How do Thermal Printers Work?

Thermal printers are handy tools for printing labels, receipts, and barcodes fast and without breaking the bank. In this guide, we’ll explain how thermal printers work and what features to consider when choosing the perfect one for your business.

What do you mean by a ‘Thermal Printer’?

A thermal printer is a special kind of printer that uses heat to make black text or pictures on paper. It works by heating a printhead and pressing it against a special paper or ink ribbon. This creates the text or pictures. Thermal printers are often used for making labels, receipts, barcodes, ID badges, and more in many different industries.

How Does a Thermal Printer Work?

How Does a Thermal Printer Work

To understand how a thermal printer works, you should know there are two main types of thermal printers: direct thermal printing and thermal transfer printing.

1. Direct Thermal Printing

  • Uses heat-sensitive paper and doesn’t need ink or toner.
  • The printhead heats up and presses onto the paper, making it turn black when heated.
  • It’s cheap to maintain because it doesn’t need ink, but prints may fade over time.
  • You can only print in one colour because the paper determines the colour.

2. Thermal Transfer Printing

  • Uses ink ribbons pressed onto the printing material by the printhead.
  • The ink transfers onto the material and dries there.
  • Prints are less likely to fade and you can use multiple colours at once.
  • However, it needs ink ribbons which can increase maintenance costs and may have more operational issues.

| Do you wish to learn how to do ThermoTex Integration? This read will be worth stopping by!

Uses of Thermal Printers

Thermal printers are widely used across various industries due to their energy efficiency, speed, and portability. Here are some common applications:

Dry-cleaning and Laundry Business: Utilized for printing tags and labels for garment tracking and management.
Government: Utilized for printing ID badges, supply chain labels, emergency management, and admin purposes.
Manufacturing: Used for quality assurance, compliance labels, maintenance or parts management, and progress tracking.
Healthcare: Employed for printing labels for lab or pharmacy samples, patient wristband IDs, and asset management.
Retail and Hospitality: Used for POS or mobile POS receipt printing, inventory management, printing price tags, guest cards or passes, ID badges, etc.
Logistics and Transportation: Used for inventory management, shipping, receiving, packing slips, and return labels.

Top Benefits of a Thermal Label Printer

1. Cost-effective: Thermal printers keep costs low as they do not rely on ink to print.

2. Minimal supply replacement: No ribbons, cartridges, or other supplies need to be replaced to ensure continued use. Only the media is needed to keep the printer running.

3. Portability: These compact printers are portable and convenient to use on the go. A lightweight design makes them easy to take with you anywhere, whether in the office, warehouse, tradeshows, or on demos.

4. High printing speeds: Thermal printers offer quality results with high printing speeds. Expect smudge-free results that tend to be highly legible and long-lasting, with prints taking milliseconds to complete.

5. Low maintenance: Thermal printers have few moving parts, reducing the risk of breakage and making them easy to maintain. Thermal printer printheads last about 10 years on average.

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Making the right choices: How to pick the Thermal Printer by Model?

Once you know what you need from a thermal printer, you’ll find a variety of models to pick from.

The main difference is their size. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Mobile Thermal Printers: These are small, handheld printers that are portable and wireless.
They’re great for printing on the go, like in warehouses or rough environments. Look for durability features like waterproofing or temperature resistance. Choose this if you need something sturdy but lightweight.

Desktop Thermal Printers: These are a bit bigger than mobile printers but still compact enough for a desk. They come with wired or wireless connections and can handle moderate printing volumes. They’re reliable and low-maintenance, ideal for retail settings.

Industrial Thermal Printers: These are larger and tougher, built to handle heavy printing loads 24/7. They’re perfect for big operations like logistics or manufacturing. Some even come with advanced features like IoT software for easier control. Choose this if you need constant and reliable printing for a large-scale operation.

Make a Smart Upgrade by linking Axcess IT Cleantouch EPOS to Thermal Printers!

Thermal printers use special thermal receipt paper, unlike impact printers which use standard paper. Make sure to get the right width for your printer. If your printer isn’t working, try flipping the till roll. Thermal printers are popular for their quality and reliability, saving money on expensive paper. You can even print company logos on your receipts.

It’s great if you are already using an EPOS Till System. You can upgrade to a fuss-free chore by linking your Axcess IT Cleantouch EPOS with a thermal printer for better receipts. Feel free to drop an inquiry right away if you want an EPOS Till System installed first!


Should you invest in thermal printers?

If you need to print signs, shipping labels, barcodes, or receipts, consider using a thermal printer. Unlike inkjets, thermal printers are more portable and have lower consumable costs. Although they may cost more initially, you’ll save money in the long run due to lower consumable costs and better durability.

Are thermal printers ideal for colour prints?

