Order Before 12PM for Same Day Australia Wide Shipping - Serving Australians Since 2005!
Home Page Learn More About Us Common Questions Help & Support Contact Us
 Barcode Scanners
 Cash Drawers
 Cash Registers
 Receipt Printers
 Vend POS Hardware
 Barcode Printers
 Paper Rolls & Labels
 POS Bundles
 Touch Screens
 POS Computers
 POS Software
 Card Readers
 Customer Displays
 Display Mounts
 External Storage
 Fax Machines
 Label Makers
 Notebooks & Tablets
 Ink Ribbons & Rollers
 PC & POS Servicing
 PDT's and PDE's
 Clearance Items

 Shopping Cart
Shopping Cart Empty

To purchase an item, click the 'Add to Cart' button near your product of choice.

Your E-Mail:


Forgot Your Password?

 HotPOS Barcode Printer Buying Guide Published: 1st Jan, 2010  

www.hotpos.com.au Explains Barcode/Label Printers

Barcode/Label printers use two different thermal printing methods: Direct Thermal & Thermal Transfer. When choosing the correct type of printer, it is important to first look at the differences between the two types.

Thermal Transfer

In thermal transfer printing, a thermal print head applies heat to a ribbon, which melts ink onto the paper or labels to form an image. The ink is absorbed so that the image becomes part of the paper. This makes the labels or barcodes more durable than ones printed with a direct thermal printer. The downside of these types of printers, are that they are generally more expensive to purchase initally and consumables can be more costly due the fact that they require the use of a ribbon.

Direct Thermal

Direct thermal on the other hand requires no ribbon. It works by creating an image directly on the label. Direct thermal printing requires the use of special heat sensitive paper or labels. The printer's simple design, make them easy to use and durable. Because they require no ink, toner or ribbon, direct thermal printing is is sometimes more cost effective than printing with an inkjet, laser or thermal transfer printer. The only downside is that labels and barcodes printed with a direct thermal printer fade over time or when they are exposed to heat (such as direct sunlight). This means that the labels or barcodes can be used only in the short term.


When purchasing a new printer you will most likely need to purchase accessories to go with the printer. Things such labels, ribbons (if not using direct thermal labels), etc.

How do you know which accessories to choose? As a general guide the following items need to be purchased when buying a new printer:

Printer Type Print Ribbon Paper Type Durability
Direct Thermal Not Required Requires special heat sensitive paper Sensitive to Light and Heat
Thermal Transfer Ribbon Choices:
  • Resin
  • Wax/Resin
  • Wax
  • Near Edge
  • Accepts a wide variety of media types Not Sensitive to Light and Heat

    Paper Types

    Goto Hotpos' Direct Thermal Labels

    Goto HotPos' Thermal Transfer Labels

    When selecting your paper/label size you need to ensure that it will fit your chosen printer. Both Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer printers usually require paper with a core size of 38mm. However if you purchase an industrial printer you would most likely need a paper core size of 76mm.

    You will also need to consider the label width that your printer can handle. As a rough guide lower models may have a maximum width of 2" (50mm), mid range printers may be able to handle 4" (100mm) and industrial printers will handle larger sizes

    Ribbon Types

    There are four different types of Thermal transfer ribbons and they are almost always black:

  • Wax
  • Wax/Resin
  • Pure Resin
  • Near Edge


    This is the most common choice of ribbons. Usually, wax ribbons are for printing onto paper labels. Because wax is used, the labels must be kept dry and must not be subjected to certain chemicals or oil, which would melt the wax image.Wax printed labels can potentially keep for a number of years. This type of ribbon is a good choice for most general label printing.


    Wax-resin ribbons produce a finer image on very smooth paper or coated paper labels. Wax/resin printed images are much more durable than wax, but they can still only stand a small amount of contact with water. They also have a slightly higher life-span than wax labels.

    Pure Resin

    Pure resin ribbons are designed to print onto plastic labels such as polyester, polypropylene and vinyl. The ink is designed to adhere to the plastic surface of the label . Depending on the plastic material and ribbon brand used, resin printed labels can be extremely durable.

    Near Edge

    Near Edge ribbons provide a high quality print on various media; They have high resistance to sunlight and are best used when printing barcode tags and labels, shipping labels, shelf labels and general ticketing.

  • Articles
    1. How to choose The right receipt paper size and type [ View Article ]
    2. MYOB Retail manager - Printer Setup guide [ View Article ]
    3. POS Paper Rolls Buying Guide [ View Article ]
    4. HotPOS Barcode Printer Buying Guide [ View Article ]
    5. What are the benefits of computerising a store? [ View Article ]
    6. Cash Drawer Buyers Guide [ View Article ]
    7. Receipt printers 101 [ View Article ]
    8. 15 Tips to STOP Store THEFT [ View Article ]
    9. PSC Barcoding Products Voted Number 1 [ View Article ]
    10. Impact printers Vs Thermal Printers [ View Article ]
    11. HotPOS's System buying tips [ View Article ]
    12. POS Hardware Components Description [ View Article ]
    13. Touch Screen Buying Guide [ View Article ]
    14. Barcode Scanning Guide [ View Article ]
    15. Cash Register Buying Guide [ View Article ]
    16. Choosing the right Barcode Label Printer & Labels [ View Article ]
    17. What is a QR Code? [ View Article ]

    All Website Content Copyright (C) 2005 HotPOS PTY LTD
    About Us | Links | Affiliate Program | Price List | Sitemap | Articles | Terms | Privacy Policy