Most Common Thermal Printer Faults and How to Resolve Them

Posted on 03/07/2017 in Company News, by Jon

5 Series Thermal Label Printer

Thermal printers are a popular choice for businesses who want to create high quality, durable labels while saving valuable time and money.

Used for multiple functions, thermal printers are an asset to many companies, yet, faults or damages to your printer will lose valuable production time.

To keep your company up and running, we’ve created this guide to the most common thermal printer faults and how you can resolve them.

What are the most common printer faults?

Simply explained, thermal printers use heat to melt the wax, wax/resin or resin-based ink onto the paper or materials.

Unlike conventional printers, thermal printers don’t use printing plates. This gives thermal printers more flexibility, a quick turnaround, less paper waste and more print media choices at a lower cost.

Creating long-lasting, high quality labels, thermal printers are a great choice.

However, if your print quality is going down or you are printing incomplete labels, your printer could be experiencing a common printer fault.

The five most common thermal printer faults are:

1. A build up of dirt

Thermal printers can generate and attract a lot of dirt, dust and other contaminants. Without regular cleaning and maintenance, the dirt can clog your printer and print head, causing them to wear out sooner. This printer fault is most commonly seen with incomplete, missing or white lines in your label, but can also cause more serious damages to your printer.


To fix this fault, you need to regularly clean your printer. A good rule of thumb to follow is that whenever you change a roll of labels, you should also clean your printer.

2. Using the wrong type of ribbon or material

If your labels are printing at a low-quality, then you could be using the wrong type of ink ribbon or material combination. When it comes to ribbons and paper, there is no “one fits all’ combination. For each job, you need to consider what type of ribbon and print media you are using and whether they work well together. Using low quality ribbons or material stock can also cause a build-up of dirt within your printer.


It’s important to always get the right materials for the job. If you’re unsure of what combination of ribbon and materials you should be using, then do not hesitate to get in contact with our team, which will be able to advise you on the best materials for your printing job, and, if required, order you any alternative materials.

3. Incorrect heat settings

If the heat settings on your printer are set too high, they could cause the image to smudge and be printed very blurred. If the heat settings are too low, the opposite will happen and you will have a faded image. Having the correct heat settings will make sure that your label is printed correctly, and remove potential problems in scanning and reading barcodes.


If you are unsure of what heat setting you should be using for your label printer, then do not hesitate to get in touch our team, who will be able to point you in the right direction, ensuring that your labels are constantly printed to the highest possible standards.

4. A creased ribbon

If your image has diagonal streaks through it, your printer could have a creased ribbon. Creased ribbons are caused by uneven spacing pressure from the print head, inconsistent pressure, and incorrect loading.


To solve this problem, the ribbon should be removed, the printer cleaned and then reloaded into the printer. Contact our technical department if you require guidance on how to change your ink ribbon.

5. A worn printhead

Print heads don’t last forever. Worn print heads can cause many issues, including thin burn lines from the top to the bottom of the label, incomplete printing and a decrease in quality.


To fix this problem, contact our technical team, who can arrange a replacement print head for your machine.



To prevent future faults or damages, you should ensure that your printer is regularly maintained and serviced.

For more information on our thermal printer maintenance, get in touch with us today.