Machines and technology have become an integral part of business processes and marketing strategies. The right tools can make a huge difference in productivity and impact the bottom line. Label printer machines are one such example. For instance, RFID labels automate inventory tracking while rugged handheld label maker machines enable field staff to work more efficiently across job sites and facilities.
Considerations When Shopping for a Label Printer Machine
Key considerations when selecting a label printer machine include:
- Where and how it will be used -- For example, do you need a portable label maker for office use, barcode label printing machine for shipping and receiving, or an industrial label press for a production line?
- Label types that will be printed -- Labels take many forms including tape labels, paper labels and tags, barcode labels, product labels, GHS BS5609 chemical labels, synthetic labels, RFID labels, and more.
- Label size requirements -- How large of a label is required? Do you want the ability to print large format labels? What about printing multiple labels across a wide web? Or do you plan on printing only smaller labels?
- The number of labels required per month -- Do you need to print 50 labels per month or 50,000? The answer will inform the price range and performance requirements.
- Label printing speed -- How fast does the machine need to print labels? If you have a high volume of items or employees who require labeling across many departments and applications, make sure your printer can keep up.
- Material costs and equipment life cycle -- How much will it cost to buy and maintain the machine over its lifetime including consumables such as blank labels, ink, toner, and thermal transfer ribbon?
- Connectivity method -- Some label printer machines connect via an Ethernet, USB, parallel, or serial cable while others offer wireless printing capabilities through Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity.
- Budget and resources -- How much money do you have to invest in a label printer machine? What about staff time and expertise required for installation, set up, support, training, and maintenance? Would leasing a label printing machine make sense?
Handheld Label Maker Machines
Handheld label maker machines are ideal for labeling electrical equipment and cables, marking inventory bins or storage containers, and color-coding tools and other job site supplies. These machines are commonly used in warehouses and facilities as well as offsite locations. They use thermal transfer technology and label tape cartridges containing the label media and the thermal ribbon all in one unit.
- Epson LabelWorks PX printers are affordable handheld label maker machines designed for harsh industrial environments. They come with a lifetime warranty, rugged design, intuitive features, hot keys, rechargeable battery, built-in barcodes and fonts, generous memory, and more. Handheld LabelWorks label maker printers to consider include the Epson LabelWorks LW-PX750, LW-PX700, and LX-PX900.
- Dymo Rhino industrial handheld printers are the most rugged of the Dymo family, offering fast, compliant labeling, fast print speeds, and time-saving features. Models to consider include the Dymo Rhino 4200 and Dymo Rhino 5200.
- Dymo XTL label maker machines are rugged units for cable marking, facilities management, asset labeling, and similar applications. These label makers feature a large color display, preloaded templates, and more. Models to consider include the Dymo XTL 500 and XTL 300.
- Dymo LetraTag label makers are a good choice for the home or office. These compact units work with a variety of label tapes including standard, metallic, and iron-on Dymo label tapes. Models to consider include the Dymo LetraTag 100H, LetraTag 100T, and LetraTag 100H Plus.
- Dymo LabelManager label maker machines are perfect for offices needing to print general identification labels. They offer generous displays, QWERTY or compact keyboards, and lithium-ion batteries. Some models, like the Dymo 500TS, can connect to computers for printing labels directly from business software. Dymo LabelManager models to consider include LabelManager 160, LabelManager 360D, LabelManager 500TS, LabelManager 280, LabelManager210D, and LabelManager 420P.
- Brother P-Touch label makers are ideal for home, office, and industrial labeling needs alike. For industrial use cases, look at the PT-E105 or PTH-111 models. For general home, office, and warehouse use, consider the P-Touch H110 as an entry-level unit or the PT-H300.
Desktop Label Printing Machines
As we move into the desktop category, we start to see thermal and color inkjet models with higher print resolutions, more advanced features, and greater versatility. Desktop label printers offer a versatile solution for businesses looking to print address, shipping, file, folder labels, or similar items in the office.
Label printer machines in this category can be used with dedicated label design software or applications like Microsoft Excel and Word.
