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The difference between thermal printer and sticker printer

Time : 2022-10-27 Hits : 5

Thermal printers and self-adhesive printers are two common types of printers. Due to their different paper types, they have many differences, but it is not clear what the difference is. We will show you the system. Learn about the difference between thermal printers and self-adhesive printers.

1. Working principle

Thermal printer

The principle of a thermal printer is to coat a light-colored material (usually paper) with a transparent film, and heat the film for a period of time to turn into a dark color (usually black, but also blue). The image is created by heating, which produces a chemical reaction in the film. This chemical reaction is carried out at a certain temperature. High temperatures accelerate this chemical reaction. When the temperature is lower than 60°C, it takes a considerable time, even several years, for the film to become dark; when the temperature is 200°C, this reaction is completed within a few microseconds. The thermal printer selectively heats the thermal paper at certain locations, thereby producing corresponding graphics. Heating is provided by a small electronic heater on the print head that is in contact with the heat-sensitive material. The heaters are logically controlled by the printer in the form of square dots or strips. When driven, a graphic corresponding to the heating element is generated on the thermal paper. The same logic that controls the heating element also controls the paper feed, allowing graphics to be printed on the entire label or paper.


A common thermal printer uses a fixed print head with a heated dot matrix. The print head has 320 square dots, each of which is 0.25mm×0.25mm. Using this dot matrix, the printer can print on any position of the thermal paper. This technology has been used on paper printers and label printers.

sticker printer

The principle of the self-adhesive printer is to achieve printing through thermal transfer and thermal printing. The thermal transfer method is for ordinary paper + carbon ribbon printing, and the thermal printing method is for thermal paper only ( There is a special chemical coating), no need to install the carbon tape to print.

2. Features

thermal printer

Thermal printing has the advantages of fast speed, low noise, clear printing and easy use. However, thermal printers cannot directly print double sheets, and the printed documents cannot be stored for a long time. If the user does not need to print invoices, but other documents, it is recommended to use thermal printing.

sticker printer

1. It can support a lot of consumables, and can print various label papers such as self-adhesive labels, coated paper, PET labels, washable labels, hang tags, jewelry labels, etc.

2. The printing speed is faster. For example, the POSTEK industrial printer can currently reach 18ips, that is, the printing speed of 457 mm per second. Other POSTEK models of self-adhesive printers can usually reach at least 6ips (153 mm per second). It can be said that In terms of printing speed, it fully meets the needs of various users.

3. The clarity and precision are also higher, and it is easier to be recognized and read by the data collector. At present, the highest printing accuracy on the market is 600dpi. For example, the POSTEK G6000 model can print and read barcodes as narrow as 0.085 mm in width and as small as 0.7 mm in text height.

4. In addition to printing barcodes, self-adhesive printers can also print text, symbols, graphics and other content.


3. Use

thermal printer

Thermal printing technology was used in fax machines in the early days. The basic principle is to convert the data received by the printer into dot matrix signals to control the heating of the thermal unit, and to heat and develop the thermal coating on the thermal paper. Thermal printers have been widely used in POS terminal systems, banking systems, hospital instruments and other fields. Thermal printers can only use special thermal paper. The thermal paper is coated with a coating that will change color due to chemical reaction when heated, similar to photosensitive film, but this coating will change color when heated. This characteristic of thermal coatings has led to the emergence of thermal printing technology.

sticker printer

We can see self-adhesive printers in retail stores, supermarkets, various ticket windows, airport check-in and luggage check-in offices, and also in production lines, warehouses, and hospital departments in various manufacturing factories. , blood tests, laboratories, etc. can be seen. In addition, self-adhesive printers are used in the production of base station cable labels in the communication industry, as well as in library book management and various fixed asset management.

Specifically, we can see from three different specifications of self-adhesive printers:

Small commercial sticker printers:

It is mainly designed for the printing needs of enterprises and individual users. It is often small in size, fashionable in design, and very convenient to use. Commercial printers like POSTEK are even designed in accordance with the standard structure of industrial products, which separates the user operation area and the printer control area. Printing is also stable. It not only avoids the problem of affecting the stability and durability of the printer due to the problem of heat dissipation for commercial small printers, but also can separate the left side of the fuselage for maintenance when the machine fails. In addition to wired connection, the interface is also equipped with Bluetooth and WIFI functions, which also makes installation and printing connections more flexible. On the whole, small commercial self-adhesive printers are moderately priced and cost-effective.

Small industrial grade self-adhesive printer:

Small industrial-grade self-adhesive printers are a product type between commercial and industrial-grade applications. They are mainly aimed at customers who need to print for a long time, but have less requirements for printing speed and have limited budgets. The characteristics of small industrial-grade self-adhesive printers are: industrial-grade structural design, small appearance volume, support for long-term printers, and slower printing speed than industrial-grade ones. For a lot of light manufacturing, small industrial printers are a good choice. POSTEK G series, this small industrial-grade printer has been on the market for more than 20 years, and has a good market reputation from stable durability to product quality. 600dpi is currently the highest printing accuracy among the self-adhesive printers on the market. The G6000 printers in the G series are mainly used for jewelry labels and label printing on fine components.

Industrial grade self-adhesive printer:

Mainly for factories, assembly lines and other environments that require high printing volume, printing speed, and machine stability, they are often larger in size and more durable in design. Due to the use of high-quality components, it can print continuously for 24 hours even in harsh industrial environments. Compared with small commercial self-adhesive printers, industrial-grade printers are richer in their functions and interfaces. If it is a POSTEK industrial-grade printer, it adopts the design of a fixed movement frame to ensure stability. At the same time, because of the ingenious design, users can also install consumables directly from the side gap, which is very convenient.

Wide format barcode printer:

It is mainly aimed at the automobile manufacturing, chemical industry, and warehousing and logistics industry that require large label identification. Provide a wide-format barcode printer with a larger printing width, such as POSTEK's TW series, which can expand the maximum printing width to 6 inches and 8 inches.

The applicable range of self-adhesive printers is very wide, and with the advancement of technology, the adaptability to different industries is also getting higher and higher, but you still need to pay attention to the in-depth understanding of brands and products when choosing , Try to choose a good brand, so as to ensure the printing quality and the after-sales service will be more perfect.

To sum up, self-adhesive printers are slightly better than thermal printers in terms of features and uses, but thermal printers are more convenient, and each has its own merits, so it is unreasonable to discuss which of these two printers is stronger. Yes, the printer that suits you is more important.

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