Difference Between Thermal Printer and Inkjet Printer

Thermal Printer and Inkjet Printer – Individuals and businesses all around the globe depend on printers to print a variety of items such as receipts, documents, banners, signs, and more.

We look at two of the most regularly used printers, Thermal printers and Inkjet printers, and attempt to grasp their differences.

What is Thermal Printer?

Difference Between Thermal Printer and Inkjet Printer

Thermal printers are portable, low-cost printers often used to print receipts and shipping labels.

Thermal printers, as the name implies, utilize a heated print head to generate an image on paper.

They burn or melt dot pattern characters on special paper using heated elements.

The thermal print head, which is made up of a fixed array of microscopic heating elements, is the core of the thermal printing system.

Heat is generated in the space underneath the resistor elements when electricity is applied to them.

The most common kinds of thermal printers are direct transfer thermal printers and thermal wax transfer printers.

Thermal printers are now frequently used for printing bar codes, credit card receipts, airline tickets, and school records.

These printers do not need ink to print, hence the cost is reduced.

What is Inkjet Printer?

Inkjet printers are the most popular choice for home printing.

They are the most common forms of digital printing, and they are used a lot in offices and in industrial settings, such as for wide-format printing.

The printing is done using inkjet technology, as the name implies – an image is formed by carefully spraying thousands of tiny ink droplets onto a substrate, such as paper, pixel by pixel.

The printing process is highly complicated and requires careful management of the ink’s chemical and physicochemical properties.

The printer produces a print that looks to be a continuous tone print when viewed by carefully controlling the size, positioning, and colour of the dots.

They are the cheapest, fastest, and most convenient way to print digital files.

They are often used for high-speed coding, mail addressing, package marking, billboards and banners, and wide-format graphics for signs.

Difference Between Thermal Printer and Inkjet Printer

1. Printing Process

Thermal printers burn or melt dot pattern characters on special paper using heated elements.

It is a low-cost industrial printing technique that uses heat to dry wax-based pigment into a substrate such as paper.

Instead of moving across the page, the print head scans across the paper, printing a row of characters.

Inkjet printers, on the other hand, utilize liquid ink to form an image rather than a ribbon and heat – the printer sprays thousands of small ink droplets onto a substrate, such as paper, pixel by pixel, to create an image.

2. Image Quality

Inkjet printers are one of the most popular methods of digital printing because they can generate high-quality images at a cheap starting cost.

The resolution, the substrate used in printing, and the number of levels that may be printed per dot are the two main factors of print quality.

Any moisture or humidity can wreak havoc on the prints.

Thermal printers generate enhanced colour saturation and higher quality prints with a glossy, protective finish.

Thermal printers are durable because they have fewer moving components.

3. Cost of Equipment

Though thermal printers do not need ink, the specific materials utilized in the printing process may be rather expensive.

In bar code applications, however, no other printing process can match the image sharpness of thermal printing at any price.

Thermal ink is often more expensive than inkjet cartridges. Inkjet printers are less costly, and the cartridges are less expensive than thermal ink.

Furthermore, the cartridges may be refilled and reused, which saves money.

4. Applications

Thermal printers are often used to print bar codes, credit cards, receipts, airline tickets, and school records.

Commercial uses of thermal printers include information kiosks, filling stations, point-of-sale (POS) systems, shipping labels, etc.

Inkjet printers are commonly utilized in offices and industrial applications for wide format printing.

They are mostly utilized in industrial applications including signage, 3D printing, high-speed coding, mail addressing, package marking, billboards and banners, etc.

Comparison Chart Between Thermal Printer and Inkjet Printer

Thermal PrinterInkjet Printer
Thermal printers use heated elements to burn or melt dot pattern characters on special paper.Inkjet printers use liquid ink instead of a ribbon and heat, to produce an image.
Thermal printers have fewer moving parts, so they are more durable than inkjet printers.Inkjet printers are less reliable and sustainable than thermal printers.
Thermal ink is usually a bit more costly than inkjet cartridges.Inkjet printers are relatively less expensive, and the cartridges are cheaper than thermal ink.
Used for bar code printing, credit cards, receipts, airline tickets, information kiosk and school records.Used in signage, 3D printing, high-speed coding, mail addressing, package marking, billboards and banners, and more.

Summary of the Difference Between Thermal Printer and Inkjet Printer

While both thermal printing and inkjet printing are extensively used printing methods, the processes are very different.

Thermal printers burn or melt dot pattern characters onto special thermal paper using heated elements.

Thermal printing is often used for battery-powered handheld printing devices, bar code printing, and the printing of credit cards and receipts.

Thermal printers are more durable and reliable than their inkjet counterparts because they contain fewer moving components.

Inkjet printers create characters by squirting a finely regulated stream of ink dots onto the paper.

Although inkjet printers are less costly to purchase and maintain, they are not highly dependable.

Is a Thermal Printer Better than an Inkjet Printer?

Thermal printers feature fewer moving components, making them easier to maintain, more sustainable, and long-lasting.

However, thermal printers are more costly than inkjet printers.

Can I Use Thermal Paper for the Inkjet Printer?

Thermal papers are made specifically for use in thermal printers. Thermal papers, as a result, cannot be used for inkjet printing.

Normal paper cannot be used in thermal printers.

What is the Difference Between a Thermal Printer and a Regular Printer?

Regular printers are mostly used to print on letter-size paper using dye-based ink or laser printer toner.

Laser printers and inkjet printers are the most commonly used printers for home and office applications.

Thermal printers, unlike regular printers, do not use liquid ink to generate images.

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