what is the difference between thermal and inkjet printers


Thermal and Inkjet Printers: Understanding the Differences

As technology advances, so do the printing methods. Thermal and inkjet printers are two of the most popular printing methods on the market. But if you are unfamiliar with these methods, choosing between them can be a daunting task. This article aims to clarify the differences between thermal and inkjet printers so that you can make an informed decision when selecting a printer.

What is a Thermal Printer?

Thermal printers use heat to transfer ink onto paper. Unlike inkjet printers, thermal printers don’t require ink or toner cartridges, which makes them a cheaper option in the long run. Thermal printers have two main types: direct thermal and thermal transfer.

Direct Thermal Printers

Direct thermal printers use chemically-treated paper that turns black when heat is applied to it. This method is typically used in practical applications such as barcode labels, receipts, and shipping labels.

Thermal Transfer Printers

Thermal transfer printers use a ribbon to transfer the ink onto the paper. The ribbon is melted and transferred onto the paper through heat. This method is commonly used in printing high-quality barcodes and labels, including pharmaceutical labels.

What is an Inkjet Printer?

Inkjet printers use liquid ink that is sprayed onto paper through tiny nozzles in the printer head. Inkjet printers are usually more affordable than other printers and are versatile enough to handle a wide range of print jobs.

Types of Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers can be divided into three main types: professional photo printers, multifunction printers, and wide-format printers.

Professional Photo Printers

Professional photo printers are designed to produce high-quality photos, which are perfect for photographers and artists. The color depth and vibrancy are usually more impressive than what a standard inkjet printer can achieve.

Multifunction Printers

Multifunction printers can print, scan, copy, and sometimes even fax. They are an excellent option for small businesses or home offices.

Wide-Format Printers

Wide-format printers are specifically designed for printing large banners, posters, and other high-quality graphics. These printers have the capability to handle larger-sized paper than regular inkjet printers.

What Are the Differences Between Thermal and Inkjet Printers?

Printing Quality

When it comes to printing quality, inkjet printers have the edge over thermal printers. Inkjet printers have a higher color depth, which is important when printing high-quality photographs or graphics. Thermal printers, on the other hand, produce prints that are less vibrant and have limited color options.


Thermal printers are more durable than inkjet printers. Direct thermal prints can resist water, sunlight, and heat, which makes them ideal for printing barcode labels and receipts. Thermal transfer prints are even more durable, as they are printed on coated paper and are resistant to chemicals, moisture, and UV exposure. Inkjet printouts are water-soluble and can easily smear or rub off when wet.


Thermal printers are typically more cost-effective than inkjet printers. They don’t require ink or toner cartridges, which can save you a lot of money in the long run. Thermal printers are ideal for printing labels or receipts, as they are designed for low-volume printing.


When it comes to choosing between thermal and inkjet printers, the decision depends on your printing needs. If you need to print photos or graphics, then an inkjet printer is the better option. However, if you are looking for a cost-effective way to print labels or receipts, then a thermal printer is the way to go. Ultimately, it’s important to consider every aspect of your printing needs before making a decision.


Professional Laser Marking Machine Manufacturer Since 2009. Correct Pack is a technology-based enterprise focusing on the design, development and production of marking and coding products, which are widely used in food, pharmaceutical, daily chemical, hardware and other industries.
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