Inkjet or Thermal? Which Printer Is Better For Business
Printers are an essential piece of equipment used by many businesses from all over the globe for printing everything from contracts to product labels. The two leading varieties of workplace printers are inkjet and thermal, but which do you need and which will be better for your business? To find out, we’ll take a quick look at the features of each type of printer and the benefits it can offer.
How does an inkjet printer work?
Inkjet printers work by spraying small droplets of ink onto paper in whichever pattern or image it is told to by the computer. The colour and size of these droplets can be altered to produce different colours and resolutions, with a higher DPI (dots per inch) meaning many smaller dots are sprayed creating better quality and higher resolution images.
What are the advantages of an inkjet printer?
Inkjet printers are one of the most affordable types of printer on the market which is why they are so popular as home and office printers.
Even the cheapest inkjet printers have the capability of creating near photo-like quality images which make them great for more complex designs.
What are the disadvantages of an inkjet printer?
Inkjet printers have many moving parts which increase their chance of experiencing technical issues.
Image staying power
Inkjet images easily smudge, run and fade when exposed to water or sunlight making inkjet printers unsuitable for long term printing.
How does a thermal printer work
There are two main types of thermal printers, direct thermal printers and thermal transfer printers. Direct thermal printers use chemically treated paper which darkens in the places at which heat is applied and are most commonly used to create simple images such as receipts. Thermal transfer printers work by using a heated element transfer ink from a ribbon onto a printed surface such as a product label. Thermal transfer ribbons are typically made from wax, or resin and is bonded to the product label through the application of heat and pressure.
What are the advantages of thermal printers?
Thermal printers have less moving parts which mean that they tend to last longer and are more easy to maintain than inkjet printers.
Thermal printers can meet a number of printing needs including printing documents, text, graphics, labels and receipts
Printing produced using a thermal printer lasts longer and can stand up to more wear, tear and adverse conditions that printing produces using an inkjet printer.
What are the disadvantages of thermal printers?
Even the most basic thermal printers cost much more than inkjet printers due to the cost of the materials used during the thermal printing process.
Diversity of colour
Thermal printers cannot print in as many colours as inkjet printers which makes them less equipped to print coloured images.
So which should you choose?
As you can see the advantages of one printer tend to be the disadvantages of the other, which makes it relatively easy to choose the printer that’s right for your unique priorities. In general though, businesses tend to invest in thermal printers for everyday black and white printing and for the production of signage and labels as thermal printers are long lasting, reliable and can print more durable labels. However, to print in colour this then needs to be achieved through either outsourcing colour printing or purchasing a second, inkjet printer when colourful graphics are required.