Thermal paper is special fine paper that is coated with a chemical that changes color when exposed to heat. Thermal paper is used in point of sale printers such as point-of-sale, cash registers, credit card terminals, kiosks, fax, pay-at-the-pump, medical, casino/gaming, self check-out, mobile printers, and many others because it does not require a point of sale ink ribbon or cartridge to display information.


In order for thermal paper to be imaged, it needs a static heat source like a hot stylus or more commonly by a dynamic source of heat like a thermal print head. This is accomplished by a row of very fine dots that are heated and cooled as the paper is transported across the print head by a step motor.

The density of the image can be measured by how dark the image is when given different levels of energy. The darkness or density is measured by a Densitometer and paper must be fully imaged or reach a 1.2 density reading to attain the optimum image life for that grade.


Paper or synthetic base sheet that comes in different calipers that the coatings are applied to.

Base Coat

Used like a “primer” to seal the substrate and provide a surface that the thermal coating will adhere to.

Active Coat

This is the thermal coating, primarily a leuco-dye based chemistry system that will image when heat is applied.

Top Coat

A clear layer of PVA that seals the active coat and provides environmental resistance and a longer image life, typically used in harsh or stressed environments.

Anti-Static Coat

This coating is applied to the back side of some papers, but primarily used as an anti-static coating on synthetic base sheets like Polypropylene based thermal grades which can generate or draw static and can burn out electronic components.

Contact Thermal Paper Plus for your business’ thermal paper needs.