Labels have become an indispensable part of company processes. They simplify and speed up internal processes because handwritten marking is no longer necessary. They ensure that important documents can be sorted quickly and easily. But label printers are also becoming increasingly popular in the private sector. They enable users at home to also enjoy the benefits of easy-to-use, high-quality stickers and make the labelling of folders or boxes, for example, child's play.

Many suppliers now offer delivery and shipping of devices that print labels. Well-known suppliers of label printers are Brother, whose P-Touch series is very popular, Dymo and Zebra. Mobile printers are usually available quickly and are already available at a price that is worth it even if only the occasional labeling in the home is desired.

What is a label printer?

A label printer is a device that can print specially designed labels on self-adhesive material or directly onto paper. It thus replaces the tedious and tedious process of writing labels by hand. Good label printers allow the user to design labels according to his wishes and to have them printed within a very short time.

High-quality devices offer the possibility to save labels once created and to print them again if required.
Label printers are available as permanently installed devices and as mobile handheld devices. In order to use the software that is included with most devices, the label printers either have a USB interface or can be accessed via a WLAN network.

For which applications is a label printer particularly suitable?

In the following, we will tell you which applications are particularly suitable for a label printer.

Printing of shipping labels

Especially for companies with online shops, label printers serve as a quick way to get goods ready for shipment and thus remain competitive. With the practical and well adhering stickers the addressee is identified on the parcel and the goods can be shipped.

Printing of labels and information labels

Products that go on sale without further packaging can easily be provided with the necessary information by means of a label printer, thus saving not only material costs but also space in the seller's warehouse. In the food trade, label printers are well known from fresh produce counters and the fruit and vegetable department and are used for the pricing of individual goods.

On cleaning agents or detergents, information labels help to prevent household accidents and enable a quick classification of the danger if an accident does occur. A barcode is classically found on most products, which facilitates the processes at the checkout by allowing the product to be easily scanned at the checkout and by preventing confusion with other products due to the unique composition of the code.

Labelling of folders and documents in the office

At the workplace, a label printer can easily be used to label folders and documents, so that it is clear at a glance where which documents are located or where what material is stored.

Use of the label printer in the private sector

The possibilities of a label printer are almost limitless and with a little imagination, no wishes remain unfulfilled when it comes to application. Whether it's labelling home-made jam, freezing food, labelling children's school books with a name label, finally sorting and stowing tools and various screws properly or finding all the documents for the tax return in one go at the end of the year - a label printer is a true all-rounder for home use.

What should you look for when buying a label printer?

The decision for a label printer is not always easy. Therefore we have dedicated the following to the most important purchase criteria.

The print volume

The print volume is closely related to the print speed and indicates how many labels the printer can produce per day. The range here goes from around 500 labels to runs of several thousand labels per day, so that the right device can be found for every need.

The print speed

The importance of print speed when purchasing your label printer depends heavily on the intended usage intensity. The more labels you want to print, the more important the time the printer can do this work. Although the ppm (pages per minute) value can only give a limited insight, because label printers do not print whole pages, but only smaller areas, it can at least be used to compare the speed of models that come into question.

The print resolution

The dpi value indicates the dot or print density of the print. The abbreviation stands for dots per inch. The requirements for the print resolution increase with the demands on the device. If only shipping labels are to be printed or if no great demands are made on the quality of the print image, a label printer with a low dpi value is sufficient. When printing high quality labels or if not only black and white but also colour printing is required, the label printer should have at least 300 dpi.

The service life

The service life of a label printer is of course always related to the intended intensity of use. Not all of the items on offer are of high quality workmanship and designed for long-term use, but they are fully adequate for occasional printing jobs and a higher quality device would not be profitable in this case. Therefore, the period of use should be kept in mind when buying, but should also be adapted to your personal ideas.

The price

The price of label printers has a very wide range. For domestic use, devices are available for just a few euros, but the range of functions is usually very limited. If the printer is to perform well in the long term, a larger investment is worthwhile.

What is the difference between thermal transfer and direct thermal printers?

Direct thermal printers apply the print to the label using great heat. It is therefore important to buy label material where the top layer is very resistant to heat. This is also the layer that contains the ink particles that are released when the hot print head passes over it and produces the printed image. If labels without a protective layer are used, they may burn due to the high heat and damage the entire label printer.

Thermal transfer printers also work with heat and a special thermal transfer foil. The direct thermal and thermal transfer printer processes are similar, but differ greatly in the durability of the print. Direct thermal printing is mainly used for shipping labels, because the legibility of the label decreases considerably over time. With thermal transfer printers, however, the labels reliably withstand external influences such as UV light or moisture.

How high are the maintenance and printing costs?

The printing costs are made up of the costs for labels and ribbon. Label printers do not use toner or ink, but run a ribbon through the device from which the ink is transferred to the label. These ribbons are available in different colors and lengths depending on the manufacturer and your needs. So the cost of printing will vary depending on the quality required and how much is printed.

High quality equipment should be serviced and maintained once a year. This increases the life expectancy of the device, prevents inappropriate failures and ensures that the printed image remains consistent and meets the user's requirements. With inexpensive equipment, if the equipment loses reliability, a new purchase is probably more lucrative than regular maintenance by an experienced technician.