What Is A Thermal Inkjet Printer?

As one of the most straightforward printers, thermal inkjet printers are widely used to print commercially. Foils, plastics, coated metal, etc., usually have a thermal inkjet print. But do you know what a thermal inkjet printer is?

Thermal inkjet printers heat the ink to set a good print on the material. It provides the highest resolution, better quality, and more durability. It’s a budget-friendly printer that’s easy to use, offers flexibility, and leaves fewer footprints. Foils, plastics, and cardboard are used as printing surfaces for thermal inkjet print.

Direct thermal and thermal transfers are two types of thermal inkjet printers. You can use them in combination. Just remember to use the particular software for each type.

What Is A Thermal Inkjet Printer?

Thermal Inkjet Printers

A thermal printer is basically a simple printer that uses a digital printing process. It means thermal printers use heat to create images over the paper.

The heat melts the ink and is directly sprayed over the surface, providing high-quality images with enough durability. The print can last on any surface like metals, plastics, papers, etc.

The thermal inkjet printer is pretty popular for commercial applications such as grocery, retail shops, industries, and more.

How Does Thermal Inkjet Printer Work?

The basic steps of thermal inkjet printers stay the same. It follows four steps to put a print on a surface.

  1. Electronic resistors heat ink cartridges at 1000,000oC per second.
  2. Ink evaporates and forms bubbles when the ink reaches the temperature of 340oC.
  3. Expansion of bubbles takes the ink out of the heating chamber and delivers it to the nozzle.
  4. Ink bubbles come out of the nozzle and sit on the material’s surface. It creates a vacuum in the nozzle. As a result, other bubbles start to fill the void. 

Two types of thermal inkjet printers are available. They use different kinds of methods to print over the surface.

Direct Thermal Printer

A direct thermal printer applies heat and pressure on the surface of thermal paper. The paper reacts in the presence of heat. It makes the paper black, which creates the print.

Thermal Transfer Printer

Thermal transfer printers force ink ribbons on a printing surface. First, the wax coat of the ribbon melts, exposing the ink to the material. Then, the ink dries to produce a good print.

Benefits Of Thermal Inkjet Printing Process

Here are some of the benefits you’ll get from Thermal Inkjet printers. Of course, the actual list goes on far beyond this extent, but these are the major perks.

Better Resolution

Thermal inkjet printing (TIJ) offers 600 dpi (dots per inch). So, the print comes with a higher resolution than other processes. As a result, you can easily detect barcodes and see the graphics.

Easy To Use

You can directly put the data in the printer and start printing. Then, quickly insert a cartridge and take them off after using it.

A TIJ comes with built-in and format design software. So, it is elementary to use the machine.

Low Cost

TIJ printers are way cheaper than other printers. For example, a CIJ (Continuous Inkjet Printer) costs five times more than a TIJ printer. You just have to buy ink cartridges once you’ve purchased the machine.

Less Maintenance

Unlike other printers, it doesn’t need regular maintenance. Instead, you just have to change the ink cartridge when you print.

Less Footprint

Some printers like CIJ (Continuous Inkjet Printer) take more space which slows down production. But TIJs take less space. So, you can install more of them to increase production.

Available Raw Materials

Thermal inkjet printers use plastics, foils, cardboard, and coated plastics as printing materials. These items are available in every shop.

More Flexibility

TIJ comes with fewer moving parts. It helps to print faster on the material surface. So, you can print more units in a TIJ than other printers.

What Materials TIJ Printers Print Onto?

TIJ printers are suitable for printing information like expiry dates, lot codes, and batch codes. In addition, it is widely used to print on packaging materials.

Thermal inkjet prints on foils, plastics, covered cards, pharmaceuticals, and regular family products. You can use both porous and non-porous materials as a TIJ printing item.

Medical devices and drug packaging are done using TIJ printers. It prints 2D codes and logos. Lightweight or Light duty TIJ works on environment-friendly packaging paper.

For better flexibility and productivity, non-porous materials are used as TIJ printing materials.

Benefits Of Thermal Inkjet Coders

Thermal inkjet coders and thermal inkjet printers are the same things. But thermal inkjet coders do the marking nicely.

  • It can mark everything from cardboard boxes to metal cans and glasses to plastic.
  • It is widely used in chemical plants, aviation part manufacturing factories, and food production industries.
  • You can use it for production setup and also for personal assignments.
  • Thermal inkjet coders are pretty cheaper than other printers.
  • The maintenance cost is way lower than a continuous inkjet printer.
  • Product quality is much better than other printers. It gives an excellent finishing and a bright look to the print.
  • It acquires less space than other printing machines. So, you can install more machines to obtain higher profit.
  • The product of thermal inkjet coders has high durability and longevity.
  • You can connect multiple printers via software to speed up your work.
  • It is compact, low weight, and pre-calibrated, making it easy to install.
  • Anyone can operate it with proper training.
  • The machine has an easy one-off system. Even if there’s a power cut, it’ll recheck the software and start printing.

What Is The Difference Between Inkjet And Thermal Inkjet?

Both inkjet and thermal inkjet are used for printing. But there are some significant differences between them. Here are a few differences to note.

Printing Method

Inkjet sprays color droplets on the material to print an image or text. Next, you can check the resolution of the print measuring DPI (Dots Per Inch).

Two types of thermal print are available in thermal inkjet. Direct thermal printers use a thermal print head to print on a chemically treated material. Thermal printers produce a permanent impression. It switches ribbon ink to a label to make the print.

Print Quality

Inkjet prints high-quality images. But you’ll see color dots if you zoom in. Also, water droplets can ruin the print.

Thermal inkjet produces higher-quality images. The print is brighter and has better finishing with quality color saturation.


Inkjet inks are cheap and available in the market. You can find ink refills in a general shop.

Thermal inks are pretty expensive and rare in the market. You can hardly find the refills of a thermal inkjet.


Inkjet printers need regular maintenance. So, the cost increases over time. But a thermal inkjet hardly requires any maintenance. As a result, it has fewer moving parts and is more durable.


Inkjet prints banners, billboards, 3D prints, and mail addresses. You can use a thermal inkjet to print Industrial labels, tickets, bar codes, and credit card receipts.


A thermal inkjet printer will save a lot of your time. You don’t need to know rocket science to operate it. Of course, there are also other printers available in the market. But you should use a thermal inkjet printer to have a quality product with better durability.

It takes less time and less space but provides the best results. The passage on what is a thermal inkjet printer tells you about the process and the benefits of thermal inkjet printing. Now you can print using the correct printing machine. Good luck with your printing venture!