thermal transfer ribbons

Choosing the Right Ribbon for your Thermal Transfer Printer

Recently, we talked about durable labels and how to achieve them for specific applications.  One of the main ways is to choose the correct ribbon type for your thermal transfer printer.

As a review, the way that thermal transfer printers work is by using a carbon-based ribbon that is chemically transferred onto a label’s substrate when heat is applied.

It’s extremely important to choose the right ribbon type for your application.

Here’s how to do so!

Ribbon Types & Formulas

In general, thermal transfer ribbons come in three different formulations (ribbon ink): 

  • Wax
  • Wax/Resin
  • Resin

The ingredients all have specific uses.  You use carbon for the color, wax to stabilize the color, and resin for durability.

How to Choose the Right Ribbon  

In order to select the best ribbon for your application, you need to evaluate the ribbon composition and characteristics.

See below to learn more about each formulation, why you’d want to choose them, and usual applications per each ribbon type:


ribbons thermal transfer printer

–>To see the thermal transfer ribbons offered by Genuine TSC Supplies, check our catalog here!


Do you have any questions about thermal transfer printers, ribbon types, or ribbon formulations?


2 responses to “Choosing the Right Ribbon for your Thermal Transfer Printer”

  1. DAVID GREY says:

    What type of thermal ribbon do you recommend for printing on to UV cured inks?

    • TSC Admin says:

      David, thank you for your question! Please contact your regional TSC office. More information is needed to answer this question (the printer type and specific application measurements).

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