What are the Different Types of Thermal Transfer Ribbons?(TTR)

There are three categories available, each serving a different purpose. They are: full wax, wax/resin, and full resin.

Full Wax

A full wax thermal transfer ribbon is coated with a wax-based ink, requiring a low melting temperature.

Key Facts

  • Most common type of thermal transfer ribbon
  • Recommended for coated and uncoated paper stock
  • Softer image durability
  • Inexpensive
  • Good for shipping, shelf, bin, retail, and warehouse labels


The hybrid of wax and resin-based thermal transfer ribbons have a melting temperature between that of full wax and full resin ribbons. They create sharp and clear images on a wide range of material types, and have been tested extensively with our thermal transfer products.

Key Facts

  • Ideal for both standard and weatherproof thermal transfer labels
  • Harder printed area than full wax; more resistant to occasional heavy handling, moisture, and temperature changes
  • Intermediate price bracket
  • Good for barcode, shipping, prescription pharmaceutical, and shelf labels

Full Resin

Full resin thermal transfer printer ribbons are made of pure resin. They melt at a much higher temperature, dissolving into the material on which they’re printed, resulting in extreme durability. Unlike certain situations where having the top-of-the-line product is better than an economy version, full resin ribbons can be overkill when the situation doesn’t call for it. You should likely bypass them for either of the more economic options detailed above if your project doesn’t necessitate their durability.

Key Facts

  • Most expensive ribbon type
  • For use on non-paper, synthetic stocks
  • Most durable of the ribbon types