Thermal Ribbons

Thermal ribbons are required for use in a thermal transfer label printers. There are a number of different options available, the most common are:

  • Wax
  • Wax and resin
  • Resin

Trials are recommended to ensure the ribbon is suitable for your printer, label and application.


Thermal ribbons are required when printing thermal transfer labels. They are made from a polyester film which is coated with ink.

There are 3 different types of Thermal Ribbons:

Wax Ribbons

These are typically used for paper labels, used indoors and for lower-grade print like printing address labels for parcels.

Wax-Resin Ribbons

These are the most popular type as it is a good compromise between hard-wearing print and cost effectiveness.

Resin Ribbons

These ribbons are used for printing onto synthetic labels where they are required for harsh environments, such as outdoors, marine, industrial & warehouse use.

If you are printing onto coloured labels, there are some colours, particularly yellow which we would recommend only using wax coated ribbons, there are however some exceptions to this rule.

Trials are always recommended, especially if it is a new process for you and samples are available on request.

The measurements for these are in millimetres for the width and metres for the length.

Below is a simple guide to calculate the ribbons required for the number of labels ordered.

Thermal Ribbons Guide