The 9 Best Label Makers

Updated September 22, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

9 Best Label Makers
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We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Whether you have lots of unidentified stuff in storage or you're looking to take your home or office organizational systems to the next level, a good label maker will be your new best friend. While there are a few analog options still on the market, our cutting-edge selections boast computer compatibility, impressive customization features, fast speeds, and more. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best label maker on Amazon.

9. Seiko Instruments Smart 620

The Seiko Instruments Smart 620 supports major formats for shipping labels, file folders, name tags and more, and allows you to import your own images to incorporate into your designs. Its versatility makes it a great choice for the boutique retailer.
  • compact desktop design
  • thermal process requires no ink
  • a bit slower than similar models
Brand Seiko Instruments
Model SLP-620
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Epson LW-700

The Epson LW-700 allows you to create one-of-a-kind designs in five different sizes and with up to eight lines of text. It can easily be connected to a Mac, a PC, or a tablet via a USB cable if you prefer not to use its built-in text entry interface.
  • uses minimal lead margins
  • programmed with over 450 symbols
  • can't handle tapes wider than 1 inch
Brand Epson
Model LW-700
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Rollo X1036

The Rollo X1036 is compatible with digital storefront platforms like Shopify, eBay, and Etsy, making it a great choice for someone running an online retail business. It's engineered for a high-volume output despite occupying a footprint smaller than a standard envelope.
  • automatically adjusts to feed size
  • works with any thermal roll or sheet
  • not capable of a continuous feed
Model X1036
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

6. Brady BMP21-Plus

The handheld Brady BMP21-Plus comes complete with a keyboard and a 4-line LCD to make quick work of mobile organizational tasks. It boasts a rugged, rubberized body that makes it a great choice for industrial worksites, and can print in six font sizes.
  • wide array of tape types available
  • easy to make onscreen edits
  • keyboard is not a qwerty layout
Brand Brady
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

5. Epson LabelWorks 400

The Epson LabelWorks 400 can be powered by six AA batteries for organizers on the go, but it also comes with an AC adapter so you can go all day when using it at your desk. It boasts small lead margins to save valuable tape and can store up to 50 of your designs.
  • easy-to-see backlit display
  • nearly endless customization options
  • refill cartridges are pricey
Brand Epson
Model C51CB70010
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Brother P-Touch PTH110

The Brother P-Touch PTH110 is a versatile handheld model with a large display that allows you to edit and preview your creations before printing them. It's compatible with a variety of tapes and ribbons, including fabric iron-on styles.
  • prints 1 or 2 lines of text
  • 14 built-in frame styles
  • uses large and wasteful lead margins
Brand Brother
Model PTH110
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Dymo 450 Twin Turbo

The Dymo 450 Twin Turbo features two separate spools and slots to allow for versatility and a high-speed output without changing rolls. It's perfect for printing address and shipping labels simultaneously, but there's lots more it can do if you get creative.
  • produces clear and precise text
  • usps-approved for shipping
  • uses easy-peel split-back tape
Brand DYMO
Model 1752266
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Dymo LabelManager 280

If you're not looking to spend a fortune but you want a reliable way to print single-line stickers anywhere and at any time, then check out the Dymo LabelManager 280. It's incredibly popular thanks to its ease-of-use, full keyboard, and straightforward interface.
  • compact handheld design
  • intuitive qwerty layout
  • remembers frequently used phrases
Brand DYMO
Model 1815990
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Brother P-Touch D210

When it comes to single-line printers, to say the Brother P-Touch D210 is versatile would be a bit of an understatement, as there are few configurations it can't handle. From vertical printing to multicolored and framed text, it will let your creativity run wild.
  • five shortcut keys for quick styling
  • useful preprogrammed templates
  • stores up to 30 designs
Brand Brother
Model PT-D210
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Call Your Dibs In Writing

We’ve all had that person in our lives who has a sixth sense for the things most important to you, who could hone in on the few material or edible goods in your life that matter to you the most, and take them for their own. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people, or that they take your things maliciously; it’s just part of who they are.