For example, we've talked a lot about Dymo tape label makers. However, Dymo LabelWriter label printing machines use paper and synthetic label rolls rather than label tape like so many of the Dymo products. LabelWriter label printer machines are ideal for printing shipping and address labels from the desktop. Dymo makes 2- and 4-inch versions including the Dymo LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo direct thermal label printing machine which holds both label sizes simultaneously.
Direct thermal technology produces black labels on white or colored media using heat and heat-activated labels. Thermal transfer technology uses heat and black or colored thermal transfer ribbons to produce barcodes and labels.
Zebra is the leading manufacturer of direct thermal and thermal transfer label printing machines. Other leaders include TSC, GoDex, and Printronix. If you're looking for a reliable desktop label printing machine, you can't go wrong with one of these manufacturers. Some of the bestsellers in this category include:
Industrial Label Printing Machines
Industrial label printer machines are larger, faster models designed for medium- to high-volume barcode label printing jobs. They typically offer remote management tools and rugged components that can withstand heavy use.
Industrial label printer machines can print on a wide range of label materials and support specialty materials for harsh environments like GHS BS5609 chemical labels.
For standard industrial barcodes, Zebra, GoDex, TSC, Printronix, Honeywell, Toshiba, and other industrial barcode printers based on thermal transfer technology will print crisp, black barcode labels. Thermal transfer technology produces much more durable labels with deeper blacks than direct thermal.
These industrial barcode label machines are typically used alongside production equipment and in warehouses for accurate inventory tracking.
Recommended industrial label printers:
- Toshiba B-SX6T-TS12-QM-R
- Zebra ZT600 Series
- GoDex EZ2050
Color Label Printing Machines
While the industrial barcode label maker machines discussed above use direct thermal or thermal transfer technology, Epson ColorWorks C6000 series printers use color inkjet technology. Each Epson CW-C6000 (4-inch) and CW-C6500 (8-inch) color label printer machine is available in gloss or matte inks and with either a cutter or a peeler. They are comparable to the Zebra industrial thermal label printers in terms of pricing and features, but bring color to the label production mix.
- Epson CW-C6000P Matte with Peeler
- Epson CW-C6000A Matte with Autocutter
- Epson CW-C6000A Gloss with Autocutter
- Epson CW-C6000P Gloss with Peeler
- Epson CW-C6500A Matte with Autocutter
- Epson CW-C6500P Matte with Peeler
- Epson CW-C6500A Gloss with Autocutter
- Epson CW-C6500P Gloss with Peeler
Other notable color label printer machines include Primera Technology's Primera LX910 and Primera LX3000, Epson TM-C7500 (gloss or matte), iSys Label label printers, UniNet iColor label printers, and the toner-based NeuraLabel 600e. These are great for small-to-medium-sized organizations that need a high-resolution color label printer machine to print color product labels or industrial labels and barcodes.
For smaller businesses, the Epson TM-C3500 or Primera LX500c are outstanding color label printers at an affordable price. The Epson TM-C3500 uses pigment-based inks to quickly print full-color carton box labels, inventory tags, event tickets and wristbands, conference badges, 4-inch GHS BS5609 chemical labels, and more. The Primera LX500 is a 4-inch product label and name badge printer that prints at up to 4800 dpi. Afinia makes affordable industrial and prime label printers including the Afinia L501 and L301.
For organizations requiring fast high-volume and high-quality color label printing, a digital label press such as the Memjet-powered Afinia L801 or Afinia L901 allows for full color, high-resolution printing in the shortest amount of time. Label presses feature roll-to-roll printing mechanisms for uninterrupted production. Coupled with a digital label finishing system that cuts, slits, laminates, and winds the finished labels onto a core, digital label presses are ideal for high-volume packaging, product labeling, and retail tagging.
If you’re looking for a label printing machine that will suit your business needs, it can be difficult to know which model is right. We hope this article has given you some idea of the types of printers on the market and what they offer so that you can make an informed decision and select the best one for your company. If you need help deciding which would work best, or if you want us to handle all of the setup and implementation details, we invite you to reach out. We offer the leading label printing machines on the market, blank labels, supplies, accessories, and personalized service tailored specifically to your unique requirements.