The manufacturer of your printer. E.G - Sato, Zebra, Datamax, Tec, Avery etc.
Usually the letter's/numbers associated with the printer. E.G - Sato CL408, Zebra Z4M, Avery ALS400 etc.
Ribbon Types: (Wax, Wax Resin & Resin) As a general rule of thumb, there are two factors to consider when selecting the most appropriate ribbon type.
The more resin - the more scuff resistance and less smudging.
Wax Ribbon = Medium Quality
Wax Resin Ribbon = High Quality
Resin Ribbon = Excellent Quality
2. Type of Label
Wax Ribbon = General labels
Wax Resin Ribbon = Semi-gloss & varnished labels
Resin Ribbon = High-gloss & varnished labels
Inside or Outside Inked:
Your printer either takes "inside inked" or "outside inked" ribbons. To quickly tell which ribbon your printer takes, check the following:
Shiny side on outside of ribbon = inside inked
Shiny side on inside of ribbon = outside inked
Ribbon Width / Length:
The width of the ribbon should be determined by the width of the label going through your printer. Width is usually measured in "mm"
The length of the ribbon is determined by the printer manufacturer. I.E Sato CL408 takes a max of 450mtr ribbon, therefore you should opt for 450mtr ribbons.
As a general rule of thumb, you should always select the longest ribbon length possible for your printer, to reduce down-time and improve efficiency.