Decoding Barcode Label Printer Terminology

Printer Terminology

When customers come to us looking to purchase a barcode label printer it is our job to ensure that they get the correct one. But it can be confusing, especially if it is their first time purchasing a barcode label printer. There is a lot of printer terminology to dissect and considering how many options there are available on the market, it can be hard to specify the correct printer.

So to make it slightly simpler, we put together a label printer terminology cheat sheet! Listed below are the most common used acronyms and they should help you decipher the barcode label printing code.

Printer Terminology

TT – Thermal Transfer

Our most recommended print mode is thermal transfer. Thermal transfer is a digital printing method in which ink is applied to the label by melting a coating of ribbon so it stays glued to the material on which the print is applied. We would always recommend thermal transfer printers to customers looking for high quality print, labels going into extreme heat or cold conditions, or on plastic or poly labels.

DT – Direct Thermal

Direct thermal printing is a digital printing process which produces an image by selectively heating coated thermal paper, when the paper passes over the print head. We would only recommend direct thermal printers to customers looking to print standard paper labels. The labels aren’t very long lasting as heat and contact can cause them to blacken. Direct thermal is an ideal solution for courier companies though.


OD – Outer Diameter (Roll)

The diameter of your roll of labels is important to know. Some printers can only take labels that are up to 5″ diameter, while others can take double that. Before looking to source a printer, measure the outer diameter of your labels.

ID – Inside Diameter (Core)

It is important to know your labels core size. There are multiple label cores sizes available and as with the outer diameter some printers cannot take a larger core. This impacts what printer you ultimately purchase.

DPI – Dots Per Inch

In printing, DPI refers to the output resolutions of a printer. This means the physical dot density of an image when it is printed onto the label. We would always recommend a higher DPI if there is any special characters, small text or 2D barcodes. A higher DPI ensures a clearer print.

IPS – Inches Per Second

Inches per second is a measurement of speed for how fast a printer can print. A higher IPS means more labels can be printed in one second. For example, a printer with 6IPS means that it can print 6 one inch labels in one second, 3 two inch labels in one second, or 2 three inch labels on one second.

If you are interested in purchasing a new barcode label printer, or if you have any questions, please contact our Sales Team!

ADC Barcode is involved in the supply of  barcode scannersbarcode label printersbarcode verifiers and label applicators. We also provide custom softwareEPOS systems & hardwareRFID and wireless networking technology amongst other professional services. Get in touch now and obtain more information.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.