Direct thermal (DT) printing utilizes heat-sensitive paper that has ink embedded within the label material. When this paper comes into contact with the hot temperature of the print head, it changes color before rapidly cooling, leaving behind the desired text or image.
Direct thermal printing is easier to use since it does not require ink, toner, or ribbon. This means less supplies and lower maintenance costs overall. Direct thermal is a versatile choice as it can be used in industrial, desktop, and mobile printers.
Because it uses heat-sensitive materials, direct thermal labels do not have a long shelf-life, usually lasting around six to eight months. They have a tendency to scratch easily, and overexposure to direct sunlight or high temperatures will cause the print to fade faster.