Label Printers: Things to Know; and The Top 4 Picks
What are they?
Label printers are special purpose printers that have been formatted to print labels, tags and barcodes on self-adhesive labels, card stock, rolled stock and tear sheet stock. When most people think of label makers—or label printers, labeling systems, barcode printers, or whatever each manufacturer calls its wares—those little handheld devices with small keyboards and one-line monochrome LCDs come to mind. Though many of those are still available, at this point they are largely yesterday’s technology.
In fact, these days, you can find many types and levels of label printers (in terms of price, label quality, and volume). They range from inexpensive and convenient consumer-grade models for labeling containers and other articles around the home, to the mission-critical machines for printing shipping labels, warnings (Stop! Caution! Fragile!), barcodes, product labels, and so much more.
How Do They Work?
Unlike usual household printers, however, label printers must be capable of printing on a variety of materials. These materials will often include plastic or thermosensitive paper. This is as these materials provide greater longevity and can handle the challenges that come with long-term storage and extensive travel.
Label printers typically interface with computers to process its print jobs or operate as stand alone devices through its built in operating system. The latter refers to a Label Maker. Several types of print mechanisms are also used, including laser and impact, but thermal printer mechanisms are probably among the most common printing techniques.
Based on Purpose:
- Regular vs Industrial: A regular label printer is not very big and works fine if you need a small number of labels. Ideal for the office! But if you need to print a lot of shipping labels, it is better for you as an online retailer to choose an industrial printer.
Based on Technology:
- Direct thermal vs Thermal transfer: Direct thermal printing uses heat-sensitive media, so it doesn’t require ink. Thermal transfer uses a heated ribbon to print.
Things to consider when buying a label printer
- Size of shipping labels: Your printer should match the size of the shipping labels you want to use. When choosing a size, you should consider the requirements of the carrier you use.
- Resolution & print speed: The resolution is important for the quality of your barcode and therefore for the readability of your shipping labels. The print speed naturally determines how quickly your labels are printed. As you can imagine, a regular label printer prints more slowly than an industrial label printer.
- Connection between printer & software: It is also useful to look at how the printer needs to be connected to your computer. Most label printers can be connected via USB, but some can connect via serial port (RS-232), parallel port or ethernet. There are also models that can connect using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which makes it easier to move your label printer around.
The Zebra ZT Label Printers are great printers if your operations require labels to be printed day and night. The printers are designed to accommodate your needs, and promote flexibility, integration, ease of use, and simple management. With the compact design, you are able to obtain high resolution labels up to 6” wide, printed at up to 6” per second. The printers accommodate printing of both linear and 2D barcodes, and illuminated media and ribbon paths enable easy internal inspection.
The low-price tag on the DYMO LabelManager 160 Portable Label Maker makes it a great option for those who want a label maker but don’t consider it worth splurging on. The label maker prints water-resistant labels in a variety of sizes for quickly accessing files and other tools. Labels can be printed in ¼-, 3/8-, and ½-inch widths. The QWERTY-style keyboard allows you to quickly enter text. The label maker includes fast-formatting keys you can use to customize labels based on your preference.
You can carry the lightweight, portable Brother PT-H110 label maker with you to create labels on the go. It keeps things simple with three fonts, five patterns, 14 frames, and 250 symbols. The small number of customization options allows you to create the perfect label design within seconds without having to scroll through dozens and dozens of features. You can also choose from 10 pre-designed decorative labels.
The Epson C3500 is another inkjet label printer that offers many high efficiency features and full color printing. This printer is well fit to boost productivity while speeding up your processes, printing up to 4 inches per second. There is no pre-printed label inventory required, you are welcome to print what you need, when you need it. Easy paper loading and LCD display with printer status readouts also allow for clarity and efficiency in your plant.