There are two thermal printing methods:
- Direct thermal and
- Thermal transfer.
Each method uses a thermal printhead that applies heat to the surface being marked.
Thermal transfer printing uses a heated ribbon to produce durable, long-lasting images on a wide variety of materials. No ribbon is used in direct thermal printing, which creates the image directly on the printed material.
Direct thermal media is more sensitive to light, heat and abrasion, which reduces the life of the printed material.