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TT vs. DT Comparisons

Thermal Transfer

Materials

  • Facestock & Ribbon

Advantages

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

Disadvantages

  • Can be very costly for short term applications
  • Timely and messy to change ribbons
  • Ribbon lengths rarely match label rolls lengths

Direct Thermal

Materials

  • Facestock 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

  • Cannot withstand UV light or high temperature exposure
  • Facestock costs more for near infrared or infrared scanability
  • Shorter shelf life
  • No options for scratch resistance
  • Few options for chemical resistance
  • Costly to replace the printhead more often