TT vs. DT

Thermal Transfer:

Materials

Face stock & Ribbon

Advantages

  • Different face stock/ribbon combinations can provide
    scratch, smudge and chemical resistance
  • Less expensive material than Direct Thermal
  • All material is scan-able in both visible and infrared light
  • Much more face stock choices
  • Longer printhead life

Disadvantages

  • Less efficient and messy to change ribbons
  • Ribbon lengths rarely match label rolls lengths
 

Direct Thermal:

Materials

Face stock only

Advantages

  • More cost effective for short term, visible light scanable, paper applications
  • Less down time on printer without having to change the ribbon
  • Most used in medical applications where the end-user cannot afford to
    waste time or get hands dirty from the ribbon
  • Glove friendly adhesive for medical applications

Disadvantages

  • Will change over time when exposed to UV light or high temperatures
  • Face stock costs more than thermal transfer
  • Shorter shelf life
  • Limits to scratch resistance
  • Few options for chemical resistance
  • Less printhead life than thermal transfer