How can you tell if you’re buying the right receipt paper for your business? Imagine you’re running a restaurant or a retail store, the paper rolls in your printers are almost finished out, and you want to buy some new rolls. So you use your computer or mobile phone and Google “receipt paper suppliers”. However, you find many receipt paper suppliers selling thermal paper or bond paper. And you are confused by the paper types: what’s the difference between them? What’s the paper type I am using in my store now?

Here in this article, we will help you understand the common types of receipt paper used in POS systems.

1. Thermal Paper

Thermal paper receipt

Thermal paper comes with a chemical coating on its surface. Once thermal paper passes over to the thermal print head, the coating turns black where the heat is concentrated, and from there produces an image or text. You can identify the thermal coat by its brightness and smoothness of the surface. It’s also called the thermal side of the paper.

The other side of thermal paper has no coating on the surface, which is the non-thermal side and doesn’t change its color when it’s subject to heat.

The thermal paper market is a billion-dollar market where the retail, e-commerce, and finance sectors have a significant influence on its growth. It’s economical and convenient to use because establishments don’t need to use cartridges and expensive inks for printing receipts.

2. Bond Paper

Woodfree paper

Bond paper, also called wood-free paper or non-thermal paper, is a staple at the office. The sizes may vary, depending on what type of documents you print, but the popular one is the A4. Whether at home or the office, wood-free or bond paper is useful only in traditional printing with the use of ink or cartridges.

If you put bond paper and thermal paper side-by-side, you can notice a significant difference on the surface. Neither side of the bond paper has a coating, resulting in a less bright and smooth surface than thermal paper.

Bond paper can be only used in thermal transfer printers with ribbons which can transfer the image to the paper surface to generate the texts or images. One of the caveats in using bond paper for printing receipts is that it’s not economical. You need to replace ink cartridges, which are costly if you’re doing this daily.

3. Carbonless Paper

Carbonless paper

Another way to print receipts is through the use of carbonless paper. This type of paper contains 2 or 3-ply, one copy is for the customer, and the other is for the business owner.

Generally, a carbonless paper roll consists of three layers:

Structure of Carbonless Paper

The Structure of Carbonless Paper

  • The coated back (CB)
  • Coated front and back (CFB)
  • The coated front (CF)

The coated back is the one on top and often where the pressure is applied. It has a microencapsulated dye coating at the back of the sheet. When you put pressure on top of the paper to print an image or text, it produces crushed little capsules at the back of the sheet, which releases a dye. The dye reacts with the clay and resin of the coated front and back ply’s face and creates a ripple effect in the coated face.


Here below is the table to show the differences between them:

Thermal Paper Bond Paper Carbonless Paper
Paper color White White White/pink/canary
Coating Yes No Yes
Ribbons Not required Required Required
Print-out color Black Blue or black (depending on the ribbon’s color) Blue or black (depending on the ribbon’s color)

Hope you have known the common receipt paper types and understood the differences between them. And if you want to know how to distinguish them, you can check out this useful article. Are you ready to take your business to the next level with the use of receipt paper? Let us know if you need any of the receipt paper products we offer, and we can send you a special price for bulk orders.

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About the Author: Frank Ouyang

Frank Ouyang is the sales manager at Panda Paper Roll Company - a leading factory of thermal paper rolls, label rolls, and other print-related products in China. With extensive experience in the industry, Frank is an expert in thermal paper knowledge and enjoys sharing his insights and expertise with clients, helping them achieve their goals and maximize their success.
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