Label printers are a cost-efficient way to organize your inventory. Whether you’re looking for labeled raw materials, work-in-progress items, or finished goods, label printers can help streamline the process of labeling everything from boxes to clothing tags.
Label printing is an essential task for keeping track of all your products’ information and their location so that they don’t get lost, among other things, on shelves or warehouse racks. They also help keep people informed about what’s inside each package without opening them up (which could lead someone not familiar with its contents into accidentally breaking something).
Organizing inventory is vital for the retail business, especially with so many types and quantities of merchandise that need to be labeled appropriately. With accurate labeling in storage spaces or on display shelves, retailers can better organize their inventories and keep track of it during manufacturing processes after production has taken place. A label printer is the best way to go if you need your labels in a jiffy! These days, we’re all too busy with hand-writing and labeling. With so many different types of inventory that require differently sized labels, why not let an automatic machine do it? It’s easier than ever with just one click on the computer screen.
How are you going to label all your assets? I recommend a thermal label printer, which does not need ink cartridges. Some models can print on polyester, nylon, and plastic labels – these types of printers would be great in any business where labeling is needed, like organizing inventory or tracking supplies.
Therefore, to do our part to help out, we’ve compiled a list of 19 of the Best Thermal Label Printers on the market today and will go through some of their features to help you decide which one is right for you and your organization.
Best Thermal Label Printers of 2021
Printing labels for your products is often necessary but can be a headache, especially when there are so many options to choose from. Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge needed to make an informed choice on which printer will best meet your needs and keep you coming back again and again.
To find the perfect thermal label printer, it’s essential that those looking have enough information to avoid making a wrong decision or wasting their time going through too much of what they don’t need. With this guide, we’ll tell you about some things worth keeping in mind and help arm you with all of the knowledge required!
1. Rollo – Best Overall Thermal Label Printer
The Rollo label printer is a direct thermal printer that can print labels reliably and quickly at a speed of about 150 millimeters per second. Though this is a direct thermal printer, its labels are still reliably made enough to be readable and scannable. It can take in either rolls or stacks of 4-inch x 6-inch label paper, giving some added convenience. However, if you plan to feed the printer rolls of labels, those labels must have perforations between them.
Because it is a direct thermal printer, it is primarily suited for creating shipping labels. To this end, it is compatible with a vast range of shipping platforms, including Endicia Dazzle, ShipStation, ShippingEasy, Shippo, ShipWorks, Ordoro, marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, Easy, and Shopify; and couriers like USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL.
It prints mainly 4-inch x 6-inch shipping labels, though it can print labels up to 4.1 inches wide.
If you look to print shipping labels quickly, this printer is an excellent and affordable choice. We recommend it for that purpose. However, if you want labels that will last, go for something else.
2. MUNBYN – Best Thermal Printer for Shipping Labels
MUNBYN is a label printer featuring several robust features that make it one of the most versatile thermal label printers on the market. Being a thermal printer, you will not need to add ink for printing purposes.
MUNBYN label printer measures 7.7 x 3 x 3 inches and weighs 3.39 pounds, making it one of the lightest label printers you can have for your business. Its size and weight also make it easily portable in addition to taking just a small space on your office table.
The installation and setup of this label printer are a no-brainer. Its one-click installation eliminates all the complexities that come with installing most electronics. Moreover, it only has two buttons to make it easy for anyone to operate.
With this label printer, you will easily print up to 700 sheets continuously. It only pauses automatically for 5 minutes to protect against overheating before continuing with the printing. The automatic detection of the labels’ size and characteristics and easy loading make this printer user-friendly.
Heat dissipation function
With this printer, you can create custom print labels directly for application areas such as tax receipts, bookstores, bakeries, hospital medical, toll stations, supermarket chains, the clothing industry, etc. It works with all Windows and Mac systems to make it one of the most versatile label printers on the market. However, it does not support the Chrome OS system.
