In this method, the paper stock used is a special, chemically treated stock where no ribbon is required. As a result consumable costs are less, but maybe at an expense.
The printhead is direct thermal printing undergoes substantially more wear and tear due to the paper having direct contact with the printhead, and utilizing higher burn times for imaging. The labels have an abrasive effect on the printhead, whereas the thermal transfer produces less friction, so a printhead can last up to four times longer when printing in thermal transfer than in direct mode.
Printheads are considered consumable items and must be included in the overall cost of operation. At costs depending upon printer and features ranging from $900 to $250.00, you can imagine it is extremely important to understand what method will perform best for your operation.