Thermal printers utilize a monochrome printing method by heating specialized thermal paper to create images. Unlike inkjet or laser printers, they cannot print in colour. Thermal printing is typically used for tasks where colour is not required, like printing receipts and labels.

Do you need special papers for thermal printers?

Yes, thermal printers need special thermal paper coated with a heat-reactive chemical. This paper changes colour when heated, allowing the printer’s thermal printhead to create text or images. Regular paper won’t work and might harm the printer.

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What Is a VAT Receipt?

VAT is a common charge we see on receipts. As a business owner, keeping VAT receipts is a legal requirement. These receipts are needed to claim back VAT on business purchases. Let’s understand what a valid VAT receipt looks like and how to keep good records. In addition, we’ll be checking out VAT exemption, VAT charges, and more.

What is a VAT Receipt?

VAT receipts detail your purchases and the VAT paid. In the UK, VAT-registered businesses must provide VAT receipts upon request. It’s crucial to store these receipts safely for your VAT return. They prove the VAT paid and ensure accurate tax calculations. Some transactions under £25 allow VAT claims without a receipt.

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What is VAT?

What Is VAT

VAT, or Value Added Tax, is a tax on things you buy, like goods and services. If your suppliers are VAT-registered, they charge you VAT on your purchases. If your business is VAT-registered too, you charge your customers VAT on what you sell. You keep track of the VAT you pay and collect. At tax time, you calculate the difference. This determines if you owe a VAT refund.

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How does a VAT Receipt and a VAT invoice differ?

In general, they’re pretty much the same, but VAT invoices are typically used more for recording business expenses. For instance, if you buy a laptop for personal use, you’ll get a receipt showing the VAT paid. But if it’s for business, you’ll also get a VAT invoice. For purchases under £250, retailers can give a simplified VAT invoice. A full one is only needed if asked for.

What are VAT invoice requirements?

What are VAT invoice requirements

To reclaim VAT, you need to show the original purchase receipt, also known as the VAT invoice, to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Thus, your invoice can also be termed as an HMRC invoice. A valid VAT receipt should have:

  • Seller’s VAT registration number
  • List of purchased items
  • Unique invoice number
  • Business addresses of both buyer and seller
  • Tax date (date of supply)
  • Business names of both buyer and seller
  • Receipt issuance date

These HMRC invoice requirements should not be missed. Missing or incorrect information may prevent VAT reclaims. Delivery notes, letters, or emails aren’t valid VAT receipts. Check your invoices carefully to avoid issues. Alternatively, our accountants can assist you.

What’s in your VAT Receipt?

Not all VAT receipts need to include every detail. Retailers can issue simplified VAT invoices for sales under £250 including VAT, if requested. A simplified VAT receipt must show:

  • Supplier name and business address
  • Supplier VAT registration number
  • Date of supply or tax point
  • Description of goods or services supplied

If the sale includes items with different VAT rates, the receipt must show each item’s applicable VAT rate and the total price including VAT. VAT-exempt supplies, like postage stamps, shouldn’t be included on simplified invoices or modified VAT invoices.

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Best Practices for VAT Recordkeeping

Holding onto valid VAT receipts is crucial for proving how much VAT you’ve paid and claimed back on your VAT returns during inspections. Remember to check your receipts for VAT charges, as they might not always be included. Keep a VAT account to track output tax on sales, acquisitions, reverse charge procedures, error adjustments, and other VAT-related adjustments.


What if I lose my VAT receipt?

Losing VAT receipts is common, especially for small purchases or from local shops. In such cases, you can support your claim with alternative proof of payment, like a bank statement or credit card record. Good record-keeping practices can help minimize lost receipts. That’s included as basic VAT receipt rules.

How to store VAT receipts?

You must retain copies of every VAT invoice and receipt for up to 6 years.

Are VAT receipts and regular receipts different?

Yes, a VAT receipt itemizes the Value Added Tax (VAT) applied to the transaction, providing a breakdown of the total cost and associated tax, unlike a regular receipt.

Why do people request a VAT receipt?

People primarily request VAT receipts for business or reimbursement purposes. These receipts enable individuals and businesses to track and reclaim the VAT portion of transactions, which is important for accounting, tax reporting, and expense reimbursements.

VAT laws Under UK law, VAT-registered businesses must provide customers with VAT receipts upon request. If a supplier fails to provide one, you are legally entitled to request it. Similarly, if you fail to provide a VAT receipt to your customers, they have the right to request it. Additionally, all VAT-registered businesses must maintain transaction logs for at least six years, ensuring records are kept in good condition and easily accessible.

Supercharge your business with AXCESS IT EPOS!

Ready to elevate your VAT management? Let’s discuss how Axcess IT EPOS can revolutionize your business. Make a Valid VAT Invoice and kick the risks of VAT without a receipt on the go. Give us a chance & see how your business potentials excel.

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