Thermal Transfer Printer Ribbons

Order your genuine and compatible thermal transfer barcode label printer ribbons from Precision Peripherals Ltd.

PPL supply a wide range of thermal transfer barcode label printer ribbons that are available to buy with discounts and special deals for brands such as Zebra, Sato, CAB, Honeywell, Citizen, Printronix, TSC and Microplex.    

PPL stocks thousands of transfer thermal barcode label printer ribbons consisting of many sizes, colours and specifications which are available to buy on a next day service.   We can also sell manufacturer approved and high quality third party and compatible thermal barcode label printer ribbons.   

Free samples are available on request.  

To discuss your requirements, give our team a call on 01635 206700 or fill in our enquiry form below for a quote on all of your wax, wax-resin, resin thermal transfer ribbons requirements.  Alternatively, please use our Live Chat feature or fill in this contact form and we will call you back.  

Barcode Label Thermal Ribbons
Thermal transfer Barcode printer ribbon specification graphic

Ribbons for Thermal Barcode Label Printers – A Beginners Guide  

3 Types of Barcode Printer Ribbon 

Thermal transfer barcode printer ribbons are designed to be heated to create an image or barcode onto a label.   The way that a thermal transfer printer works is that the ribbon sits on a roll in your machine and passes in-between the label and the printhead.   The labels are covered with a specially coated material and when they pass underneath the printhead, heat is used to transfer an image from the ink that is on the ribbon onto the label.  

There are three types of ribbon: wax, resin and wax resin and each serve a different purpose.  

Wax Ribbons  

A wax ribbon is a ribbon coated with an ink made essentially with wax-based components. Wax ribbons are the most popular thermal transfer ribbon for thermal printers. Wax-based inks have a good adhesion on almost all types of substrate and are perfectly suitable for printing barcodes and other types of labels. 

However, as they are the most popular type of thermal transfer ribbons then they come in lots of sizes, colours and are readily available.  

Wax/Resin Ribbons  

 A wax-resin thermal transfer ribbon is coated with a combination of wax and resin. Wax-resin thermal transfer ribbons are more durable than the full wax of resin-enhanced ribbons. They provide excellent resistance to scratching, abrasion, and contact with moisture and create sharp and clear images on a wide range of material types. 

Resin Ribbons  

Resin ribbons provide the highest durability compared to any other Thermal Transfer ribbon. 

The resin ribbon range is made up of high technology products that are particularly recommended for synthetic label materials (PE, PP, PET). These high performance products are highly resistant: resistant to smudge, resistant to high temperature, to solvents and to some detergents. 

As the most durable and hardest type of ribbon they are scratch and chemical resistant and so are suitable for barcodes which are going into harsh and hostile environments.  

Ribbon Type and Wind Direction  

Thermal transfer label ribbons are either coated side in (csi) or coated side out (cso). This is referring to the side of the ribbon that the ink sits on. The way to tell which side is coated is by unwinding the ribbon past the outer wrap. Once you reach the black ribbon, you will see that one side is shiny and one side has a more matte finish. The duller side is the side with the ink. This is the side that should face the labels when you put the thermal transfer ribbon on the ribbon spindle. Depending on the specific thermal transfer printer that you have, you will either use one or the other. The only difference between an ink-in ribbon and an ink-out ribbon is the direction that the thermal printing ribbon is wound.

Coated Side In (CSI)

The printer ribbons will have the coating facing outside. The ribbon will unroll from the top so that when it feeds around the printhead the ink will be facing the label. Manufacturers such as Sato and Datamax use CSI printer ribbons.

Coated Side Out (CSO)

The printer ribbons will have the coating facing outside. They unroll from the bottom before making contact with the printhead. Manufacturers such as Zebra use coated side in printer ribbons.

You can easily test to see which wind direction your printer uses. Simply get a small piece of sticky tape and stick it to your ribbon. Wait a few seconds and pull it off. If there is ink stuck the tape then you are using coated side out ribbon and if not then you are using a coated side in ribbon.

Coated side in coated side out printer ribbon wind direction graphic