The label printer analyzes and learns your labels with continued use to bring convenience to your business operations. It is perfect for thermal-direct labels, such as shipping labels, warehouse labels, UPS, Amazon FBA labels, and Food Nutrition labels.
MUNBYN label printer also works perfectly with major shipping and sales platforms labelings, such as Etsy, Fedex, ShippingEasy, Poshmark, eBay, Shopify, Amazon, Ordoro, ShipStation, and Shippo, among others.
Once you insert your label, the printer automatically holds it and feeds it into the printer. However, the print labels should be from 1.7 inches to 4.1 inches wide. These labels, which are the most suited for shipping and warehouse labels, are the only ones that the printer produces. The printer produces the labels at a printing speed of 150mm/s.
If you are looking for a thermal label printer that is easy to install and set up, works on Mac, and comes at a lower price than the Arkscan 2054A, we recommend MUNBYN thermal label printer.
3. DYMO LabelWriter 4XL – Best Printer For Large Labels
The DYMO LabelWriter 4XL Label Printer can print large shipping labels up to 4 inches x 6 inches in size, and its software allows you to select from more than 60 different label templates. It can print shipping labels and stamps from entities like DYMO Stamps, eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and its DYMO stamps are all USPS-approved.
You load the printer with rolls that contain 1050 labels per roll, and it can create labels at an impressive maximum speed of 129 labels per minute, depending on the kind of label you choose to print. 4-inch x 6-inch shipping labels take about 3 seconds each to print, though.
It is compatible with Quickbooks and Microsoft Office software, though it cannot print UPS-approved labels and only supports label paper from DYMO.
We recommend this printer if you need to print large quantities of shipping labels quickly. Do not buy it if you ship with UPS, though.
4. Polono – Best Affordable Thermal Printer
The Polono Label Printer is the perfect solution to your shipping and warehouse labeling needs. It’s fast, reliable, and easy to use. This printer has been designed for high-speed printing, printing 72 labels per minute.
The printer has a one-minute setup that saves you time and hassle. It’s compatible with all major shipping platforms, including USPS mailboxes or Amazon FBA shipments – so no matter what product it is printing out of your warehouse (or wherever).
Automatic label detection
The Polono label maker is equipped with an intelligent paper return function, which allows it to pick up and feed your labels automatically. This adaptable product supports a wide range of widths ranging from 1.57″ (40 mm) to 4.65″ (118 mm), so you’ll always be able to find one that suits your needs
The Polono Label Printer is a high-speed, reliable, and easy-to-use device perfect for your shipping and warehouse labeling needs. It supports a wide range of widths and is eco-friendly with advanced direct thermal technology. Plus, it has a one-minute setup time so that you can save time and hassle.
5. AOBIO X4 – Best 4×6 Thermal Label Printer
The Aobio X4 Label Printer has been designed exquisitely and is the perfect size to fit on your desk. It’s compatible with Mac OS (10.9 and higher), Windows(XP and higher), and major e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Shopify, Esty, PayPal, etc.
This label printer can print at speeds up to 152mm per second and with a high resolution of 203 dpi. It can print in different sizes, making it great for any business situation. With direct thermal printing technology, Aobio needs only thermal labels you can purchase anywhere. There’s no need for any toner or ribbon either.
The thermal printer head is protected from overheating by a commercial-grade heat dissipation design, keeping foreign objects out of your printer.
The Aobio X4 Label Printer is an excellent choice for anyone who needs a high-resolution, fast printer. It’s easy to set up and use and compatible with many platforms. The built-in automatic catching mechanism prevents wasted labels, making it a great choice for businesses.
6. iDPRT SP410 – Best Thermal Label Printer for Mac
The iDPRT SP410 is a good solution to your shipping needs. It’s fast, efficient, and easy to use. With 5.9inches/s (150mm/s) high-speed printing technology, this label printer can print 72 sheets of 4×6 labels per minute, improving your working efficiency considerably. Supporting the width of 2″ (50mm)-4.25″ (108mm) and the length of 1″ (25mm)-11.81″ (300mm), this shipping label printer can meet needs on various platforms, including UPS, USPS, eBay, Amazon, Shopify, etc.
