Barcode Sticker are backed with an adhesive, and attached directly to an object. Tags do not have an adhesive backing, but may have a hole to attach them via an alternate method.
Thermal transfer uses a barcode printer ribbon to form an image, using heat to transfer ink from the ribbon to the media. Thermal transfer printers can use a wide variety of media materials and ribbon formulations. Images have a greater durability for long-term applications.
Direct thermal barcode label are specially coated to run through a barcode printer without a ribbon. The special coating reacts with the heat from the barcode print head to burn the image onto the label. Because of the specialty coating, direct thermal barcode label are sensitive to heat and other environmental conditions. The images will deteriorate over time, and are more suited for short-term applications, such as shopping, clinical laboratory tracking, and perishable food labels.
Direct thermal barcode label are typically slightly more expensive than thermal transfer barcode label at purchase but have a lower cost of ownership because you are not required to purchase a ribbon for printing.
Paper thermal transfer barcode label are usually best for bin labeling, shipping and product labeling. Most direct thermal bar code label are paper and because of this they are environmentally sensitive and have limited and specific applications.
If your application requires a bar code label to withstand abrasion, moisture resistance, chemical resistance, weather resistance or must meet UL or CSA compliance standards, it is vital that you use a synthetic label. The materials in synthetic labels are designed to withstand the rigors of these special environmental conditions.
Adhesive choice will vary with the desired durability of the barcode label. Applications may call for temporary, no-residue adhesive, or semi-permanent adhesion.
Barcode label size is often a major factor in choosing ready stock or custom label. Ready stock barcode label come in the most common sizes, but your application may require a specific dimensional “footprint.” In this case, custom barcode label can be made to fit any need.