Thermal Printers

Get an Industrial Thermal Printer

Pacific Barcode has a full range of printers for all of your barcode and label printing needs.

GoDEX builds printers to last. Their desktop printers are heavier, have more powerful motors, and have more metal components in them than the others for one reason; reliability. Quality is the #1 priority at GoDEX. They are an ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Certified manufacturer and They have met the quality standards of many world-class Fortune 500 companies around the globe. They back up their quality program with the longest and most comprehensive product warranties.


TSC Auto-ID Technology is an emerging leader in the production of innovative, competitively priced thermal bar code label printers.
They have used their over-20 years of development and manufacturing experience to design and bring to market a wide range of thermal label printers – everything from budget-friendly entry-level printers to high-performance platforms and portable, mobile-labeling devices. Their ISO9001-certified products are known for their rugged, dependable construction and ease of use – two signature features praised by customers worldwide.
Their resources are devoted to the continuous development of durable, reliable, affordably priced thermal label printer – backed by industry-leading service and support.

With Zebra’s extensive range of durable barcode printers, you can produce labels, receipts, documents or cards on-demand. Rely on Zebra to deliver the right solution for your application.

There are two thermal printing methods: direct thermal and thermal transfer.
The majority of thermal printers will print both. As you read through the specs of the printers on our site or when getting information from one of our sales or customer service reps, be sure to ask about the differences.

Both methods use a thermal printhead that applies heat to the surface being printed. Thermal transfer printing uses a heated ribbon to print images on a wide variety of materials. Direct thermal printing is just that, there is no ribbon used. The thermal dye is built into the material. Direct thermal and thermal transfer are the best technologies for printing barcodes because of a variety of available label and tag materials and produces accurate and high-quality images with excellent barcode image definition.

Direct Thermal
Direct thermal printing uses chemically treated, heat-sensitive media that blackens when it passes under the thermal printhead. Direct thermal printers have no ink, toner, or ribbon. Because there is no ribbon, direct thermal printers cost less to operate than thermal transfer models. Direct thermal media images can fade over time and, if the label is overexposed to heat or light, the material will darken and make the barcode unreadable.

Thermal Transfer
With thermal transfer printing, a thermal printhead applies heat to a ribbon, which melts onto the label material to create the image. Because of the heat, the material transferred from the ribbon to the label material is absorbed into the material being printed so the image becomes part of the label. This technique provides long-lasting image quality and durability. Thermal transfer printers accept a wider variety of media than direct thermal models, including paper, polyester, and polypropylene materials. Thermal transfer printers use either wax or resin ribbons. Wax is the most common, less expensive option and is suitable for many labeling applications. Resin ribbons provide more heat and chemical resistance and are used with synthetic label materials. Resin enhanced wax ribbons combine qualities of each and provide outstanding performance on many label materials.

Printer Categories

Thermal printers are broken into three basic categories based upon how they are being used.

  • Portable printers are used for printing delivery receipts and invoices on the go.
  • Desktop printers are made for smaller volume applications where you are making labels for shipping, light retail, or office applications.
  • Industrial Printers are larger, more durable, and rugged and are used in high volume applications. Volumes of labels can range from a few labels a day to printing all day long, thousands and thousands of labels. Pacific Barcode has printers that support the printing of labels ranging from 0.5″ all the way to over 8″ wide.

Dots Per Inch
DPI stands for Dots Per Inch Thermal printers come in three main print resolutions, 203 dpi, 300 dpi, and 600 dpi.DPI represents the number of dots that can be used to print a barcode, symbol, text or image. The numbers stand for the number of dots that are available. The more dots there are the clearer the text and graphics. If you were printing a one-inch label at 203 dots per inch, you have 203 rows of 203 dots totaling 41,209 available dots. 300 dpi gives you 300 rows of 300 dots totaling 90,000 dots and 600 dpi gives you 600 rows of 600 dots 360,000 dots. From this example, you can see that 300 dpi has 2.18 times more dots than 203 dpi giving you a better image and 600 dpi has 4 times more dots than 300 dpi.

Print Clarity
203 meets the needs of many print labels like shipping labels and larger barcode labels. For things like Medical Device or Electronic Product labels where there are many small graphical components, you need a printer capable of a higher resolution.

Print Speed
As dpi increases print speed decreases – A 203 dpi printer will print much faster than a 600 dpi printer.
The TSC TTP-2410MU will print at 14 inches per second (203dpi), the TSC TTP-346MU will print at 10 inches per second (300 dpi) and the TSC TTP-644MU will print at 4 inches per second (600 dpi).

Label Formats
The overall label format that you are printing along with the size of the label is very important to consider when selecting the dpi of a label printer. The smaller the text and images, the higher the dpi is required to read and scan.

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