Best Thermal printer 2023 • 7 Thermal printers Reviews
In professional spaces, printing is the order of the day, especially when it comes to labels, reports, and tickets. Demand is so high that it faces high costs, not to mention its environmental impacts. Fortunately, thermal printers are an efficient alternative.
Thermal printer Leaderboard 2023
What is a thermal printer and how does it work?
The printing process of this electromechanical machine is based on a system of hot needles that run through a type of thermosensitive paper. When the needles come into contact with the paper, it turns black. This is called monochrome printing. These thermal models use no cartridges or any other type of inkjet mechanism.
These machines are non-impact printers, which means that they do not rely on impact force to transfer the ink to the media or support. As we mentioned above, they use the monochrome printing process. They integrate pins and electronic circuits that receive commands from the computer and store the data for printing.
The print head consists of a series of pins that is heated using resistances located inside. This causes the film covering the paper to react, thus transmitting the image onto the support. The thermal head designates which pins must be heated to get the different glyphs or images it wants to print.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Thermal Printers
Ever since their arrival on the market, thermal printers have revolutionized the printing industry when it comes to labels, bank receipts, barcodes, and other types of tickets. From supermarkets and banks to businesses and stores, the benefits these devices offer have made them incredibly popular.
- They are affordable since they do not use ink. The only consumable you have to buy is paper. Also, the maintenance cost is virtually non-existent.
- They are quiet and accurate, as there is no percussion mechanism, and paper jams hardly occur.
- These devices are small and compact.
- They are reliable, simple, and clean.
- You need to buy special paper.
- Thermal printing is often only black and white.
- The wear and tear of ticket printing, particularly in high-temperature environments, makes its durability relatively low. The waxy layer of the paper reacts with the temperature and causes the text to be erased over time.
Shopping Criteria for the Best Thermal Printers
Are you looking to expand and complement the working tools and equipment in your office or company? Then a thermal printer is probably what you need. Not only do they offer various advantages in terms of cost and time savings, but they are also extremely simple to use. In the following section, we have detailed the shopping criteria that you should keep in mind when making your decision.
- Printing speed
- Size and design
- Power supply
- Printing color
Thermal printers can be distinguished by their high level of productivity. Logistics centers, supermarkets, and banks print a massive amount of receipts, tickets, or barcodes daily. This is why speed is a fundamental aspect that you have to consider when purchasing your thermal printer. In that regard, we encourage you to opt for a model that can print at least 150 millimeters per second (mm/s).
Size and Design
As we briefly mentioned earlier, these devices also set themselves apart from other printers such as inkjet and all-in-one printers in the sense that they take up very little space. You should pay attention to the design of your thermal printer because some models can turn out to be very uncomfortable in offices or working environments. Wireless devices allow you to save space and get rid of cumbersome cables.
While most thermal printers are electric, you can now find wireless models on the American market. As we’ve just explained, they offer various advantages in terms of space-saving and ease of use. You should also think about the connectivity options available; USB and Ethernet cable ports are the most recommended ones.
Historically, these machines have only printed in black and white. However, there is an increasing number of models out there that allow you to print in red and blue. This feature can be convenient if you need to print labels where a multicolored design is required. That being said, the printing speed should not be affected by this functionality.
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Can thermal printers print in color?
Historically speaking, thermal printers have been monochromatic. In fact, this is the feature that allows them to be so cost-effective. However, more recent models are offering the possibility of printing two or even three colors. This feature is in high demand in stores that print labels, as they can save on long-standing preprinted labels.
Black remains the most common color because thermal printers were initially (and still are) very popular for creating barcodes. After black, red and blue are the most popular colors for these types of devices. This difference in color is obtained by heating the head pins to distinct temperatures.
What are their structures composed of?
Thermal printers have a very different design and structure from other types of printers. First of all, they tend to be smaller. Because they can fit into any space, they are a real advantage in professional environments where there is a high number of devices. Here is a description of the different components of thermal printers, as well as a brief explanation for each.
Input tray: Space allocated for the special paper feed roller.
Lid: It protects the interior of the machine from dust and allows you to see the printing process.
Output tray: Space designed to receive the printed sheet.
Panel: It features LED indicators regarding the printer status (power, paper jam, in process), as well as buttons for different functions.
Covers: They protect internal circuits while having an aesthetic role.
Connection ports: Used to transfer data or files with your computer.
Power connector: It provides power.
Support: It allows you to position the printer in the most convenient way.
What power source do thermal printers use?
Energy costs are always a concern. Thermal printers are generally powered via alternating current, which means that you need an electrical connection for them to operate correctly. However, recently, many models can work with a USB cable, an Ethernet connection, wirelessly, or a combination of these different options.
What type of paper is used with a thermal printer?
The paper used by thermal printers is coated with a waxy substance that reacts and usually turns black when heat is applied. This paper is generally purchased in large rolls, with a standard width of 40 mm. Rolls can also be round with measurements of 50 and 80 mm. These are used by the thermal printers in ATMs.
What is the difference between direct thermal printing and thermal transfer printing?
Thermal printers aren’t all the same. In fact, not all use the same type of printing. Direct thermal printing works by applying heat to the printer heads. These heads come into contact with the printing surface, which must be heat-sensitive.
Thermal transfer printing is a different process. In this case, the printer heads come into contact with a ribbon that causes the material to adhere to the printing surface when heated. This second option is actually considered to be more flexible in terms of material when applying the print.
If you use it to print on materials that are not heat-sensitive, they won’t degrade over time, and the print quality is maintained in the long term. Thermal transfer printers are used in many industries, especially where labeling procedures are essential in the production process, and where quality must be maintained.
How is the speed of a thermal printer measured?
The printing speed is obtained by calculating the number of millimeters of black text that the device can print per second. You have to keep in mind that these machines specialize in tickets and receipts, so they do not print a large number of characters, but do their job at a very high speed. The unit of measure is, therefore, the millimeters per second (mm/s).
In which sectors are thermal printers used?
The point-of-sale (POS) business is one of the industries where this type of printer is most widely used. Combining the right balance between speed and quality as well as the sufficient durability of the document produced means that virtually all POS terminals in any business use a thermal printer.
Another sector where this system is common is the logistics sector, due to the use of thermal label printers—better known in this industry as labeling machines. Operating with rolls of self-adhesive paper, they are the most efficient and allow for significant time savings. Besides, their sturdiness and low printing costs have made them absolutely irreplaceable today.
In short, the whole entertainment sector has turned to these devices. Indeed, their low maintenance and ease of use mean that very few resources are needed to operate them.
Why are thermal printers sustainable?
Traditional printers, such as inkjet and all-in-one models, are a source of pollution due to the cartridges and types of paper they require to function. One of the greatest advantages of thermal printers is that there is no inkjet whatsoever. The heat directly acts on the thermal paper, completely eliminating cartridges and other consumables capable of contaminating the environment.
The product recommendations in this article are made solely by the sponsor and are not recommendations made by VentureBeat.