In this guide, we go on the hunt for the best shipping label printer for business use.
A thermal label printer is an essential piece of equipment in every office. Label printers are distinct from typical printers. And this is widely due to the mechanism used in the process. For example, there are some printers that feature a built-in automatic cutter, aiming at simplifying your job even further.
It goes without saying that such a feature comes in handy, especially for businesses that print in bulk.
Essentially, there are two primary types of printers. Firstly, there are the ones equipped with both a display and an efficient keyboard system, designated for typing in the tags. These are created for standalone use, being referred to as label makers, as well.
Secondly, there are printers that must be connected to a computer, in order to adjust the settings. For the most part, the most common types of connectivity include USB, RS-232, Ethernet, as well as distinct wireless connections.
Buyer’s Guide: Best Shipping Label Printer
Generally speaking, label makers are meant to meet a wide range of uses – at home, in an office, or for industry use. At home, you may use a label maker for filing folder markers and bottle markers, as well as printing shelf markers.
Concurrently, you can use one for printing postal addresses and stamps. Many state-of-the-art printers come with an integrated memory, whose purpose is to monitor contact information.
When it comes to more advanced models, you can also categorize the contacts, in order to simplify the labeling process. As for commercial utilization, label printers are designated for printing retail marketing prices, bar codes, shipping tags, packaging labels, warehouse labels, bulk management labels, or for classifying blood and laboratory specimens.
Important Considerations: Things to Keep in Mind
Since the market features a lot of products that seem to provide the same benefits, you should know how to narrow down your choices. This is the only way in which you can ensure that you’re making a sensible purchase.
That being said, here are the main aspects you should consider as you shop for the best shipping label printer.
Your Printing Needs
You already know that your needs should dictate your purchase. Moreover, if you want to purchase a label printer for business use, you must take into consideration your clients’ specifications.
If chosen wisely, label printers can be successfully used for tracking items, patients, products, and the list may go on. What we’re trying to say is that it is essential for you to establish how you plan on using the labels. Only this way will you select the printer that will address your individual specifications.
Moving on, the printing workload is just as important. Depending on this aspect, you should choose from printers that come in distinct sizes, equipped with different features and capabilities. For example, how often will you use the label printer? Daily? Weekly?
If your printing needs add up to to a considerable volume once a year, then you should invest in a printer that can handle approximately 100 duplicates per day.
Concurrently, if you work in a small business, you might need a printer that would produce roughly 500 labels per day. You get the picture – taking the time to assess your needs is the key to making the right investment.
The print resolution is worth considering, as well. If you want to obtain a high-quality scanner tag, it is implied that you should get a high-resolution printer. To be more precise, a printer that doesn’t make more than 203 dots per inch will provide outstanding results.
On the other side, if you require a printer with high density, the situation differs. This one makes more dots per inch and the outcome will be better.
It’s just as critical to try to comprehend the performance of the machine you want to purchase. And this refers to most of its characteristics and technical specifications.
For example, you should determine its compatibility specifications, to determine if it works with your devices and applications. This is the key to getting a printer that will maximize your productivity, as opposed to jeopardizing it.
Product Warranty and Customer Support
It also makes sense to have peace of mind when you invest in a label printer. That is to say, you should know that you can depend on the product’s warranty, in the case in which you get a defective item, or you encounter any difficulties. A printer is an investment, and problems might occur, whether we want that or not. So, you should assess the customer support’s responsiveness and the product’s warranty.
You can easily access this information by looking at various customer reviews.
Top 5: Best Thermal Label Printers
1. Rollo High-Speed Shipping Label Printer
There are many reasons why the Rollo High-Speed Printer is worth the investment. First and foremost, that is due to its convenience.
Since it is equipped with innovative technology, you don’t need to purchase ink or toner. This saves you from the hassle of refilling the ink on a regular basis. Businesses that print massive amounts of labels will find this especially advantageous.
Moving on, the label printer is portable. You know what this means: you can move it around depending on your needs. And the best part about it is that this doesn’t impair its performance or capabilities in any way.
That is to say, its performance is excellent, especially if we were to consider its affordable price point. To be more precise, you can print no less than 238 labels a minute, per four-row labels.
Concurrently, since its construction is durable, this means that it can take a punch. We all know that accidents always happen around the office. So, the sturdy design is a guarantee of the printer’s durability.
Evidently, the automatic identification feature is a major plus. In other words, the printer is engineered so that it identifies the weight and the category of the package. It goes without saying that this element boosts the convenience of the printer.
- Easy and time-efficient installation process
- User-friendly operation
- Responsive customer support
- Quick speed printing of 150mm/sec
- The Rollo monitors the number of printed labels
- If you normally use label rolls, you should invest in a separate label holder, as the machine doesn’t have one.
- It isn’t compatible with stamps.com. This could be an inconvenience for some users.
In our opinion, the ROLLO is the best shipping label printer for small businesses – it’s affordable, feature-packed and easy to use.
Our rating: 4.9/5
2. Zebra ZP 450 Direct Thermal Shipping Label Printer
The second item on our list of recommendations is this thermal shipping label printer. This means it doesn’t use toner or laser, but heat. This makes it a cost-efficient investment, especially in the long run.
While you may believe that it is rather complicated to use, since it is a thermal printer, this is far from the truth. Its operation process is quite similar to that of a typical laser or toner printer.
Furthermore, it operates at a speedy pace. According to the manufacturer, it prints 5’’ per second, which is genuinely fast. It is implied that this will help you save time (and effort).