The iDPRT printer is designed to print on various label types, including stack and roll labels. The machine has a 10,000-print monthly duty cycle. The print head may stably produce 160,000 standard labels. Thanks to sophisticated thermal direct technology, this label printer can print without using toner or ink.
The DPRT SP410 label printer is durable and textured, with a beautiful design. The adapter is built-in, so you won’t have to worry about the external charger getting messy or needing to be plugged in and out.
The shipping thermal label printer is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. With the free Bartender Label Editing Software, you can easily create any labels you want to print.
The iDPRT SP410 is a speedy and efficient label printer, useful for any business. The printer’s beautiful design makes it stand out from other printers on the market. The machine is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, making it easy to use for various people.
7. DYMO LabelWriter 550 – Best Budget Thermal Label Printer
The LabelWriter 550 is a label printer that automatically recognizes the size, type, and a number of remaining labels. It’s easy to use with an intuitive design so that you can get started right away without any complicated setup required.
DYMO Connect software
The free DYMO Connect desktop program allows you to create and personalize 60+ types of labels through the USB connection. Additionally, DYMO Connect also provides quick and easy access to the latest software updates available for your label printer.
The label printer only works with genuine DYMO labels: it only accepts high-quality, BPA-free DYMO Authentic LabelWriter labels, and paper labels are made from FSC® certified material.
The DYMO LabelWriter 550 Label Printer is a great solution for anyone looking for an easy-to-use, small, and compact printer. The free DYMO Connect desktop program allows you to create and personalize 60+ types of labels, and the printer only works with genuine DYMO labels. Additionally, the label printer is 20% faster than its predecessor, the DYMO LabelWriter 450 series.
8. K Comer – Cheap Shipping Label Printer
The K Comer Shipping Label printer uses the newest Thin-film direct thermal printing technology, allowing for faster and more reliable printing. With a 203DPI resolution, it can print labels with a width range of 1.57 to 4.3 inches and a height range of 1 inch to 11.8 inches, which are compatible with most shipping and mailing labels.
The Comer 4×6 label printer comes with the company’s newest high-temperature print head, which can continuously produce labels up to 500,000 PCS before needing replacement. In addition, the printer requires no toner or ink, nor do they require ribbon; all you need are thermal papers.
Multi-system and multi-format friendly
Comer CX418 label printers run on all versions of Windows and Mac OS. It takes only a minute to set up. CX418 can print direct thermal labels in a variety of sizes, including 4″ x 6″ shipping labels, warehouse labels, barcode labels, product labels, address labels, ID tags, market tags, and so on.
As a gift, the Comer thermal printer comes with a label holder and a USB disk. The driver, installation instructions, setup guidelines, and user handbook are all included in the package. The customer care team can assist you with any issues you may have at any time. Technical assistance is available for free and without warranty.
The K-Comer 4×6 Shipping Label printer is perfect for small businesses, home offices, and everyone in between who needs to quickly and easily print labels. Thanks to its fast printing speed, easy installation, and compatibility with various label sizes, the K-Comer 4×6 Shipping Label printer is an excellent investment.
9. LabelRange LP320 – Best Warehouse Label Printer
The LabelRange LP320 is a label printer that may print labels in various sizes from 1.57″ to 4.72″ wide and high, ideal for 4″ x 6″ shipping, warehouse, barcode, Amazon FBA labels and product labels, address stickers, ID tags, and more. You may print any direct thermal labels, such as UPS. There are no specific requirements for this. There is no need for ink or toner, or ribbon.
The printer recognizes your label’s size, gap, and properties and places it at the tear-off line as soon as possible. There is no need to waste the first label. It has a 6in/sec printing speed, which can print up to 60 4″ x 6″ shipping labels per minute.
