When using a thermal transfer printer, it is important to use the correct type of thermal transfer barcode ribbon for your products. Not only does the wrong thermal transfer ribbon affect the quality of your printed labels, but it can also cost you some money if you find out you’ve matched the ribbons to your product material improperly. Here’s our quick guide to help you understand the difference in the thermal transfer ribbons, and which ones have the properties suitable for your label needs.thermal transfer ribbon

Full Wax ribbons: The most common type of ribbon, full wax ribbons uses a wax-based ink that melts onto the product. This is cheaper than the other ribbons, but less durable, and is therefore suitable for short-term labels (such as mail, warehouse, retail). It’s best to use on uncoated, plain paper stock.

Wax/resins ribbons: A mix of both wax and resin, this gives the printed labels more durability than the full-wax counterparts. The mix of the two gives the printer an ability to print on other materials, such as synthetics, coated or glossy paper stocks, and waterproof materials. However, it does costs more than full wax ribbons. It can be an optimal choice for products that are exposed to changing temperatures or weather conditions, or will be handled constantly and needs a durable mailing label.

Full resin ribbons: The most expensive options, it is also the most resilient of the ribbons in terms of its chemical resistance, temperature/weather resistance, durability, and more. It’s usually used to label sensitive medical applications or chemicals which need the high durability. In most non-specialized cases, full wax or wax/resin are a better cost-effective option.

Knowing the difference between the ribbons can help you make the best match for your printing options. Overall, you’ll want to have quality ribbons, no matter what type, in order to get the best prints and keep your thermal transfer printer clean and in optimal condition.

To take a look at what we can offer, or get help selecting the best ribbon for your thermal transfer printer, contact us.

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