The 10 Best Label Printers
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Remember those old label machines that printed out plastic strips that you had to punch by hand? Yeah, we thought they were cool at the time, too. What a difference a couple of decades makes. Today's label printers offer computer and smartphone connectivity, ink-free convenience, and lightning-fast printing speeds for shipping, barcodes and postage. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best label printer on Amazon.
How To Choose The Best Label Printer For Your Needs
Label printers can seem like such basic, utilitarian items so you might think it's best to just buy the cheapest model.
This is especially true if you have to walk down aisles, printing labels on the move rather than sitting at a table.
Label printers can seem like such basic, utilitarian items so you might think it's best to just buy the cheapest model. But if you purchase one without doing a little research, you may end up with a printer that makes your job very difficult, and makes every task take twice as long. There are actually a lot of questions you should ask yourself before picking a label printer.
If you do work that requires you to move around a lot, a smaller label printer can make your work considerably easier. This is especially true if you have to walk down aisles, printing labels on the move rather than sitting at a table. When portability is a factor, then another feature to consider is that the printer is battery-operated. Label printers that have to plug into a power source are best for stationary work and not as versatile.
Another question to ask yourself is are these labels for public consumption? In other words, will customers and clients read these, or will only staff see them? If you need to type important information like nutrition on food labels, large font size is important. If these are just for employee purposes, then you can write labels in shorthand that industry personnel will understand.
But if the public will read these, then you need your printer to allow a lot of characters, since you’ll need to spell things out. You may also want a printer that gives you the option to change font type and color so you can make the words poppy and intriguing.
If you need to add things like images and logos, you need a model that connects to your computer. The built-in characters won’t allow you to create butterflies or coffee cups, so you need the ability to grab those images from your computer.
Hilarious But Real Labels
You might be buying your printer for something reasonable, like Tupperware or files with important documents, but there are some pretty absurd labels out there. Some prescription medications dawn a label that reads, “If you cannot read warnings do not take this medication.” Not to diminish the importance of prescription warning labels, but one has to wonder how many lawsuits that manufacturer has faced.
Hopefully, a real-life incident didn’t inspire that warning.
There are some places where labels just don’t belong — especially bar codes. According to some reports, gravestones sometimes make it to their plot with the bar code left on. Gravestones are a product-for-purchase, but the loved ones of the deceased probably don’t want to be reminded of that.
A number of surprising warning labels have been printed on many common devices and it's scary that they even need to exist, like the one that instructs people not to put a person inside of washing machines. Hopefully, a real-life incident didn’t inspire that warning.
Allegedly some iPod shuffles have a label that tells users not to eat the device. Let’s hope nobody old enough to read that label would ever consider ingesting an electronic. Because some lottery tickets are created on thermal printers, many of them have labels that tell you not to iron them. Maybe somewhere, somebody tried to iron their lucky lottery ticket onto a jean jacket as memorabilia.
A Brief History Of Labeling
All label printers have three main parts, those being the printer, the applicator and the part that houses and distributes labels and ribbons. Farmers were the first group of people to use labels and had been using them on their fruit and crates since long before the first label printer came out. It wasn't until the first part of the 20th century when the first printer capable of producing self-adhesive labels was created.
Eventually, the screw mechanism turned into a lever system that pushed the design or words onto the paper much easier.
In the 1800s, labels were printed on handmade paper, using images or letters cut onto wood or metal, that was then pressure applied through a screw mechanism. Eventually, the screw mechanism turned into a lever system that pushed the design or words onto the paper much easier. At this point in history, no matter the type of printer used, people needed to apply their labels to their products with gum or another primitive adhesive.
The 20th century saw the invention of narrow web presses with self-adhesive tape. A man named Stan Avery created a system by which self-adhesive materials had a backing carrier and could be cut to the perfect shape right on the press. Not long after, other inventors began utilizing a die-cutter that would produce sticky labels on a roll. By the 1970s self-adhesive labels made up seven percent of the label market in Europe, and today they make up around 40 percent of it.
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