The LabelRange LP320 is compatible with Windows (XP and later) and Mac OS (10.9 and later). Not compatible with smartphones, tablets, or Google Chromebooks. For a new Macbook with a TYPE C port, connect it to the printer using a USB C to USB B printer cable.
To begin, you’ll get a USB disk and 100 4″, 6″, or 8″ fan-fold labels from the LabelRange. Technical Help is available for 24 hours via phone and email from the manufacturer.
The LabelRange LP320 is a great and simple alternative to more expensive and complex thermal label printers on the market. It works for any type of direct thermal label, including UPS labels, compatible with both Windows and Mac OS machines. In addition, the product package includes a USB disk and 100 fan-fold labels to get you started. This makes it an excellent value for the price, especially for warehouse use.
10. Jiose – Best Thermal Printer for Food Labels
Jiose label printing machine is a great device for everyday label printing tasks, including food labels. It may be used with various thermal direct label sizes, including 1.57″ to 4.25″, and offers address labels, barcodes, storage labels, and other kinds of information printing capabilities. It is compatible with almost all transportation and e-commerce systems.
The Jiose is a label printer with an average print speed of 86 labels per minute and can print 300,000 standard labels consistently. It has a 203dpi resolution and prints at 4ips (inches per second).
The Jiose printer automatically detects your label’s size, gap, and features and places it at the tear-off line. There is no label paper wasted. This device is suitable for any direct thermal labels up to 4.25″ wide. The label printer is compatible with both Windows and Macs.
ROHM Ceramic thermal print head
With the ROHM Ceramic thermal print head, the Jiose label printer achieves up to 162mm/s printing speed with clear quality. It reduces unnecessary time-wastage and is perfect for any business looking to save money on costly materials. There is no need for ink or toner because the printer uses the direct thermal printing method.
If you’re looking for an affordable device that can print high-quality labels quickly and easily, the Jiose label printer is a great option. It’s compatible with various systems and offers a wide range of printing capabilities, making it perfect for any business or individual. Plus, its sleek design means it won’t take up too much space on your desk. So, if you’re in the market for a quality label printer, the Jiose is worth considering.
11. Zebra ZSB-DP14 – Best Wireless Thermal Label Printer
The Zebra ZSB label printer is an excellent solution for your business. It’s wireless, cloud-connected, and has guided Bluetooth mobile setup – no USB, no cables, no problem! You can print crisp, clear labels with 300 DPI resolution that prints up to 73 address labels per minute.
ZSB Series recycling label cartridges
The ZSB printer uses exclusive drop-in label cartridges that are simple to load/unload and are entirely recyclable. The Desktop and Mobile App workspaces show you real-time information about the label cartridge size presently in the printer, as well as how many labels you have left in your cartridge.
Label Designer app
With the browser-based Label Designer application, you can create the perfect label in just a few clicks. You’ll be able to print them on Mac or Windows computers as well as Android and iOS mobile devices.
The printer is a mobile, Wi-Fi-enabled device with an Android or iOS that allows users to print from anywhere. The user can crop and rotate images and create shipping labels right on their phone.
The Zebra ZSB printer is a great choice for businesses who want a wireless, cloud-connected label printer with an easy Bluetooth mobile setup. It prints crisp, clear labels at 300 DPI resolution and has a recycling label cartridge system. The Label Designer app makes it easy to create custom labels, and the printer is compatible with Microsoft Office and Google Contacts. It also has mobile features that allow users to print from anywhere.
12. JADENS – Best Bluetooth Thermal Label Printer
Are you looking for a 4×6 thermal label printer that works via Bluetooth connection? The JADENS wireless shipping label printer is your answer. This high-tech thermal printing system uses no ink or toner, so there’s no messy cleanup involved. It also works with fanfold labels and roll labels, which means you can use it for all kinds of shipping needs. Plus, it comes with an extra 50 sheets of labels.
The JADENS label printer has a Japanese high-tech thermal print head and 203 DPI high printing quality. It’s compatible with Windows 8 and later via Bluetooth or USB, Mac OS X 10.9 or later via only USB, Android & iOS, via Bluetooth with the “Shipping printer” app.
