Making the decision to buy a barcode printer for your business is generally a rather easy one. The need is there and something must be requisitioned to meet that need. Deciding what type of printer to purchase is not always so simple. While many office printers can have upgrades installed that allow them to print some barcodes, the number of symbologies they can use is limited. Therefore, one should take a closer look at the two main types of barcode printers: thermal transfer and direct thermal.

Generally speaking, sales people will tend to push thermal transfer barcode printers, and these printers do have some benefits. As they do not rely on thermal paper, they can print on a variety of materials. In recent years, some have been developed with the option of printing labels with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips, which enhance security and reduce the chances of counterfeiting. Of course, the sales people may also promote these printers because they are more expensive.

Direct thermal barcode printers cost significantly less money than their thermal transfer counterparts. They work by applying heat through a print head to thermal paper. The heat causes a chemical reaction in the special paper, turning it black wherever the heat is applied. Of course, this type of printer necessitates the purchase of thermal paper and does not allow printing on any other surface. In addition, if the paper is exposed to chemical fumes, heat or direct sunlight, the image can degrade, rendering it unusable.

If high heat, sunlight, or chemical vapours in the air are not a concern for where your company will utilize barcodes then a direct thermal barcode printer may be the best choice for your business. This is especially true if the number of barcodes being printed annually is fairly low, as the cost of the thermal paper would then be minimized as well, creating optimum savings for the company.

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