Numerous individuals are searching for thermal printer paper but need to know how to choose the best paper. With so many different varieties and specifications available, it can seem overwhelming when trying to decide which type is best suited to your needs.
In this blog, we’ll cover everything from what thermal printer paper is used for and the types of paper available, how much you should expect to pay, and our top tips for getting the best value for money. By the end of this blog, you’ll be armed with all the information needed to make the perfect decision.
What is Thermal Printing Paper?
Thermal paper is a type of paper that changes color when heat is applied to it. It is made using heat-sensitive dyes and developers. The manufacturing process of thermal paper varies depending on the manufacturer, but they all follow similar processing methods.
Thermal paper starts with a base paper made of wood pulp. The precoat, a chemical used to prime it after that, fills up any gaps between the paper fibers. This makes the printing surface smooth and even.
The thermal coat is a chemical mixture that both absorbs and stabilizes activated dyes while preventing the melted dye from accumulating on the print head. It changes colors when exposed to heat.
Thermal paper usually comprises three layers:
- Firstly, the substrate layer refers to the label material itself.
- Secondly, the base layer holds binding elements consisting of gelatin and salts, which helps the heat to pass through the paper.
- Lastly, the active layer contains the chemicals that react to heat.
Types of Thermal Paper
There are two main types of thermal paper available.
- Direct Thermal Paper: Direct thermal paper is a type of paper that has a heat-sensitive coating on one side. When this coating is exposed to heat from a thermal printhead, it changes color. This type of paper is typically used for printing receipts and labels, especially when low cost and high speed are important considerations.
- Thermal Transfer Paper: You need a thermal transfer ribbon to get a clear and durable print on thermal transfer paper. This ribbon contains wax- or resin-based ink that is melted onto the paper using a thermal printhead. People often use thermal transfer paper in applications with harsh conditions.
What to Look for When Selecting a Thermal Printer Paper?
If you use the correct paper, the thermal printers will work better than expected. However, using the right paper can prevent them from failing. The below-mentioned points will assist you in selecting the appropriate paper.
- Dimensions – It is important to know the size capacity of your printer to choose the correct thermal paper rolls. While some printers can handle various paper sizes, most only work with one size. Size refers to paper width and core size, roll length, and compatible roll diameter. While the length may vary slightly, core size and roll diameter must be precise.
- Thermal Sensitivity – Thermal printer paper normally comes in two heat-sensitive varieties: low-sensitive and highly-sensitive. To determine which one to use, consider your printer’s heat capacity. If your printer emits high heat, using low-sensitivity paper is best. If it emits low heat, you should use high-sensitivity paper.
- Paper Quality – If you only need standard quality thermal paper, choosing a good brand will suffice since there is minimal variation. However, if you require larger paper sizes or higher-quality prints, you should consider the thickness of the paper.
- Top-Coating – Top-coat is a quality parameter for thermal printer paper. Premium paper usually has it, while the standard paper doesn’t. However, some manufacturers allow customization. The top coat offers extra protection for printed material by acting as a barrier against environmental factors such as moisture and heat.
- Archivability – If you plan to keep documents for a long time, choose durable paper that can withstand heat, moisture, and environmental damage. Although a top coat can help, it’s important to check the archiving rating of the thermal paper rolls.
- Heat Resistance – Although thermal paper is known for its ability to withstand heat, it’s important to choose the right kind for your needs. Thermal paper can turn black and loose printed characters if exposed to extreme temperatures. Consider purchasing heat-resistant thermal paper rolls from your supplier to avoid this issue. These rolls are designed specifically to withstand heat and ultraviolet light. Ask your thermal paper supplier about their heat-resistant options if you need this kind of paper.
- Quantity – People often need to pay more attention to the quantity they purchase when buying thermal paper rolls. Although the quantity does not affect the quality directly, it is essential for the shelf life of the paper. For example, if you buy in bulk and intend to store the rolls longer, you must ensure proper environmental control. If you cannot control the environment, you should invest in higher-quality thermal paper rolls that can withstand heat, temperature, and other environmental factors over an extended period. Otherwise, the paper may degrade before you can use it.
- Price – The thermal paper is the most important factor to consider when making your selection. Adding safety coats, environmental resistance, or other features can increase the cost. Although these added features can be beneficial, they may not be necessary if you have a limited budget. Whether to include these features will depend on your investment capacity and work requirements.
Applications of Thermal Printing Paper
Thermal paper has various applications across different fields. These include:
- Receipt Printing: Thermal paper is commonly used by point-of-sale (POS) systems to print receipts.
- Label Printing: Thermal paper is not only used for printing receipts but also for printing labels on products, shipping items, and price tags.
- Barcode Printing: Printing barcodes on thermal paper produces high-quality prints with clear and sharp images, making it an ideal choice.
- Product Labeling: Thermal paper is used to print labels for different industries such as retail, hospitality, and healthcare.
- Mobile Printing: Printing while on the go is made more convenient by mobile printers that also use thermal paper.
- Logistics: The transport and logistics industry uses thermal paper for printing shipping labels, invoices, and waybills.
Printer paper is an important part of every business. Making sure that you have the right type of thermal paper for your needs is essential for producing quality prints and seamless operations. Thermal printing paper serves a wide range of applications and can be used in various settings and environments, making them perfect for whatever business you might operate.
When choosing a thermal printer paper, remember the considerations mentioned in this blog post – dimensions, quality, coatings, and price – to land on the best one suited for your operations. If you are looking for top-quality thermal printer paper, contact Telemark Diversified Graphics.
Q. Which factors should be considered when choosing a thermal printing paper?
Dimensions, thermal sensitivity, price, paper quality, and top coating are some factors you should consider when choosing thermal printing paper that meets your requirements.
Q. Mention the main types of thermal paper.
There are two main types of thermal paper: direct thermal paper and thermal transfer paper.
Q. What are the common applications of thermal printing paper?
Thermal paper is used in different fields, such as product labeling, mobile printing, transportation and logistics, and printing receipts and labels.