The JADENS thermal label printer is used to print labels from various marketplaces and shipping carriers, including Endicia, Dazzle, ShipStation, Shippo, Shopify, eBay, Amazon. The device is convenient for making shipping labels, warehouse labels, and market labels for your online boutique. It’s great for shipping items using your online small business.
If you are looking for a thermal label printer that can print via Bluetooth connection, the JADENS wireless shipping label printer is a great option. It comes with an extra 50 sheets of labels and has a Japanese high-tech thermal print head with 203 DPI printing quality. It is compatible with various platforms, plus it has a one-year warranty.
13. Arkscan 2054A – Another Great Thermal Label Printer
Arkscan 2054A is a multifunctional printer designed to print shipping labels, barcode labels, product labels, and other labels intended for other purposes. The labeler can print documents between 0.75-inches and 4.25-inches in maximum width. The length of the documents has to be between 0.4-inches and 90-inches. It accepts roll paper, which you can load inside the printer’s chambers, or a fanfold paper that you can load from the back of the printer.
To make the 2054A labeler diverse, it comes with a 2054A- USB, allowing users to connect it to a desktop or laptop. It also supports Ethernet and WiFi with 2054A-LAN to make it networkable and allow you to print right from your tablet or smartphone.
The label printer measures 6.5H x 8.3W x 9.4D inches and weighs 4.8 pounds, thus making it one of the lightest label printers on the market. Like its peers, the 2054A operates mainly from smartphones, PCs, Laptops, tablets, and other computing devices.
Although the 2054A-LAN model doesn’t have a control panel, it comes with a power button and a release button for opening the hatch that houses the label media rolls. Besides supporting the rolls, the 2054A-LAN also supports folded stacks of die-cut labels, which you can either hold in a feeder bin or pile just behind the printer.
The Arkscan 2054A prints at a speed of 5 inches per second, making it ideal for fast printing several piles of labels. With its thermal-direct technology, you will not have to keep refilling a toner or ink to complete your tasks. As long as you have any thermal label papers with you, you are good to go. The thermal label papers may include FedEx or UPS free shipping labels that come in 4 x 6 niches, 4 x 8.25 inches, and 4 x 6.75 inches.
With this label printer, you can print a shipping label from eBay, Amazon, Shopify, ShipGator, Etsy, EasyPost, UPS WorldShip, Stamps.com, ShipWorks, Shippo, ShippingEasy, and ShipStation, among others. Moreover, it comes with a free software of BarTender and UltraLite label-making Windows-based software. It contains the most commonly used label designs and print features such as graphics, barcodes, complete design for text, and most serializing capabilities.
The label printer is compatible with Zebra LP2844, allowing you to print from various software that Zebra label printers could exclusively use. Most of the setup and printing arrangements require less than a minute to set, making this label printer one of the most user-friendly models you can find on the market. Coupled with how reasonably priced it is, we highly recommend this label printer!
14. Zebra – GK420d – Powerful Label Printer
The Zebra GK420d is a powerful printer that features USB, Ethernet, and WiFi connectivity. It can print about 127 millimeters, or 5 inches, of label per second and does so at a resolution of 203 DPI, which is sufficient for all shipping labels and barcodes. The resolution quality is not top-notch, but it’s more than enough for most purposes.
It’s fast and energy-efficient, making it ideal for shipping warehouses, retail stores, and other places requiring large quantities of receipts or shipping labels. It can print labels up to 4.09 inches wide. The only significant downside is that this printer is substantially more expensive than we have considered here.
The Zebra GK420d has a built-in diagnostic system that monitors the printhead’s temperature and prevents it from overheating, informing the technician if the temperature exceeds the allowable limits. The recommended label rate on the Zebra GK420d is up to 4,000 labels per day.
You will have to shell out more cash for this printer than most of its kind, though it is very efficient. Cheaper alternatives are available. Only buy if you have the money to spend.
