Why is Thermal Paper so Expensive?

Retail and hospitality industries have always been busy environments. The high-volume demand at these businesses necessitate faster and more efficient business operations for providing a pleasing customer experience. Thankfully, the advent of technology has significantly boosted business efficiency across all industries.
Receipt papers have been an integral part of retail businesses since forever. They've been used for record-keeping and documenting purchases. While there are several types of options, thermal papers are the most widely used alternative for receipt and label printing. Owing to their efficiency and reliability, thermal papers have globally substituted traditional inkjet papers in retail, healthcare, hospitality, pharmaceutical, government, etc.
However, a common question that arises is the high price of thermal papers. Being an ordinary piece of paper, it may seem its price tag doesn't justify its value proposition. So why are thermal papers so expensive?
We'll discuss this more in detail.

What is Thermal Paper?

Thermal paper is a specially coated paper that records media when subjected to the heat from a thermal printer. An image is produced by a thermal reaction when the paper passes over the printer's head.
Thermal printing doesn't rely on ink, like inkjet printers. The image is created by the transfer of heat from the printer to the paper. The special coating on the paper undergoes a thermal reaction when exposed to heat. The result is crisp and clear images free from smudges and smears with a long shelf life.
Due to no reliance on ink ribbons, toners, or cartridges, thermal printing is considered a cheaper alternative than traditional inkjet printing. Moreover, thermal printers are mostly small and compact devices that can be placed over any countertop with ease. They also have fewer moving parts than inkjet printers and need very little maintenance.
Due to its efficiency, reliability, speed, and quality, thermal printing is widely used to print receipts, labels, tickets, medical charts, and more.
However, the price of thermal papers is higher than their conventional counterparts. Why so? Let's take a look.

Why is Thermal Paper More Expensive than Traditional Bond Papers?

Here are some reasons why thermal papers are so expensive:

  • Manufacturing Technology

Thermal papers require much more than wood pulp or cellulosic fibers. The primary reason for their high cost is due to the materials required and their manufacturing technique. Thermal papers have a distinct coating of chemicals and resins that are heat-sensitive. Rather than ink, this coating is behind the texts or images formed.
The multi-layered coating is a combination of dyes, developers, and sensitizers - all contributing to higher manufacturing expenses and time.

  • Advanced Machinery & Expertise

Thermal papers also require expertise and special equipment for production. Every paper has to be precisely coated with chemicals on its base, while additional layers are applied to ensure heat insulation and uniformity. All this requires high-end machinery and seasoned expertise.
The thermal paper manufacturing process also involves temperature control to maintain industry standards. Such complex production of advanced machinery and skilled wages adds to the overall cost.

  • Costly Raw Materials

Along with the advanced equipment and labor, thermal papers are made from costly raw materials. Unlike conventional paper, thermal papers are coated with dyes, developers, and sensitizers. These chemicals and the raw paper must go through stringent quality checks to ensure quality, thus contributing to its price tag.

  • Environmental Concerns

Not a long time ago, thermal papers were coated with Bisphenol-A - which was found to be a toxic substance that can endanger human health. As environmental protection norms and ecological consciousness grew around the globe, BPA has been substituted with environmentally friendly alternatives. These alternatives are costly and hard to procure.
Thus, manufacturers investing in eco-friendly production procedures incur higher expenses, which are then transferred to the end consumer.

  • Supply-demand Imbalance

While most causes are intrinsic to the manufacturing process, another considerable pricing factor is the market dynamics. The trickle-down effect of complex production and pricey materials takes hold in demand-supply equity. Quality thermal papers are produced by specialized manufacturers who have the requisite expertise and technology.
Due to the high demand for thermal papers in every sector, this demand-supply ratio gets disrupted too often and directly impacts the final price of thermal papers.

How to Buy Thermal Paper Rolls at Best Prices?

Thermal papers are expensive - but that doesn't mean you should buy cheap products from unreliable sellers. You're likely to research before buying - but be wary of retailers or suppliers who sell thermal papers at considerably low prices.
Thermal papers don't just vary in size, but also in quality, and lower-priced papers may be cheaper in quality. Buying solely based on price may result in poor quality prints that negatively impacts customer experience. Cheap papers may also be coated with lower-priced chemicals that are harmful to human health or the environment.
However, there are hacks to lower the final purchasing price and match your budget. Here's how:

  • Do your Research

Start by researching and narrowing down on top retailers and suppliers who guarantee high-quality and safe thermal papers. Make a list of the sellers and their price tags. Finally, select the top three sellers and start inquiring. You can also visit a brick-and-mortar store near you to know the price difference.

  • Purchase in Bulk

Most POS sellers offer discounted rates on bulk purchases. Depending on your sales or operational volume, you can create a plan to stock thermal paper rolls for the long term. Thermal papers have a long shelf life, so you don't have to worry about degrading quality and incurring losses on bulk purchases. But keep in mind the storage space in your outlet.

  • Contact Suppliers Directly

You can cut out the middleman and inquire about thermal papers from suppliers directly. The retail price of POS products is higher than wholesale costs. The supplier may also be able to provide you with additional discounts if you buy in large quantities.

Buy High-quality Thermal Papers at Affordable Prices

Though thermal papers have high procuring costs, they're worth the investment due to their fast print speed, ease of printing, and accuracy.
High-quality thermal paper can optimize your operational efficiency in printing receipts, labels, or tickets. Due to the absence of ink ribbons and several moving parts, thermal printing also reduces maintenance downtime and cost.
If you're looking for high-quality thermal paper rolls at affordable prices, get in touch with Master Distributors. Our B2B platform bridges the gap between manufacturers and businesses like yours, leading to the competitive pricing of top POS hardware and accessories at our shop.
We also offer discounts on bulk purchases of thermal paper rolls and other products. Browse through our range of thermal papers with a wide array of sizes and shop the best for your business.
Contact our friendly team to state your requirements today.

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