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What is the Difference Between Thermal Paper and Inkjet Paper?

Receipt paper is likely something most business owners don’t spend a lot of time thinking about. It is not surprising that many people are unsure of the difference between thermal paper and inkjet paper. In fact, you may currently be asking yourself, “what is thermal paper?” Let’s take a look at these two items and their respective benefits. 

What is Thermal Paper? 

Thermal paper is a special type of paper intended for printing with thermal printers. It is incredibly fine in nature, allowing it to easily be made into rolls. This paper is coated with dye that reacts with heat. This allows the printing process to occur solely due to heat transfer.

When thermal paper is heated by a thermal printer, the dye reacts to the heat and changes the color of the receipt. Thermal printing is done in a manner that allow for images to show up due to the specific application of heat to certain areas of the receipt. 

By comparison, inkjet paper is basic paper that is used for printing in a traditional printer. The paper itself has no particular properties that facilitate the printing. Instead, the printer directly applies ink to the paper in order to create the image. 

What are the Benefits of Thermal Paper? 

There are many benefits of thermal paper. One of the most frequent is that it is best suited for quick printing. This means that you can print seemingly endlessly without wait time using thermal paper. Thus, it is frequently used for receipt paper, credit card terminals, and other things. 

Another major benefit of thermal paper is its sustainability. It creates almost no waste. In fact, the only waste generated is the paper itself which can be recycled. By contrast, inkjet printers produce lots of waste in the form of the plastic ink cartridges that are needed for their functioning. 

Thermal paper is also a more cost-efficient option for printing. While thermal printers have a higher upfront cost than inkjet printers, they have a longer lifetime, require less maintenance, and do not require print cartridges. Add in the fact that thermal paper is more affordable than quality inkjet paper and your printer and printing costs are less with thermal paper. 

What are the Benefits of Inkjet Paper? 

Inkjet paper also has its own benefits. For one, inkjet printers can typically make more complex images than thermal printers. Thus, for businesses with the need for rendering complex, highly accurate images, inkjet paper would be the way to go in terms of receipt paper. 

Additionally, thermal paper can fade over time if stored incorrectly. While this is avoided with proper paper storage practices, it is a consideration. By contrast, inkjet paper is less likely to fade, meaning that receipts will last longer. 

Which is Better for My Business? 

When deciding what type of receipt paper and printing setup you need, you should consider the purposes and goals for your business. Aside from a few highly specific situations, thermal paper is typically the ideal receipt paper for most businesses.

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