15. Phomemo PM-246 – Good Value for Money
If you are on a budget but in need of a fast, reliable, and heavy-duty thermal label printer, the Phomemo PM-246 might be your best pick. The label printer will help you save money while creating and printing cost-effective labels for packages, shipping, postage, file folders, and envelopes.
If you are a heavy shipper, this label printer comes in handy because it can print up to a 4-inch width label with a 6-inch printing speed per second. Moreover, it can work non-stop for more than 12 hours. It will also allow customization of labels directly from any application you are using, in addition to printing black and white labels.
This thermal label printer’s lightweight and pocket-size design allows you to carry it like a small tool to wherever you need to do label printing. It measures 3.4 x 3.2 x 1.7 inches and weighs only 2 pounds.
Automatic label identification function
It comes with an adjustable paper guide that eases fixed length and continuous labels. The printer can print labels of 1.49 – 4.72 inches of width and 1.18 – 9.84 inches of height.
The label printer is compatible with shipping platforms, such as Shopify, Amazon, eBay, ShippingEasy, Etsy, Shippo, PayPal, and UPS WorldShip. With Windows, Mac OS, and Linux compatibility, you can customize your labels right from Microsoft and Mac Address Book.
With direct thermal technology, the label printer eliminates the need to buy the costly toner or ink, making it affordable to most people. It comes with an overheat protection function in the aluminum plate to ensure it runs smoothly, which increases heat dissipation for a continuous printing experience.
Moreover, the extended version platen roller ensures your label print doesn’t jam. The feature also improves the wear resistance of the headpiece to make printing more effective.
Phomemo comes with a USB charging port where you can charge it with a standard USB cable or plug it into your power bank, making it highly convenient. With its 1000mAh battery capacity, you can print up to 4 rolls of thermal papers from Phomemo.
If you are looking for a value of money and versatility in a thermal label printer, this might be your ideal device. You will get quality label prints at their price point like those you could get in a high-end label printer.
16. DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo – Time-Proven Printer
This label printer is an excellent choice for small businesses for whom every dollar counts. The printer is inexpensive, small, and has a pretty little dynamo for printing labels. It can print up to 71 labels per minute if they are small and average about 51 labels per minute.
The DYMO LabelWriter 450 can label in 18 different shapes and sizes, depending on the template you select. Most of the labels capable of making are pretty small, with 2-1/4 inches being their maximum allowable width. This is sufficient for most postage and shipping labels, though, and since this is a direct thermal printer, those are the kind of labels that it is best suited to making anyway.
The only major downside to the DYMO LabelWriter 450 is that it does not feature WIFi connectivity, so you will have to connect it to your Windows or Mac computer with a USB cable.
If you need a cheap, effective, and easy-to-use printer to create small shipping labels and barcodes, this is a great choice, and we recommend it. It isn’t suitable for large jobs, though.
17. Epson ReadyPrint T20 – Best Receipt Printer
Since the Epson ReadyPrint T20 column for accepting papers is about 3.15 inches long and about 2.28 inches wide, that makes it just suitable for printing out receipts; if you run a retail store or any business that sells products to customers, this is an excellent printer to check out.
It’s a direct thermal printer, meaning that though it is relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain, the labels or receipts that your print with it will not necessarily be of superb or long-lasting quality. However, if you intend to use it for printing receipts, this will not be necessary, and the printer can still be a very cost-effective way to meet your needs.
It can print up to 200 millimeters per second, which is great if time is of the essence. It’s got a character set of 95 alphanumerics and 18 international characters, which all come in various font sizes.
Epson T20 offers a range of drivers compatible with various operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. Windows driver supports 24 languages.
The printer’s head life is 100 kilometers, auto-cutter life is 1.5 million cuts. Such efficiency and reliability result from a long and distinguished history in the Epson TM series ecology and conservation.
Efficient energy use
ReadyPrint T20 qualifies for the ENERGY STAR rating. The standby power consumption is among the lowest in the industry at less than one watt. Since a receipt printer’s electricity can mostly be accounted for by time spent on standby, this low value significantly reduces the printer’s overall power consumption.
