How to choose a good thermal label printer

Are you planning to purchase a thermal label printer? The market is flooded with all manner of thermal label printers, and it can be challenging to choose a printer that is ideal for your organization.

Before you embark on your quest, you need to know the ideal label printer features. Here is everything you need to know.

Print Method

The print method affects the quality of your print. A thermal label printer can use three printing methods, namely, inkjet printing, thermal transfer printing, and direct thermal printing. Thermal transfer printing involves the transfer of heat to a thermal transfer ribbon made of resin and wax. It is this heat that transfers an image onto the canvas. On the other hand, direct thermal printing transfers heat directly to a label. The ink on the label is activated, and an image is produced. This is a more cost-effective method.

The other printing method is inkjet printing. This method uses dots of ink in the image creation process. Unfortunately, these dots can bleed on the image. Therefore, a thermal label printer that uses the inkjet print method is not ideal.

Future-Proofing and Connectivity

A slow printer is irritating and wastes time. It’s possible to find a brand with more than 30 versions of the same label printer. Therefore, you should select a printer that meets your short-term and long-term connectivity needs. For the best connectivity, choose a printer that is in the 203dpi-300dpi range. Also, check if the printer uses WIFI and Bluetooth. A printer with USB ports and Serial connections is also ideal. Finally, check if the printer is 5G enabled.

The Label Software

The software of a thermal label printer is as important as the hardware. You can buy a cheap printer and then realize the software costs more than the printer itself. Therefore, you should examine the software costing plan. Avoid printer software that is licensed per user because it can end up being too expensive. This is because you will need to buy a new software package for each printer. Instead, select a printer that comes with a full version of its software. Full version software is ideal because you can use it to run many printers, provided they all have the same hardware.

Print Resolution

The structure of the barcode includes a system of bars with varying width. For these bars to be legible, you need to print a clear barcode. Consequently, the resolution of a thermal label printer becomes an important factor. Resolution is measured in the number of dots per inch. Generally, the higher the resolution of a label printer, the better the quality of the barcode it prints. Ideally, you need a thermal label printer with at least 300 dots per inch.

Compatibility

Choose a thermal label printer that can handle your organization’s label printing tasks. To accomplish this, audit all the software that is running on your devices. Is the software compatible with the thermal label printer you are about to buy? Also, check the network connectivity, drivers, and device inter-connectivity.

Use of the Label

The purpose of your label also determines the type of printer that you should buy. If you are printing labels that won’t have to last long, then you should purchase a direct thermal printer. However, a direct thermal printer is not ideal for printing labels that need to last long.

Print Volume

You should also consider the number of labels you are planning to print. While most thermal printers can handle a fairly large number of labels, there are printers that can handle a massive volume.

Additionally, some printers are designed to handle minimal output. If you plan to use the label printer for occasional runs, then any printer will do. However, you may need a special printer if your label demand is high.

Label Size

Labels come in different sizes and shapes. Similarly, each printer version can only print specific label sizes. Small printers are ideal for labels whose width is less than four inches. If you need labels wider than four inches, buy a thermal printer with a larger unit. Also, remember that you will need larger sheets.

Font

The font also plays a significant role in choosing the type of printer that you need. Smaller fonts require printers with a higher resolution, while printers with a lower resolution can print larger fonts. Although high resolution starts at 600dpi, it is possible to get a high resolution with 300dpi printers. Remember to ask for a sample before purchasing a printer.

Ultimately, your budget, needs, and preferences will determine the type of thermal label printer you will buy. It is also a good idea to do additional research and consult experts before making the final decision. We hope these tips can help you make the right choice.


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IMAGE: By Robert Martin from Pixabay

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