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Best Printers

Understanding Label Maker Types, Uses and Best Brands

best label makers

There are so many label makers out there that it can feel overwhelming to know what to buy or even begin researching brands and models. Each type has a different use case so it shouldn’t be too hard to find one that works well for you.

We’ll break down the various label maker types and explain their use cases. Then we’ll highlight one of the best brands and models for this type of label maker. It’s all the information you need to make an informed decision.  

Home Office and Industrial Label Makers

label makers epson

You might have heard these called tape printers. That’s because they include a convenient keyboard that allows you to enter your text and print the label directly from the device on demand whenever and wherever you want. 

This type of label maker generally prints in a single color in 200 or 300 dpi print resolution using thermal transfer print technology. 

Use cases

  • Bar codes
  • QR codes
  • Wire identification
  • Heat shrink tube
  • Magnetic labels
  • Self-laminating wire wrap

Leading tape label maker manufacturers

Generally, these printers print black and white labels up to a maximum of 2 inches wide. If you need color labels, you’ll need to look at an inkjet printer. 

Entry-Level Color Label Printers for Home Office and Small Business

label makers

If you need to print full-color labels, you’ll be looking at an inkjet printer that prints in CMY or CMYK-based inks. These printers allow you to print larger labels than tape printers and can include a label cutter for added convenience.

These printers need to be connected to a computer because they don’t include a built-in keyboard like the tape printers do. But they are powerful desktop label makers that allow you to print labels whenever you need them and from saved files on your computer. 

Labels for these printers can vary from circular high gloss labels that are 1-inch by 1-inch to much larger at 4 inches and with a matte finish. You have many options when using these entry-level color label printers. 

Use cases

  • Full color, high-quality product labels

Leading color label printers for home office and small business

Small Business Color Label Printers 

label maker

When you need more power and speed for a growing small business, look to small business color label printers. These printers provide stunning color labels on-demand.

You’ll get high-resolution print quality with up to 4800 dpi with these printers. They are versatile to allow you to print large runs of hundreds of labels at once or small one-off prints to meet today’s labeling requirements.

These more powerful color label printers can print up to 4.5 inches per second and wider labels to meet the needs of a variety of products.

Use cases

  • Larger labels up to 8 inches wide
  • Bulk labels (print up to 5,000 labels a day)
  • High-resolution labels

Leading small business color label printers

The Epson C6000 and C6500 are the first color label printer that can be used in an industrial environment where they have a label peeler built into the printer. The convenience of this is incredible

Business Full-Color Label Printers 

label makers

When you’re no longer a small business, you need a label printer that meets your company size and large printing needs. Business full-color label printers print on demand at incredible speeds and with high resolution. But you also have options to meet unique requirements and specialized use cases when using these printers.

These printers use two types of ink technology: dye ink and pigment ink. Printers that use dye inks are great for product labels like wine labels, processed food labels where you want vibrant colors. 

Pigment inks are great for producing GHS BS5609-compliant labels, labels that are extremely durable and are water and alcohol resistant. BS5609-compliant labels can be immersed in salt water for up to 12 months. However, these labels are generally in a matte finish only.

Use cases

  • Affordable labels at a low cost
  • High-resolution labels that print fast
  • Wine labels
  • Processed food labels
  • GHS BS5609-compliant labels

Leading business full-color label printers

The Epson printers offer the lowest cost solutions for business and have the lowest operating cost in the industry since their printheads are good for the life of the printer. In contrast, their competitors’ technology requires the purchase and replacement of printheads regularly.

The Afinia Plus inks provide a bit better durability. Also, note that all the Afinia printers can print up to 8” wide whereas the Epson TM-C7500 models only print up to 4” wide labels. 

Mobile Printers

label maker

Mobile printers are direct thermal label printers that print a maximum label width of 2 inches, 3 inches, or 4 inches. They are designed for mobility and most of these models work off a battery.

Use cases

  • Warehouse barcode printer
  • E-commerce shipping businesses
  • In-store pickup label printing

Leading mobile printer options

Black and White Desktop Thermal Printers

These label printers generally print labels up to 4 inches wide and are designed for business printing up to 500 labels per day. Desktop thermal printers are either D\direct thermal printers, requiring no ribbon, or dual desktop barcode printers, which means dual printers can print direct thermal labels without ribbon or thermal transfer labels with ribbon installed. 

Thermal transfer labels with the ribbon produce a more durable label, plus the color of the ribbon can be changed to a different color if required. However, generally, customers print black ribbon to print black and white text on a thermal transfer label with a black barcode for better durability.

label makers

Use cases

  • Durable black and white label printing
  • On-demand label printing of up to 500 labels a day

Leading desktop thermal printers

  • Zebra ZD410, GK420D, ZD421D, ZD620D and ZD621D, GK420T, GK430T, ZD421T, ZD621T
  • SATO WS4 and WS2
  • TSC TDP-225, TDP-324W, DA210, TDP-247, TTP-225, TE200, TE300, TE210, TE310, TTP-244CE, TC210, TC310, TTP-247, TTP-345, TX200, TX300, TX600, 
  • Godex DT2x and DT4x, RT200, RT230i, GE300, GE330, G500, G530, RT700i, RT730i, RT863i, 
  • Printronix T800

Industrial Printers

These are generally thermal printers designed to print a large quantity of up to 5,000 barcode labels per day. Industrial printers are designed to hold larger label rolls, longer ribbons and work at a faster print speed.

Industrial label printers will produce 4-inch, 6-inch, or 8-inch labels depending on the models from different vendors, though the 4-inch models are the most popular.

label maker

Use cases:

  • Barcode printing
  • Large quantity printing
  • Large label roll printer

Leading industrial printers

  • Zebra ZT230, ZT510, ZT610, ZT411, ZT421, ZT620
  • Sato CL4NX Plus, CL4NXPlus RFID, CL6NX Plus, CL6NX Plus RFID, M84Pro, SG112-ex, 
  • Printronix T8000, T6000e, T4000
  • TSC MB240T, MB340T, MH241T, MH341T, MH641T, MH241P, MH341P, MH641P, MH240T, MH240P, MH340T, MH640T, MH340P, MH640P, MX241P, MX341P, MX641P, MX240P, MX340P, MX640P, MH261T, MH361T, TTP-2610MT, TTP-368MT, TTP-384MT, TTP-286MT, ML240P, ML340P
  • Godex ZX420i, ZX430i, EZ2250i, EZ2350i, ZX1200i, ZX1300i, ZX1600i, ZX1200Xi, EZ6250i, EZ6350i, HD830i

Label Printer Selection Assistance

If you’re unsure about which label printer is right for you, contact our team. We’ll work with you to find the best printer to meet your needs while also purchasing any accessories and accompanying warranties to help you succeed. DuraFast Label Company is committed to outstanding customer service and responsiveness to customer needs.

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