We recommend this if you need to print receipts in large quantities. This is an excellent choice. If your label printing needs are more varied, look to a different printer.
18. Brother QL-700 – Cheap High-Resolution Printer
This small, inexpensive, and very efficient desktop-size printer prints shipping labels of various sizes and lengths, barcodes, and postage stamps with ease. Depending on the type of labels you intend to print, it can churn out an impressive 93 labels per minute, so this unit is excellent for business owners operating under a hectic schedule. The unit works with rolls of label paper about 2.4 inches wide, and that you drop into it. It also has an auto-cutter that cleanly separates your labels for you.
Though it is a direct thermal printer, it’s got an impressive high-resolution capability, producing labels up to 300 x 600 DPI. This is sufficient for all shipping labels and bar codes and is even enough to give your label some overall longevity.
The only real drawbacks to this printer are that if you need it to print stamps, you must connect it to your computer with a USB cable. Though it can be connected to a WiFi network, it will not print stamps in that state. Though it can be configured to print long labels and signs (up to 3 feet long, in fact), the width of the labels it can print is quite limited.
As long as you don’t need to print extensive labels, we wholeheartedly recommend this unit. It is cheap, efficient, and highly versatile.
19. Seiko Instruments 620 – Versatile Small Label Printer
This makes it ideal for printing wristband labels or other tiny labels, like address, name tag, and file folder labels. It’s got an astonishingly fast maximum printing speed of 165.4 inches per minute, can print a wide range of different barcodes, and has a 203 DPI resolution.
It is compatible with both Windows and Mac computers, though it can only connect via a USB cable.
If you need a cheap printer that can quickly give you lots of small labels, we highly recommend this unit.
We’ve now discussed several excellent thermal label printers and given you a taste of what they can do. We recognize that each person and organization’s needs are different. Since you are ultimately the best judge of your own needs and requirements, we thought we’d give you some crucial general information and answer some common questions about thermal label printers to make you better able to match your set of needs with the right product. With this, you can only be a smarter shopper.
With that said, here are some valuable things that you should know as you shop around and that you’d do well to make a note of before deciding which printer to buy.
What distinguishes thermal label printers from other kinds of label printers?
We’ve repeatedly been referring to thermal label printers throughout this guide instead of label printers in general. But how is a thermal label printer different from any old label printer? And more importantly, why should you care about these differences? These are foundational questions to which you need answers before you can so much as start to pick out the right printer for you.
For one thing, thermal label printers differ from other printers by their special printheads and what those printheads do. The printhead of a thermal label printer spans the material’s width that it is meant to take in. It consists of many heated pins representing a pixel that uses wax or resin-based ink to print your desired label onto your chosen surface. This way of making labels is exact and ensures that the ink on labels made by a thermal printer won’t smear or fade like ordinary ink does, which is especially important if you intend to produce shipping labels or barcodes, where precision, readability, scalability, and durability are all of the essences.
In addition to this, thermal label printers are much more versatile than other printers. They can print onto a wide range of materials, including paper, tape (whether made of polyester, vinyl, or nylon), heat shrink tubing, or other materials. You can also use them to make labels of different sizes.
Different Types of Thermal Label Printers
Thermal label printers can be divided into a couple of different types, each with its respective strengths and weakness. Here they are:
These are the most commonly used thermal label printers by retail stores and small businesses. They are small, easy to store, and can take low to moderate label printing work. They are perfect for offices and most small companies and can be relied on to make, at most, a few hundred labels per day.
Only use industrial thermal label printers if you have severe and heavy label printing needs quickly. These printers are generally large and expensive but can easily generate thousands of labels per day. They are also the label printer type of choice for those companies that need to print huge labels.
This label printer is tiny and highly convenient to use, as there are no associated wires or cables to deal with. Still, their small size makes them only suitable for printing tiny labels – generally just 2, 3, or 4 inches in size at the very most. However, the ability to wirelessly connect them to computers is quite useful.
