IT Printer Technology

Difference Between Thermal Printer and Laser Printer

Thermal Printer vs Laser Printer

Summary: Difference Between Thermal Printer and Laser Printer is that thermal printer generates images by pushing electrically heated pins against heat-sensitive paper. Basic thermal printers are inexpensive, but the print quality is low and the images tend to fade over time. While laser printer is a high-speed, high-quality non-impact printer. Laser printers for personal computers ordinarily use individual sheets of paper stored in one or more removable trays that slide in the printer case.

Difference Between Thermal Printer and Laser Printer

Thermal printer

A thermal printer generates images by pushing electrically heated pins against heat-sensitive paper. Basic thermal printers are inexpensive, but the print quality is low and the images tend to fade over time. Self-service gas pumps often print gas receipts using a built-in lower-quality thermal printer. Many point-of-sale terminals in retail and grocery stores also print purchase receipts on thermal paper.

Some thermal printers have high print quality and can print at much faster rates than ink-jet and laser printers. A dye-sublimation printer, sometimes called a digital photo printer, uses heat to transfer colored dye to specially coated paper. Professional applications requiring high image quality, such as photography studios, medical labs, and security identification systems, use dye-sublimation printers. These high-end printers cost thousands of dollars and print images in a wide range of sizes.

Dye- sublimation printers for the home or small business user, by contrast, typically print images in only one or two sizes and are much slower than their professional counterparts. These lower-end dye-sublimation printers are comparable in cost to a photo printer based on ink-jet technology.

Laser Printer

A laser printer is a high-speed, high-quality non-impact printer. Laser printers for personal computers ordinarily use individual sheets of paper stored in one or more removable trays that slide in the printer case. Laser printers print text and graphics in high-quality resolutions, usually ranging from 1200 to 2400 dpi. While laser printers usually cost more than ink-jet printers, many models are available at affordable prices for the home user. Laser printers usually print at faster speeds than ink-jet printers. Printer manufacturers state that a laser printer for the home and small office user typically prints black-and-white text at speeds of 15 to 62 ppm. Color laser printers print 8 to 40 ppm. Laser printers for large business users print more than 150 ppm.

Depending on the quality, speed, and type of laser printer, the cost ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for the home and small office user, and several hundred thousand dollars for the large business user. Color laser printers are slightly higher priced than otherwise equivalent black-and-white laser printers. Operating in a manner similar to a copy machine, a laser printer creates images using a laser beam and powdered ink, called toner. Black-and-white laser printers use one toner cartridge. Color laser printers use multiple cartridges — one for black and one or more for colors. When the toner runs out, you replace the toner cartridge.

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