As for the setup process, it isn’t overly complicated either. Of course, this is an unmatched advantage. That is to say, if you’re at least familiar with USB thermal printers, you’ll manage to complete the installation process in a matter of minutes, tops.
You may also find the drivers online, which is equally convenient and cost-efficient. In the case of some printers, it is quite difficult to find anything online. But, this isn’t the case with this printer.
Plus, in comparison with older printers, this one doesn’t jam as frequently. This means you can get things done at a fast pace, without unnecessary inconveniences.
- Speedy operation
- Cost-efficient investment
- You don’t have to purchase toner or ink
- High-quality construction
- Practical design
- The printer is created specifically to be used with UPS’ WorldShip labels. Could be an issue for people that use other software.
- When looking for the drivers online, some users encountered difficulties, which is another inconvenience.
The ZP-450 is quite possibly the best shipping label printer for slightly bigger businesses. It does cost a little more, though.
Our rating: 4.8/5
3. DYMO LabelWriter 4XL Thermal Shipping Label Printer
This is another high-quality thermal shipping label printer, which is equally convenient and versatile. You can use it to print labels directly from platforms such as Card Scan, MS Word, Excel, and Outlook.
Secondly, you may use it for printing labels or creating folders, markers, badges, as well as printing down addresses. An alternative would be printing additional labels with the printer.
Another thing worth mentioning is that you can use the device for printing labels of 300 dpi. The resolution you obtain is crystal clear. On a different note, whether you want to print graphics, texts or barcodes, this machine will address your needs. And if you need them in high quality, it means that the printer is calling your name.
Being so compact, you’ll find it easy to place it even in the narrowest office spaces. However, its compactness doesn’t affect the capability of the printer. So, you should know that it prints a wide range of labels, up to 4.16 inches wide.
Additionally, the print speed is quite impressive as well.
- The instruction manual is really useful
- Decent product warranty
- You can customize the options depending on your needs
- Quick print speed
- It might reject new rolls, every now and then
- The customer support isn’t as supportive as it should be
- If the machine stops working, you have to restart it
This contender falls in just behind the ROLLO, being a very affordable thermal label printer with few limitations. It’s a close run.
Our rating: 4.7
4. Brother QL-820NWB Thermal Shipping Label Printer
This label printer is compact and small. This could only mean one thing: you won’t have trouble with finding a place for it on the desk. You’ll find that setting up the printer is fairly easy, as well.
Since the design of the machine is user-friendly, picking the settings that work best for you is effortless. Changing template settings, adjusting the size, and introducing information about the date and time is easy.
What about the print quality? It is quite high, as the print is clear-cut and bold.
The fact that the unit is equipped with dual-color label printing is a great advantage. That is to say, if you want to differentiate between distinct labels, you can use the red color.
Since the device has both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, you can use this feature whenever the situation asks for it.
- Notable efficiency: the machine prints 100 labels per minute
- Easy to use and install
- Built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Connectivity
- LCD display for ultimate convenience
- You may use a Li-ion battery for portability reasons
- Some users encountered difficulties when using the machine, indicating that it isn’t necessarily user-friendly
- When paired with a Windows device, inconveniences might occur, as noted by previous users
Our rating: 4.4
5. Brother QL-810W Ultra-Fast Thermal Shipping Label Printer
If you’re on the lookout for a small, compact printer, the Brother QL-810W might be a decent candidate. Weighing roughly 2.4 lbs., you can take it with you wherever you need it.
Similar to the Brother label printer reviewed beforehand, this comes equipped with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, as well. That means you can print labels from your smartphone or tablet, whenever you’re on the go.
The speedy operation is another benefit, as it prints 110 labels per minute. The print resolution is 300 x 600. This means that the prints will be clear.
You also have the alternative of integrating the printer into a network, by using the manufacturer’s network management tools and software development tools.
On a final note, you can enjoy full portability with this printer by including an additional Li-ion battery. Nonetheless, you have to buy it separately.
- 2-year limited warranty
- Fast-speed printing
- Convenient wireless and Bluetooth connectivity
- Portability and compactness
- High-quality resolution
- The set-up instructions for the device aren’t comprehensive and complete
- Using the wireless connectivity can be problematic
Our rating: 4.3
Verdict: Best Shipping Label Printer
As you can see, there are plenty of products to choose from, when you’re on the market for the best label printer. The products we included in this guide are the most reliable models for the time being. As you can see, each item we listed comes accompanied by a mixture of pros and cons, since there’s no such thing as the perfect item.
Nonetheless, if we were to pick the most reliable item out of the five, we’d have to choose the Rollo High-Speed Shipping Label Printer. It is surprisingly affordable considering the nice features it has. This is our pick as the best shipping label printer due to its ease of use, price and efficiency. Perfect for small businesses.
It is easy to install, it operates at high speed, and the design is compact, yet sturdy. Plus, the printer keeps track of the number of printed labels.
However, if you want to invest a little more in a dependable thermal label printer, the Zebra ZP 450 Direct Thermal Shipping Label Printer won’t disappoint you. It is unbelievably fast, it doesn’t jam, and it doesn’t run on ink or laser, which is an unmatched perk. If you’re looking for a quick operation, this device is worth considering. The ZP 450 is probably the best shipping label printer for slightly heavier demand.
Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that the other three label printers don’t deserve a look. Ultimately, the buying process comes down to assessing your specifications and budget, and you’ll be on the right path.
We hope that our article has guided you in this direction of the best thermal label printer for your needs. On a final note, reading customer reviews can’t hurt – on the opposite, it could help you make the right investment.