When it comes to Brother’s PocketJet 3 you need to understand that they use their own specific paper due to the thermal printing mechanisms involved. Find out more below.
The PJ 3 and PJ 6 printers are thermal printers. Thermal printers don’t use ink, but they do need special thermal paper. Thermal printing works by heating or ‘burning’ ultra-specific small parts of the paper to form text and images. Instead of burning the paper to ashes, the specific paper has chemicals woven into its structure which allow for color changes to take place depending on the chemicals.
The process which occurs is quite simple, the chemical which causes let’s say the color black to appear is rapidly heated by the thermal head which itself is heated by electricity passing through it. The chemical was is white in appearance to start with quickly reaches its melting point and turns from a solid to a liquid and during this chemical change the color also change from white to black. As soon as it has melted the thermal head is already rapid-heating another part of the piece of paper up and the liquid which changed color re-solidifies retaining the color change.
The thermal paper is device-specific a lot of the time and in this case the Brother PocketJet 3 is generally considered to be the same, especially due to the nature of the paper being stored in rolls and then stored within the printer for convenience.
If you’re looking to buy the paper then you need to make sure you’re buying the correct type of paper. Some Pentax PocketJet papers will work with the Brother version just make sure they’re the correct size. One thing which is important to remember about thermal paper is that it’s about double the price of regular laser/inkjet paper. Also the entire device is more expensive meaning that you’ll be paying around double for both the Brother PocketJet printer and the paper itself.
This may sound like a bad combination but overall if you want to use your printer a lot you’re actually going to end up saving money. The first reason for this is that thermal printers don’t use ink since they heat up the paper. So you’ll be saving a lot of money in ink cartridges not needing replacement. You’ll also be saving yourself the mess and hassle of having to change ink cartridges which may be fine in the house, but if you want a portable printer and you’re having to change it where you don’t have easy access to lots of cleaning materials it’s quite simply going to be a big hassle.
Finally you’ll save money because thermal printers don’t have moving parts (or comparatively almost non when compared with inkjet/laser alternatives) and are hence less likely to break. This may not seem like a significant issue, and it wouldn’t be if you were leaving an inkjet printer on a stable desk all day, but we’re talking about portable printing and for Brother this means a compact, lightweight printer which can withstand being carried around in a bag and being moved around a lot.