Printerbase News Blog

How does a thermal printer work?

Printers come in a whole portfolio of different types. From inkjet and laser to large format and photo printers, there are a diverse range of printers available, designed to cater to a spectrum of different print jobs. One of the printer types that sounds quite alien to a lot of people is thermal printers which is why very few people understand how these printers work. So, in this news post, I’m going to talk you through everything you’ll ever need to know about thermal printers and how they work.

What is a thermal printer?

So, what are thermal printers? In many ways, thermal printers work a lot like receipt roll printers. However, instead of using ink, a thermal head heats up special media (ie: label rolls) that are reactive to temperature. In effect, the image is then burned onto the page, hence the phrase ‘thermal printing.’ What’s special about the process of thermal printing is the media rather than the machine itself.  This media is designed to react to the temperature, heating up and allowing the image to transfer effectively.

What are thermal printers used for?

Thermal printers are particularly popular in retail environments where there is a lot of label and receipt printing. They are often found in warehouses and industrial environments, too. The output created on a thermal machine – depending on the label type – is resistant to wear and moisture, making them perfect for busy environments that might get a little messy from time to time. Also, as the consumable is the media itself, there are no cartridges or toners to replace, meaning that these machines are incredible cost-effective, too.


If you enjoyed reading this news post, then why not share it with your friends, family and work colleagues on Facebook and/or Twitter? Alternatively, feel free to drop a comment in the comments box bellow – we love hearing your feedback!

Happy printing!

The Printerbase Team

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