In a direct thermal system, the heat of the printhead causes a reaction on specially coated label paper, resulting in a black image on the label. The advantage of this process is that it does not require the extra step of installing a ribbon. When deciding whether direct thermal is right for a specific label application, it is important to understand the environment as well as the durability of the printed image on the label that is required. Scanability requirements must also be considered. Although most direct thermal label materials cost more, the end-to-end cost may be less due to the time and hassle saved by not having to change the ribbons on thermal transfer labels.