Specializing in thermal printing technology, PriMedia Source, LLC offers a wide range of
thermal transfer and direct thermal labels for industrial, desktop and mobile printers.

Labels for Thermal Printers

There are many brands of Thermal Printers and they are available in industrial, desktop and mobile models.  We stock blank and floodcoated (full color) labels fanfolded and on 3/4" , 1" and 3" cores in a variety of materials and adhesives.  If we do not offer a stock label that fits your application, there are hundreds of dies and materials available for custom labels.


We believe that thoroughly testing label stock and adhesive is the most critical part of a successful labeling project.  We are happy to offer complimentary label testing at our facility or to send free samples for on-site testing.

Direct Thermal vs. Thermal Transfer Printing

Very simply, thermal transfer printing requires the use of a ribbon while direct thermal does not.


Thermal transfer printers require the use of a ribbon that is transferred onto the label or tag with the heat generated by the printhead.  The image produced with thermal transfer technology is very crisp and durable and is an excellent choice for high density barcodes that require longevity.  The other benefits are that thermal ribbon is available in many colors and formulations, allowing users to print on paper, synthetic material (polyester, BOPP, vinyl), and even foil.  Please note properly matching the ribbon formulation and the label/tag stock is critical to the overall quality and durability of the printed media.


Direct Thermal media is coated with a heat-sensitive substance on the face stock that enables a thermal printer to print the label with the heat from the printhead.   Direct thermal printing is limited to black (except in very custom applications) and the image is not as crisp as it is with thermal transfer technology.  Because the coating on these labels is heat-activated, direct thermal labels are sensitive to light and heat and will darken over time.  In addition, it is important to note that a dark line will be apparent if the surface of the label is scratched.  Direct thermal labels are available in topcoated and non-topcoated variations, depending on the durability that is required.  Although there are some disadvantages to direct thermal printing, the primary benefit is quick and easy media changeovers since there is no ribbon required.


We pride ourselves on working closely with our clients to understand the best fit for their application.  We take many factors into consideration including the layout of the label (barcode density), shelf life, environment and application.

Paper vs. Synthetic Labels

Paper labels are inexpensive and offer excellent print quality and can be used in a multitude of applications.  Synthetic labels are more durable (resistant to abrasion, heat, tearing, moisture and chemicals) and are longer- lasting.  Both paper and synthetic labels are available in direct thermal and thermal transfer variations and are offered with many adhesive options. 

                  (630) 553-8451