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Top Portable Label Printer Brands for Printing Labels Anywhere

Businesses today have many different label printer types to choose from including large industrial machines and desktop models to portable label printers that can be used anywhere. Whether you want something durable or easy-to-use, there is a portable label printer out there to suit all of your needs! Here are the best options available today.

Handheld Label Makers versus Mobile Label Printers

When choosing a portable label printer, you'll need to decide between handheld and mobile label printers. While both are technically handheld, there are a few distinctions to be aware of.

Handheld label makers are a type of portable label printer that use thermal transfer print technology and tape cassettes to produce durable industrial labels and barcodes. Mobile label printers are also portable, but they typically use direct thermal print technology and rolls of paper-based labels to produce barcodes and logistics labels.

Leading Handheld Label Printer Brands

The leaders in this space are Epson LabelWorks, Dymo and Brother. Handheld label makers from these brands vary in size, features, and layouts. However, they typically include:

  • AC and/or battery power
  • Integrated keyboards
  • Bluetooth or Wi-Fi
  • Basic label design software
  • Installed fonts and barcodes
  • Small LCD displays
  • Cutter
  • Memory

The Epson LabelWorks PX portable label printer line, for example, has nearly a dozen different models of handheld industrial label printers offering different label widths and features. Most have QWERTY keyboards for easy onsite label making, though some do not. For those without a built-in keyboard, label creation typically takes place on a computer or mobile device. Models intended for intensive field work have integrated carrying handles and optional magnetic mounts for mounting on electrical boxes, lockers, and metal cabinets. Many Epson LabelWorks portable label printers are bundled into professional kits.

Dymo and Brother each offer their own tape-based portable label printers with similar features. Of the three brands, the Epson LabelWorks line is by far the most rugged and built for heavy industrial use. Epson LabelWorks printers even come with a lifetime, no-questions-asked warranty.

Label tape cassettes include an integrated thermal transfer ribbon, so there's no need to order a separate ribbon for these handheld label makers. Simply insert the tape cartridge and begin printing labels. Note that tape cartridges come in a variety of widths, colors, and materials including durable synthetic tape labels, magnet labels, glow-in-the-dark labels, strong adhesive labels, fabric iron-on labels, heat shrink tubes, and more.

Leading Mobile Label Printer Brands

The leading brands of mobile label printers include Zebra, GoDex, TSC, Honeywell, and SATO. As mentioned earlier, mobile label printers use direct thermal printing technology. This means that there's no need for a ribbon. Rather, the user inserts a roll of direct thermal labels into the machine and prints as needed. The heated printhead interacts with the thermal label paper to produce the printed label.

Like the tape-based portable label printers discussed earlier, mobile label printers from each brand vary quite a bit in terms of size, print resolution, connectivity options, speed, memory capacity, and other features. These models typically do not have integrated QWERTY keyboards. Most mobile label printer models offer Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Zebra, GoDex, TSC, Honeywell, and SATO mobile label printers usually come with a built-in rechargeable battery that allow the printer to be used on the move. These portable label printers are often used in warehouses, medical facilities, transportation facilities, and in mobile units such as delivery trucks, blood mobiles, and moving vans.

Mobile label printers from Zebra, SATO, GoDex, TSC, and Honeywell are made for businesses that need to print barcode labels and tickets while away from a workstation. These portable workhorses can be used virtually anywhere.

Another advantage that all of the portable label printer types discussed here share is affodability. From enterprise organizations to small businesses and start-ups, these printers are a great option.

DuraFast Label Company supplies businesses across the United States with durable label printers and printer supplies. We offer portable label printer products from trusted brands like Epson LabelWorks, Dymo, Brother, Zebra, Honeywell, SATO, TSC, and GoDex.