Thermal paper roll is everywhere in daily life. In a fast chain restaurant, it consumes tons of receipts per month. The consumption is also huge in supermarkets, banks, hospitals everyday. When you start a thermal paper business or consume rolls for your business, you need to recognize and choose thermal paper from other types of paper.

There are mainly 3 types of paper rolls used in Point of Sale terminal and retail industry. —Thermal paper, Bond paper and Carbonless paper.

1) Thermal Paper

Thermal paper has a smooth surface which is coated with dye chemicals. When exposed to heat, the paper will change color to show text or image. No cartridge or ink ribbon is required for thermal printer. You can test ther paper with a thermal printer. If you don’t have a thermal printer available, you can try to check it with your fingernail. Just run your fingernail firmly across the paper, it will leave a mark if it’s thermal paper. There’s also an exception. You’d better check it on both front and back side of paper. For some specific printers, thermal paper surface is on the back side of paper.

identify thermal paper

2) Bond Paper/Woodfree Paper

Bond paper is also called woodfree paper. It’s one ply paper and needs ink/cartridge to print. The paper surface is not shiny as thermal paper and it will not leave mark or change color when you slide on the surface with your fingernail.

3) Carbonless Paper

Carbonless paper usually has 2-4 plys. The color is white/pink/yellow/blue, etc. Same as bond paper, it also need ink ribbon/cartridge to print receipt. Chemicals exist between layers. So when printer releases pressure on the first layer, the second and third layer will copy content from first layer. Customer can keep one copy of receipt; the retailer can also keep one copy.