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InkJet DVD / CD Printers vs. Thermal DVD/CD Printers

Inkjet Printers vs. Thermal Printers


Inkjet printing has a few big advantages over thermal printing of which most users may not be aware. First, inkjet DVD/CD printers are capable of much higher resolution prints (measured in dots-per-inch, or DPI) than their CD/DVD thermal printer counterparts. The DPI of the printer depends on the manufacturer and the model, but some brands like Epson now have printers with 2400dpi and higher. The inkjet cartridges are usually cheaper than thermal ribbons, however they have a lower throughput than a ribbon (about 200 to 400 discs per cartridge, on average). Also, inkjet discs need to allow time for drying before they are burned or inserted so that the print does not smear. Inkjet discs may cost a few pennies more because of their special matte silver or white print surfaces. Newly introduced WaterShield discs from Taiyo Yuden and TuffCoat AquaGuard media from Primera offer extreme protection from smearing and smudging with a high gloss finish that looks like a more expensive thermal print.


Thermal DVD/CD printers use a heat transfer ribbon that prints directly on the surface of some shiny silver disks or thermal printable disks. There is a cost savings on the disks, however the cost of the ribbons is greater than the ink cartridges for the inkjet printers. However, the through-put of the thermal ribbons is higher (500-800 disks per ribbon). The other drawback of this technology is that it is meant for discs that don't need higher quality graphics or fancy color patterns, just printed words or simple logos or line Art. There are a variety of single color ribbons available as well as two and three color ribbons. Thermal printed discs look best if used for simple one color printing without any large blocks or patches of printed areas. Most High volume duplication houses use thermal printing for the fastest throughput and most durable print surface. If your company is printing a software or data disk that does not need a full color label and you are doing a higher volume of discs then this may be the right choice for you.


Two new printers in the thermal category you should be aware of are the Rimage Everest color thermal printer and the TEAC P-55 color thermal printer. These printers are different than standard thermal printers since they use a thermal-retransfer system that produces full color photo quality prints. This enables you to create off-set quality DVD/CD prints with unsurpassed durability. These printers can create images with the color intensity, graphics, and durability of offset printed discs and they are durable, UV stable, and permanent. This type of printing allows for photographic like images and it can also print monochrome text, graphics, and grayscale images.