You should verify and identify your product with a barcode or labeling code if you are selling goods. To accomplish this, your shop relies on a label printer, which you can use to print barcodes, price tags, and promotional information.
What is a label printer
The label printer is a device for the quick labeling of goods. It allows you to put any desired information on the label: barcode, name, description, composition, price, or article. The label can be adhesive or as a simple sheet of paper.
Unlike a conventional laser printer, this kind of printer prints ready-made labels. There is no need to fit the price tags onto A4 sheets and cut them out with scissors, and it is enough to separate them from the roll, glue them to the package, or attach them to the product shelf.
Types of Label Printers
There are a few different label printers on the market, each with advantages and disadvantages. The two most common types are thermal printers and inkjet printers. Thermal printers use heat to produce an image on a special kind of paper, while inkjet printers use tiny jets of ink to spray the image onto the paper.
Thermal printers are top-rated because they’re inexpensive and reliable. They produce sharp images but can’t print in color. Thermal printers don’t require ink cartridges; instead, they heat the paper to make each dot of text or image.
When to buy a label printer
A label printer is needed in a retail store, no matter what it sells: groceries, clothes, flowers, or ready-made meals. Here are the prominent cases when you can’t work effectively without a printer.
Identify merchandise without labeling
The grocery store needs to label bread. The fishing store needs to label hooks and sinkers. These items come into the store unmarked, and merchants sell them individually. Store employees need to put a barcode price tag or label on each item.
Print price tags
A store often needs a specialized printer with an enormous assortment and regularly changes prices and promotions. For example, a clothing store changes collections once a season and arranges sales. The tags of dresses and shoes regularly need new prices and promotions with a crossed-out value.
Trade-in an online store
Online store employees make labels for items in stock before shipping. The shipping label displays the shipment recipient, where to take it, and contact the recipient. It takes a long time to write this information on each one by hand, so the data is printed on a printer and applied immediately. So orders in the warehouse can be served by one person.
Sell by weight
Potatoes or candy are weighed and printed on the label with a bar code, price, and name before selling.
Form sets of goods
The merchant must label if the store sells ready-made food, such as kebabs, in containers. There will be a barcode, name, weight, composition, and price. It’s the same with bouquets assembled from flowers right in the store – to assign a price to such a set, and you need a label.
A store owner can hire someone to do it or buy a printer – it will come in handy in the future, for example, when changing price tags.
Criteria for choosing a label printer
They vary in width. The printer determines how wide it can print a label, and the maximum is 2,25 inches for most stationary devices, while large-format industrial printers print labels up to 8 inches wide.
The smaller the label, the higher the DPI you need. You can print a standard barcode and logo on a printer at 203 dpi. For a small label, such as on a writing pen, you need a higher resolution of 300-500 dpi. Small print, up to 2 pt, requires a resolution of 600 dpi or higher.
Printing speed is measured in millimeters per second, but it is more important for a store how much the printer can print in an 8-hour shift. In terms of print speed, printers vary in types:
- Mobile – up to 2000 labels per shift. Wholesalers and warehouses use it. The printer is attached to the operator’s belt and powered by a battery;
- Desktop or stationary – up to 3000. Ideal for small stores and warehouses;
- Office – up to 6,000;
- Commercial – up to 20,000;
- Industrial – up to 50,000. These are large-volume printers for large print volumes.
Desktop label printers are suitable for most stores.
Thermal transfer printer or direct thermal printer
There are two printing technologies – direct thermal printing and thermal transfer printing.
Thermal printing labels work the same way as printing receipts. The paper has a thermal layer, which turns dark from the heated thermal head. This image is quickly erased by temperature and fading from light and sunlight. On backlit display cases and outdoors, thermal printing will not work: the barcode will soon disappear, and the scanner will not read it.
Thermal transfer printing uses a label and ribbon – a ribbon. The ink layer melts when exposed to heat, and the dye adheres to the paper. This technology is more resistant to abrasion and does not fade. The barcodes remain readable for up to two years.
Options depending on use
For a retail store and a small warehouse
An inexpensive stationary model with thermal printing will do in a store or warehouse, and it can print labels, price tags, advertising information.
For the counter
If labels are used on a lighted counter or in sunlight, choosing a more expensive thermal transfer printer is better.
For a store with a wide assortment
If there are a lot of goods and there are regular promotions in the store, a thermal printer with a narrow label will do.
For sellers of labeled goods
The printer comes in handy when the store sells clothes, shoes, underwear, tires, and cameras. You can use it to mark leftovers and update price tags. Further, wheelchairs, bicycles, bottled water, and other types of goods will be subject to mandatory labeling. Choosing a thermal transfer printer is better so that labels don’t rub off.
Label printer accessories
Computer and software
You connect it to your computer to print labels on a desktop printer. Depending on the printer model, the manufacturer provides proprietary label printing software.
It is a device that winds the label from the printer onto the hub. Then, you don’t have to peel off each label for bulk labeling and transfer it to the package. It is enough to load the roller into the label gun and glue the labels by pushing the button.
A label gun is a mechanical device that helps peel off labels after quickly printing.
Allows you to use large reels of labels with the printer that do not fit inside the device. The reels are connected to the holder and travel from the holder to the printer via a hole beneath the cover.
What you need to know about the label printer
- The label printer is a device for quick product labeling, and it prints price tags, barcodes, product composition, and advertisements.
- Any retail store needs a printer to identify merchandise that comes unlabeled or is assembled right in the store.
- Without a printer, it isn’t easy to work in a store with a wide assortment, an online store, and if you sell bundles of goods, such as bouquets or ready-made meals.
- You should choose the label printer by label size, resolution, speed, and the type of printing – thermal printing or thermal transfer.
- The printer will need a computer and software, for large volumes will be a helpful label dispenser, label gun, and a label holder.
To choose the right label printer, check our article on the Best thermal label 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.