Select Page

Thermal POS Printers vs. Inkjet

Today, thermal printers play an important role in most receipting systems. Thermal printers are fast cost efficient and offer high reliability. With the ability to adapt to different environments, thermal printers have become the POS printer of choice for a number of different applications including retail, hospitality, logistics, kiosks, ticketing and lottery markets.

But how do they compare to inkjet printers?

Here are our top four reasons why thermal printers are superior to their inkjet.


The paper roll is the main consumable of a thermal printer. By replacing a roll of paper when it runs out, a thermal printer can print approximately 100 kilometres of receipts, which is approximately two million receipts!

Whereas inkjet printers need greater upkeep and use consumables such as; colour cartridges, printer heads and paper which need replacing on a regular basis


MTBR (Mean Time Between Failure) is the standard for measuring the average time between failures for any device. In the case of a printer, it is either the average number of lines printed or average length of paper printer before a failure occurs.


Traditionally, thermal printers have a higher reliability due to their minimal number of moving parts. Paper is pulled across a stationary heat mechanism that heats the thermal paper to make the characters and images. Whereas, inkjet printers are more susceptible to error; They are prone to print heads clogging up when the printer isn’t constantly in use, paper feed carriages can break down and ink cartridges can run out, which all leads to the printer being out of action.


Thermal printers are incredibly fast compared to inkjet printers. A thermal printer can print in excess of 250mm per second, printing in a parallel fashion; compared to an inkjet which prints at approximately 92mm per second, due to the printer head having to move across the paper.

Cost of ownership

Due to the competitive market, the price of a thermal printer has dramatically dropped over recent years. As of April 2012, the average price of a thermal printer on the market is approximately £155 (187.83 Euros), whereas an inkjet printer is approximately £450 (545.27 Euros).


However the cost of ownership goes beyond the cost of the physical printer, it should also include the number of expendable parts. For example on an inkjet printer; cartridges; printer heads and cutters are all additional costs; whereas a thermal printer’s expendable parts are often included.


When you add in the cost of more frequent repairs for an inkjet receipt printers and the cost of supplies on replacement items, the cost of ownership clearly swings in favour of thermal receipt printers.


To find out more about Star’s thermal POS printing solution range, visit the Star website now.

receipt group