Direct thermal printing requires a heat-sensitive label material which darkens when in direct contact with the printhead. Applications include receipts, shipping labels, postage, barcode, price tags, tickets, coupons, visitor passes and many more.
On the other hand, thermal transfer printing requires heating a ribbon on a label material to produce high durability prints and images. Examples include certification labels, wristbands, circuit board traceability code, and permanent identification.
No. Direct thermal printers, such as the Zebra label printer, Brother thermal printer, ROLLO label printer and DYMO label printer, do not use a separate ink or ribbon. This means you will never have to buy ink to refill your thermal printer. What you only need is a stock of label rolls, which you can buy at a budget-price at enKo Products.