Can I print direct thermal labels on my printer that currently uses as ribbon?

Yes, any printer that will print with a ribbon will also print direct thermal mode.

Does darkness/heat setting affect my print head life?

Yes, but not significantly.  The type of material (label/tag) stock has a greater bearing on print head life.  Rough material, or printing direct thermal mode (no ribbon to act as a buffer) will degrade print heads more quickly.

Are Resin ribbons better than Wax ribbons?

No ribbon type is neither better or worse than another.  The key is to match the ribbon performance to your specific application requirements.

How long will direct thermal labels last once they're printed?

In most cases topcoated direct thermal labels will be readable / scannable for at least a year.  Direct sunlight and high heat environments will shorten that life.

How often should I clean the print head and what is the process?

We recommend cleaning the print head every time you change the ribbon (thermal transfer) or once for every box of labels (direct thermal).  Using 99% alcohol and a lint-free pad is our preferred method.