Pyramid Packaging carries a variety of shipping labels that are cost-effective and on-demand. Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer labels are the two most popular types, but there are key differences. Direct thermal and thermal transfer each have unique benefits for a given application.

Both methods use heat to print the labels, but each technique uses heat differently to create the final image. Both can be sold on stacks or rolls for more efficient distribution and easily installed in printers. They both use pressure-sensitive adhesive to bond with any surface, eliminating the need for glue, which requires heat or water-based adhesives. Direct thermal and thermal transfer labels are easy to use for inventory and shipping purposes.

Technical Sheet:

Direct Thermal Labels

These labels are heat sensitive and react to a heated printhead element that directly connects with the material. The heat from elements then cause a chemical reaction and result in a color change that creates a printed image. Unlike the thermal transfer process, direct thermal labels do not require ribbon, which is partly poly-based, and ultimately uses less waste. Direct thermal labels are more susceptible to fading away due to exposure to sunlight and heat, making the label unreadable.
Uses for direct thermal labels include barcodes, name tags, receipts, and shipping labels.

Thermal Transfer Labels

These labels require thermal ribbons, which act as a buffer between the print head and label material. Thermal transfer labels are long-lasting because of the printing process, which requires ink from the ribbon, and after it is melted onto the label, it absorbs it for a durable bond.

As a result, the image becomes more readable and can withstand heavy light exposure, liquids, and other outside factors.

Common uses for thermal labels are inventory identification, wrist bands, and cold storage labels.