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Difference Between Carbonless and Thermal Receipt Paper – Facts You Need to Know

Due to the digitalization of almost everything around us, it is quite normal for payment processes to transform over time. From multiple copies made with carbon paper to point-of-sale machines, almost all retail outlets and service industries are now using thermal paper to ensure that their sales records are ready to access at all times. Be it a small shop in your area or a multi-level shopping center, receipt paper is common and provided at almost all brick and mortar stores as proof of purchase. This blog will learn about the difference between carbonless vs. thermal receipt paper.

Difference Between Carbonless vs. Thermal Receipt Paper

Receipt paper starts as base paper made from wood pulp. However, carbonless receipt paper is a base paper with a two-ply design. In addition, it has been coated with micro-encapsulated ink or dye, making it easier for you to create more than one copy of a receipt while printing.

Some important points which create a major difference between thermal receipt paper and carbonless paper are as follows:

1)- Paper surface color

Carbonless printer paper comes in three different surface colors: white, pink, and canary.

2)- Coating

The carbonless paper has several coatings at the front and the back, which help create images through applying pressure.

3)- Ribbons

Carbonless receipt paper has a traditional printing ribbon which provides a good quality print on the first page, and the pressure on the first sheet creates an image on the sheets under it.

4)- Print-out image color

Carbonless receipt paper has at least two to three sheets, one of which goes to the customer, the other goes to the retail business owner. In addition, the first sheet of the carbonless receipt paper has dye pigments that, when applied pressure, create a replica of the topmost sheet on the second and third layers of the sheet.

Thermal receipt paper

Thermal receipt paper is base paper that has been coated in several layers of chemicals and dyes that provide a smooth surface wherein text or image is printed via heat.

 1)- Paper surface color

The paper surface color for thermal receipt paper is usually white, and when exposed to heat, they turn black to create images or text.

2)- Coating

Thermal receipt paper has several coatings. A layer of chemicals creates a smooth and bright surface suitable for a thermal receipt printer and creates images or text by a thermochromic reaction.

 3)- Ribbons

A thermal receipt paper is more common in usage as these are easy to use and do not need any printing ribbons, and work on the principle of heat to create text and images.

4)- Print-out image color

Thermal receipt paper rolls have heat-sensitive coatings on both sides. Most have one heat-sensitive, bright and smooth surface, whereas the other side is not heated. Therefore, the text or image created is blue or black due to heat-sensitive chemicals in thermal receipt paper.

Commonly used paper type for receipts

The most common type of paper used for receipts is thermal paper rolls. However, some businesses use carbonless or wood-free paper. Thermal receipt paper works only with thermal printers. On the other hand, wood-free paper is usable on all standard printers. Finally, carbonless paper is majorly used in laser printers. The main reason for the usage of thermal receipt printers is as follows:

 1)- Lower maintenance cost

Due to the minimized need for moving parts in a thermal printer, it is comparatively less needful for regular maintenance and repair than a standard printer.    

2)- Minimal running cost

Thermal printers do not need ink to print images or text and can easily print through heated printer pins. Therefore no need for ink cartridges or ribbons.

 3)- Faster print speed

Compared to a standard printer’s speed, thermal paper printers can create text or images in less than a minute, making it easier to print packing labels and receipts for customers.

 4)- Adaptability

When text or image is printed on thermal paper, it has a high-quality image created in less than a minute. Due to the same benefits, thermal paper and thermal printers are quite popular across all businesses and industries—the use of thermal receipt paper has increased due to its quick and exact results.

In Summary

With all the helpful information provided above, you can choose between carbonless paper and thermal receipt printer paper as a business owner. Graphic Tickets & Systems has been in the field of creating high-quality thermal receipt papers for a variety of machines and business fields. The experienced professionals will guide you and help you understand the best-suited thermal receipt paper or carbonless receipt paper in your business field.

Also, thermal receipt paper has different types based on the different thermal paper printers available. Therefore, Graphic Tickets & Systems can make it easier for you to select the best-suited type for your business and thermal printer machine.

Written By
Matt castle

Matt Castle is the Sales Manager for Graphic Tickets & Systems, where he gives guidance and helps the customer with getting the product that will perform the best for their needs. Dedicated to the end-user, he is enthusiastic about talking to people all over the U.S. and taking care of their thermal paper needs as quickly and efficiently as possible so they can worry about the other projects on their desk. As a Marine Veteran, he takes pride in his attention to detail to make sure that your thermal paper rolls will work in your machines. After hours, he spends his time as a volunteer firefighter. For more information about Matt or thermal paper, please feel free to visit our website at www.graphictickets.com.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is carbonless paper thermal paper?

Carbonless paper and thermal receipt paper are two different types of papers that work separately. Thermal receipt paper has several chemical coatings that react when exposed to heat from the thermal printer. Carbonless paper, however, has a layer of ink that creates text due to pressure on the coated side of the printer.

Is all thermal receipt paper the same?

Thermal receipt paper is a base paper with several chemical coating layers that react to heat, creating images or text. Due to the different thermal printer machines, the thermal paper receipts can differ as per the printer machine being used.

What is the difference between thermal paper and regular paper?

The main difference between thermal and standard paper is that thermal receipt paper has different layers of heat-sensitive chemicals that create text or images. In contrast, the regular paper needs a printer, ink cartridges, or ribbons to print images or text. Also, thermal receipt paper takes less time than regular paper to print, making it quite popular for businesses in the retail and service fields to use thermal paper for transactions.

How do you know if a receipt is thermal paper?

There are three ways to know if a receipt is a thermal paper receipt. The methods are as follows:
1) Scratch the surface of the receipt with the fingernail to check for a black mark on its surface.
2) Compare the receipt with a piece of regular paper. Thermal receipt paper has a shiny and smooth surface that is easy to observe.
3) The easiest way to check thermal paper is to place it in a thermal printer and check for any image or text printed on it. If the paper comes out blank, it is either regular or carbonless paper. But if the paper has printed text or image on it, it is usable in a thermal paper printer.

How do you test the thermal paper quality?

If you intend to test the quality of thermal paper, you need to check the following attributes:
1) Appearance should be slightly greenish and not reflect too much light.
2) Storage time duration by checking the time needed for the paper to turn black.
3) Quality of chemical coating by checking the streaks when exposed to fire.

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