What are the Disadvantages of Thermal Paper?

Thermal papers have ushered in an era of faster and better quality prints across a wide range of industries. Used in conjunction with a thermal printer, these papers are available in various sizes for receipt and label printing. From retailers to hospitality ventures, gas stations to healthcare providers, all have switched to thermal printing to fulfill their print requirements.

In this blog, we will focus on what thermal paper and thermal printing are, their advantages, and their disadvantages. 

What are Thermal Papers?

Thermal papers are chemically coated papers that print media from thermal reactions. They are used in thermal printers - in cash registers, credit card terminals, adding machines, and similar devices. 

The surface of the paper is coated with resins and wax that change color when exposed to heat above a certain temperature. This heat is provided by the head of a thermal printer leading to a thermal reaction and forming the desired images in the process. 

Most coatings turn black when heated, but there are multicolored coatings also for colored printing, predominantly used for gaming or event ticketing. 

Thus, thermal printing doesn't require ink to print media on thermal papers. Most printers you find at retail stores are thermal printers. 

But why? 

There are several advantages to switching from inkjet printing to thermal printing. 

Advantages of Thermal Papers

Thermal printing eliminates the need for ink cartridges and ribbons. It also offers high-quality prints within milliseconds, and thermal printers don't require regular maintenance like their ink-based counterparts. 

Here's a detailed insight into why thermal printing is so popular:

  • Print Versatility

Thermal printing is dependable and fast. It is ideal for high-volume environments where speed and accuracy are key. Government, healthcare, hospitality, and POS applications like retail chains, grocery stores, supermarts, gas stations, and ATMs, all use thermal printing. 

  • Faster Print Speed

The thermal reaction that occurs on the paper embosses images within milliseconds. This lightning-fast speed is efficient in printing on-demand receipts, package labels, and medical charts more quickly than traditional printing. 

  • Less Costly

Unlike inkjet printers, thermal papers don't require cartridges or ribbons. All you need is the thermal printer and thermal papers, and you are ready for high-speed printing. 

  • Less Maintenance 

Thermal printers do not have many moving parts like traditional printers do. Due to this, there's a lesser risk of breakdown and costly maintenance. Thus, you can save cash in the long haul with reduced expenditure on repairs. 

Disadvantages of Thermal Paper

Even though thermal printing has compelling benefits, it also has several limitations. Let's take a look:

  • Limited Print Lifespan

Any unintended heat source can damage the paper and obscure prints. Even a coffee cup or a finger nail rubbed across the paper can generate enough heat to cause a thermal reaction. The receipts or labels must be protected from heat and moisture for long-lasting readability. 

  • High Paper Cost

While thermal printing can save you money in the long term, you will have to incur higher costs for purchasing thermal papers. Due to their chemical coating, thermal papers are more expensive than standard bond papers. 

  • Limited Manufacturers 

Unfortunately, manufacturing thermal papers requires special equipment, processes, and operator expertise. The three-layer coating is difficult to achieve, so there are only a limited number of thermal paper manufacturers. This demand-supply imbalance further adds to their already high cost. 

  • Color Printing Limitations

Thermal printers are versatile and efficient in all kinds of printing except one - color printing. That is because the heat from the printer is compatible with specific wax and resins, so the method cannot create all the spectrum colors. 

  • Health & Environmental Risks

Initially, some thermal papers had Bisphenol A (BPA)coating, which is proven to be an endocrine disruptor. This chemical can transfer from the paper to the person from the skin. People in frequent contact with BPA will have higher levels of BPA in their bodies, and will be more prone to cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, or increased blood pressure. 

The compound BPA has been replaced with BPS (Bisphenol S), which is said to have the same stability or heat resistance as BPA. However, this compound hasn't been conclusively researched or tested for guaranteed safety. 

Even for their disadvantages, thermal papers are used across diverse industries like retail, logistics, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, and more, owing to their speed and versatility. 

Buy High-quality Thermal Paper Rolls at Competitive Prices 

Thermal papers and printing are ideal for environments where customer experience reigns supreme. The faster and more reliable prints expedite checkouts and enhance customer satisfaction. While they have limitations, switching to thermal paper is faster, cheaper, and more cost-effective in the long run. 

At Master Distributors, we procure high-quality thermal papers from reputed manufacturers who adhere to environmental safety guidelines. All our papers are BPA-free and completely safe for your employees and customers. 

We also offer discounts on bulk purchases to fulfill your POS requirements. Contact our friendly team today and find thermal paper rolls for high-quality receipt and label printing. 

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