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How to Choose the Correct Ribbon for Your Printer

Labels are printed using various printing technologies. The most popular technology is that of thermal transfer printing that typically uses roll form printing ribbons. When it comes to choosing a thermal transfer ribbon for your label printer, there a few factors that are to be borne in mind. Let us run through some of the options so that you can find the right match.

Every printer model has a different function and therefore has a special set of ribbons that are compatible.

There exist two basic categories of ribbons that one can choose from: coated side out (CSO) and coated side in (CSI). This definition refers to where the ink is coated. This subsequently affects how the ribbon is wound and how they are fed through the printer. Zebra printers use CSO ribbons. Datamax and Sato printers use CSI ribbons.

Some criteria required for selecting the ribbon size are:

Label width: Choose the width of the ribbon that is closest to the label size. As an example, for a 2.5-inch label, choose printer ribbon width of 3.17 inch and not the 4.33 inch. In the latter case, a lot of the printer ink will be wasted.

Ribbon Length: Ribbons with shorter lengths are used for the desktop printer models. The industrial printers use ribbons with more length.

Core Size: Printers that are small in size use ribbon cores that are smaller (0.5-inch core).


Ribbon Material

Ribbon materials that are commonly used for thermal transfer ribbons are: resin enhanced wax ribbon and durable wax resin. The type that you need depends on the material of the label that you need to print. The former is economical and suited for shipping and retail labels.  It is less durable. The wax-resin labels are scratch and abrasion proof and suited for applications that are exposed to extreme conditions and those that require frequent handling.




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