Maybe it was something big that they took, like an instrument or amplifier at a concert. Perhaps it was something smaller, but certainly depressing to lose, like a rare, prized DVD or the last of your almond milk. Whatever the infraction, the excuse is almost always the same: they had no idea (or they forgot) that it was yours. That’s where a label maker can swoop in and shine a light of truth.

With a label maker at your disposal, you can make sure that the things you own clearly advertise your ownership. That way, even if someone were to accidentally pick up the wrong item, you can quickly and politely point out your name on the label.

Label makers are indispensable tools in offices and anywhere else there’s a large amount of equipment that could reasonably belong to one or more persons. They can also aid in the organization of such spaces, clearly delineating temporary or permanent storage. If that storage occurs in hard, protective cases, a thorough label on the outside can inform anyone of the case’s contents, making it easier for them to locate an item in a timely manner.

Some of the more advanced label makers on the market offer an additional benefit to businesses and individuals who work with large volumes of mail and packages. They can print shipping labels. As long as you have a decent postage scale, you can use the online interfaces of everything from private shipping companies to the US Postal Service to acquire acceptable shipping labels that these machines can easily print. This can save you tremendous amounts of time on trips to the post office. Even if you only ship large quantities once a year (around the holidays, perhaps), being able to do so from the comfort of your own home is well worth the investment.

Of course, these are only some of the practical benefits of a label maker. It’s hard to put a price on a rather legible and well-printed “kick me” label that you can print and affix to the back of that roommate who drank your almond milk.

How To Choose The Label Maker That’s Right For You

Your choice in a label maker will hinge largely on your primary use for the device. There are models available in a range from exquisitely simple to mind-numbingly complicated, and, depending on what you want to label, one may be more suited to your style.

Simpler label makers tend to be more generous with the size of the labels they can produce. Thermal label paper tends to come in spools, so while you can certainly attain very long labels, they’re often also very thin, limiting the potential for multiple lines of text. If you know you need space on your labels, and that you may even want to include a logo or design, look for a maker that can accommodate larger spools of paper. The biggest downside to these simpler printers is that they need to connect with another piece of hardware to receive a label design. This can be anything from your cell phone to your desktop PC, which is convenient enough, but does detract from the units’ portability.

More advanced label makers, on the other hand, are often designed for portability, with built-in keyboards and other input mechanisms that allow you to design the labels you wish to print from wherever you happen to be. The biggest problem here is that portability usually translates to a reduction in size, and a smaller label maker can only fit paper spools of a certain size.

All this is to say that there’s a perfect combination of printing capability, size, and portability out there for your specific purposes. Spend a few moments considering what it is that you most often need to label, and see if that doesn’t give you a clear answer. If you’re still struggling, it might be a wise move to get a less portable unit for the home or office in addition to a smaller, more mobile device when you’re far afield.

A Brief History Of The Label Maker

The labels that the units on our list produce are pretty similar in their most basic appearance: they place black text on a white field. Given the fact that the US Department of Transportation found white text on a green field to be the easiest combination of text and color to read from a distance at high speeds, it’s unclear why labels continue to use the black and white format, though one might safely assume that green and white thermal labels would be much more expensive to produce.

Interestingly enough, much older label makers were capable of producing white text on a green field long before the modern style of black-and-white printing became ubiquitous. The first of these label makers came along in 1935, when inventor Stanton Avery fashioned a crude device to create self-adhesive labels out of a washing machine motor, a sewing machine, and a saber saw. His invention improved steadily over the years, and the Avery Dennison Corporation enjoyed lucrative relationships with many businesses — including stamp production for the USPS — well beyond Mr. Avery’s death in 1997.

The DYMO Corporation brought the label maker referenced above to market in the 1950s. Its self-adhesive spools were colored (originally blue, but eventually available in many colors). To create a label, users would select a letter and squeeze a handle that would emboss that particular letter into the adhesive strip in a fashion similar to the function of a typewriter. While the labels that these units created were durable and legible, the process was slow and labor-intensive. Eventually, the development of cheaper, more efficient printing technologies, like the thermal printing used in all of the makers on our list, rendered embossed labels obsolete.

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Last updated on September 22, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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