How to match a ribbon to your labels

Careful consideration must be given when choosing a thermal-transfer ribbon. There are 4 main criteria that must be addressed.


  • The ribbon must be carefully matched with the material of the label being printed. For example, NitroTAG™ labels must be printed with RR class ribbons in order to ensure printout quality and optimal performance under cryogenic conditions.


  • Ribbons are available in either 0.5" or 1" diameter cores, which are the cardboard cylinders that hold the ribbon. It is best to consult the user manual of your thermal printer to ensure the right core diameter is used.


  • Choose a ribbon that is within the maximum width parameter of your printer (see your printer’s user manual), but still covers the entire width of your label to ensure that the printout encompasses the complete printable area of your label. It is fine to use a ribbon that is wider than your label width, though this can result in excessive ribbon waste. However, this may be advantageous in certain circumstances when different labels sizes are printed, as this will avoid unwanted swapping of ribbons.


  • Lastly, certain ribbon types are available in various lengths. Though, these varied ribbon lengths may be supplied on rolls that are too thick to fit into some of the smaller desktop thermal printers. Again, check your printer's user manual for the right size recommendation.


Luckily at LABTAG, we have made your choice easier by offering quick and easy recommendations once you have chosen your desired label on our website. From there, use the handy filtering options to choose your ribbon according to your thermal printer type.

Our ribbon recommendations are the result of extensive research and development with careful consideration given to the performance of the label and ribbon as a whole.