Thermal Transfer Printer Ribbons: What’s the Big Deal?

Thermal Transfer Printer Ribbons: What’s the Big Deal?

Thermal Transfer Printer Ribbon Types: What’s the Big Deal?

Why Choosing the Right Ribbon Type for Your Printer is Actually a Huge Deal

So you’ve taken the next step in labeling and have decided to take the route of thermal transfer printing – congratulations! You then went to take a look at ribbon for your printer and saw two different types – wax and resin. Perhaps you were immediately drawn to wax because it’s cheaper. Although there’s a possibility that this may be the right choice for you, beware of making a hasty decision when it comes to ribbon.

Choosing the wrong ribbon type for your labeling needs can negatively affect the print quality of your labels, or cause smeared and faded ink. Read on to learn everything you’ll need to know in order to make the right decision when choosing thermal transfer printer ribbon.

The first thing you need to do when deciding on thermal transfer printer (TTP) ribbon is to factor in which material you’ll be printing your labels on. Believe it or not, this is actually a huge deal. If you’re not sure on which type of material to print on, we’ll help you out with that too. Just keep reading...

When you were browsing through thermal transfer ribbon, you probably saw two different types: wax and resin. We’ll go over wax ribbon first. You may have immediately been drawn to wax ribbon due to the cost. It is true; wax ribbon is the least expensive type of TTP ribbon. But it is also the least durable. Wax ribbon is designed only for use on matte or semi-gloss paper labels. We repeat, wax ribbon is for paper labels only! Wax thermal transfer printer ribbon is coated with one layer of wax based ink. When wax ribbon goes through a thermal transfer printer, heat from the printer’s head will melt the wax at a low temperature and transfer it to the surface of the paper label. Wax ribbon remains smudge resistant as long as it stays dry and isn’t exposed to harsh conditions, making it an option for short term or general purpose labeling indoors. It is not resistant to chemicals, oil, heat, sunlight, extreme temperatures, moisture, or heavy abrasion.

If your labels are going to be exposed to any of these conditions, we recommend using resin ribbon. Resin ribbon is known for having the most durable and longest lasting capabilities. Resin ribbon is designed for use on plastic labels, such as polypropylene, vinyl, and polyester. When resin ribbon makes its way through a thermal transfer printer, the resin ink actually dissolves into the plastic surface of the label, making the printed label extremely durable and resistant to harsh conditions. Plastic labels with resin printing are able to survive outside in full sunlight and can withstand water, heat, abrasions, chemicals, oils, and whatever else life throws at them. Resin ribbons are ideal for jewelry tag labels, barcodes, when labeling chemical drums, and for medical, pharmaceutical, automotive, and garment/textile labeling.

Ultimately, if you question whether or not your labels will be able to withstand the harsh conditions mentioned in this article, your best choice would be to go with resin ribbon. Choosing the right ribbon type for your printing needs will produce the absolute best effects and print quality, making your life a lot easier.

For more information and pricing on wax and resin ribbon, feel free to browse through our wide selection of thermal transfer printer ribbon on our website.

Back to blog