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Thermal Transfer VS Direct Thermal, What's The Difference?

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When it comes to printing, you should always have the best Panasonic kx fa52x ink film ribbon possible. Because of this, we’ve taken it upon ourselves, here at 4Printer, to help you decipher what kind of kx fa52x ink film ribbon you may need. There are 2 different printers that you should be aware of, direct thermal or thermal transfer, and deciding which one you have or which type of printer will be right for you is key to using our Panasonic kx fa52x film ribbon correctly.

What’s the difference?

Thermal Transfer

Carbon ribbon is used with thermal transfer printers. The carbon ribbon will transfer ink via heat. The user is not limited to using just black, so explore different ribbon colours for more options! Thermal transfer is a great method for printing high density bar codes, as well as codes and labels that require longevity. Also, it’s important to note that thermal transfer printers and their carbon ribbons have the ability to print on film, paper and even foil substrates.

Direct Thermal

Heat activated thermal papers and films are required to use direct thermal printers. If you have a direct thermal printer, you won’t need a transfer ribbon. Although the print colour is only limited to black, there are special thermal papers that are utilised. Thermal transfer ribbon printing is not as crisp, and labels using this thermal paper can be darkened when exposed to sunlight and heat, or gets scratched. These types of printers and film ribbons are much more popular in the food industry, since most of these items are stored away from sunlight and heat.


Start shopping for Panasonic kx fa52x ink film ribbons that are perfect for you printer today, and stay tuned for our next blog where we will be giving you direction into what kind of printer is right for you!