A standard desktop can print wristbands just as well, but if you happen to require wristbands in especially high quantities, it may be wise to get a device that is specially designed for this explicit purpose. Wristband printers are, after all, generally cheaper even than standard desktop label printers.
These printers are explicitly intended to print tickets, so if you run a theme park, theater, or any other place that requires admission tickets, give these a look. They are designed to print onto thicker paper, and they have taller cases meant to accommodate tall stacks of to-be-printed tickets.
Other Considerations to Bear in Mind When Choosing a Thermal Label Printer
Here are a few other things to remember as you’re on the lookout for the right thermal label printer for you:
Possibly the single most crucial question that you can ask yourself before picking out a thermal label printer is: How many labels will I need to print per day? Different printers are meant to handle different sorts of workloads and generate different output levels. Assuming about 8 hours of operation per day, an industrial-strength printer can crank out anywhere from 7,000 to 10,000 labels daily. Smaller printers in the desktop range can create anywhere between 500 and 1,000 labels.
How much office space do you have? If you’re working in small quarters, it’s recommended that you go with some desktop printer, as larger industrial-strength printers can be pretty cumbersome.
How big are the labels that you seek to print? Desktop printers can easily handle creating labels about 4 inches wide or less. You will probably need to buy an industrial-strength printer for larger labels, generally used for freight shipping. Remember, however, that maximum label sizes vary significantly between printers, and you may be able to find a desktop printer, or some other type of smaller printer, that can make larger-sized labels for you.
The resolution of labels made by thermal label printers is measured in DPI (dots per square inch). For barcodes (provided they are written in larger than 8-point font), 200 DPI resolution is sufficient. If you want professional quality or even aesthetic beauty on your labels, though, consider a higher-resolution printer with 300 or even 600 DPI.
Direct Thermal vs. Thermal Transfer Methods
Another factor to consider in choosing the right thermal label printer is the printing method that the machine uses. There are two different printing methods: direct thermal and thermal transfer. A printer’s two methods will have significant consequences for the type of material onto which label the printer can make and how long it will last.
Direct thermal printers selectively heat thermal paper to produce an image, do not use ribbons, and are relatively simply constructed. Still, their labels are not meant to last for exceptionally long periods. Heat can also do significant damage to the labels that these printers make. That does not mean that you should never use direct thermal printers; however, shipping labels only need to be readable until the shipment arrives where it is intended to go. In such cases, they are an economical option.
Thermal transfer printers use ribbons, making it feasible to use materials other than paper onto which to print your labels. This gives your labels high durability and general quality, and it means that the printer itself is versatile. However, thermal transfer printers are generally more expensive than direct thermal printers.
Connecting Your Printer
The last major thing to think about is how you intend to connect your printer to your office’s computer or computers. There are two basic ways to do this: a USB or Ethernet cable or a WiFi network. Most thermal label printers made today allow for either option. If you only have one computer office, connected via a cable may be most straightforward, with USB being the most common. If your office setup is more complex, with multiple computers likely to issue an elaborate sequence of commands to your printer, go for a WiFi network.
Bluetooth connectivity is also an option for some printers, particularly mobile ones – though this reduces the range of effectiveness to only about 33 feet.
That wraps up the information we seek to give you about thermal label printers. Through our reviews and our buyer’s guide above, we’ve striven to provide you with a sample of some of the different kinds of thermal label printers that you can choose from, as well as some crucial general information that you’ll need to be able to make the right decision to help your business or organization thrive. Though the final decision rests with you, we especially recommend looking at both the Rollo Label Printer and the DYMO LabelWriter 4XL Label Printer for their speed, efficiency, versatility, and low price.
To keep your printer up and running, check out our article on tips for cleaning thermal printers.
The proud owner and lead writer of OFFICE-EQUIP.COM
Office equipment seller since 2011. Started writing in 2018 and sharing his experience and knowledge with love and respect.