Selecting the Best Thermal Paper for your POS System

Choosing the right thermal paper can save money in the long run

Many retailers view thermal paper as a commodity, and vie for the lowest price. And, due to increased competition, many paper suppliers are willing to slash costs in order to win the price war, even if that means selling substandard paper unfit for particular machines. But remember, there’s a big difference between affordable and cheap.

Inferior paper, or paper improperly matched for your machine, will end up costing more in down time and repairs than the savings achieved through purchasing the cheaper thermal paper rolls.

Here are some variables to keep in mind when considering thermal paper rolls for your POS operation.


Size is where most people start. The obvious question is what size paper your machine takes. POS paper comes in all sorts of various sizes and lengths. Choosing the wrong paper may cancel warranty coverage, so making sure you have the right size, coatings, diameters and lengths for your machine is important. An experienced thermal paper supplier will know what paper works best with your machine.

Low vs. High Sensitivity

The sensitivity of thermal paper refers to the degree to which it reacts to a given amount of heat or energy. When it comes to matching the right kind of paper with a particular machine, this is one of the most important factors to consider. Selecting high vs. low sensitivity paper not only impacts the image quality and shelf life of the receipt, it can also lead to large savings for some operators.

There is an inverse relationship between the energy of the printer and sensitivity of the paper. A high-energy printer can deliver a satisfactory product on paper with low sensitivity, while a low-energy printer requires paper with high sensitivity to achieve acceptable results. Because low sensitivity paper is less expensive, it pays to invest in a high-energy printer in order to save on paper costs over time.


Pricing differences are determined primarily by paper quality. Paper brightness is one of the most defining factors. Print quality is also related to ink legibility and high levels of contrast. Higher grades tend to be more expensive, obviously, however they also deliver the most professional appearance. Lower quality papers cause dusting-off problems that can inevitably result in paper jams and printer breakdowns.

At Telemark Diversified Graphics, we have been supplying distributors with top quality thermal paper supplies for over 30 years. Whether you need ATM paper, POS paper, or Mobile Printer rolls, you can rest assured that we will provide you with the right thermal paper roll for your customer’s machine. Contact us for more information or to receive a free quote.