Barcode Label Solutions Blog

Laser vs Thermal Label Printers - What's better for printing labels?

Posted by Susan Fields on Fri, Dec 16, 2011

Laser vs Thermal Label Printers - What's better for printing labels? 

Laser printers are not optimized to print adhesive backed media.  The higher temperatures of a laser printer fuser station can cause adhesive bleeding from the label, which can consequently cause adhesive residue buildup inside the printer.  This causes media jams. That adhesive residue must be removed.  It can cause costly premature toner cartridge and fuser roller failures that will need frequent replacement.

Typically, labels printed with laser printers require you to over laminate the printed image with a clear adhesive film in order to protect the images from smudging or smearing.   Otherwise, laser printed media must be replaced much more frequently than media printed with thermal printers. Over laminates add cost and labor to the final product.

laser printer                                          HP LaserJet, HP PCL Laser Printer 

 The volume of labels printed at one time is another important factor to consider when comparing thermal to laser label printers. Laser printers are cut sheet printers and are not as cost effective as thermal printers when printing one or few labels at a time. Once a few labels are printed, the remaining labels on the sheet must be either discarded or remapped for the next print job, causing material waste or additional labor to be expended.

Thermal printers are highly reliable and optimally designed for label-printing, which means they are highly reliable and flexible for printing one or thousands of labels at a time.  Thermal images are highly resistant to smudge and the right combination of ribbon and media results in a highly durable, scratch and solvent resistant images without over laminating.  Adhesive bleed is not an issue for thermal printers, as their operating temperatures are much lower that laser fuser stations.  Consequently, thermal printers are the printer of choice for barcode label printing. 

                                           IntelliBar M48 and M88 thermal printers

                                      IntelliBar HP PCL Thermal Printers      


                   If you can print to a LaserJet, you can print to an IntelliBar printer!

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Tags: thermal label printers, thermal barcode label printers