
Even thermal transfer printers and direct thermal printer are applicable for barcode printing, barcodes produced from direct thermal printers are more likely to become unreadable, distortion or fading if exposed to elements such as heat, sunlight, and chemicals, and therefore don’t have the longevity of barcodes made with thermal transfer.
Because the thermal transfer ribbons are used to transfer the barcode to the media for thermal transfer barcode printers, the longevity of the barcodes produced thermal transfer printers is much better than the one by direct thermal printers. There are three mainstream thermal transfer ribbon type, wax type, wax resin type and resin type, which are applicable to different media. For example, Wax Thermal Transfer Ribbons are recommended for use on uncoated paper stock and tags, and Resin Thermal Transfer Ribbons are recommended for used on synthetics to provide ultimate durability against chemicals and heat, and Wax Resin Thermal Transfer Ribbons are recommended for use on paper and synthetics with the resistance to chemicals.
Besides, the thermal transfer printers can be used to transfer the ribbon to many kinds of media, in order to use in different areas. On the other hand, the cost of each print for thermal transfer printer is higher than the one for direct thermal printer.
Based on the printing loading differences, the barcode printer could be divided into desktop barcode printers and industrial barcode printers, and the desktop barcode printer is used for general loading which can print about 3,000 labels per day while the Industrial barcode printer is applicable for heavy loading, which can print about more than 10,000 labels per day.
When you choose a barcode printer, it is important to know what kind of label longevity you’re looking for as well as the quality expected, the printing duty and price spectrum when comparing printers.