There are a huge amount of thermal label printers on the market and they all look to do exactly the same thing. It’s not easy to see what is and isn’t right for you. At HD Labels we aim to make things a little easier and like to dig a little deeper so you don’t have to. We’ve used all sorts of thermal label printers from Toshiba, Zebra, Brother, GoDEX, Epson, Datamax and the list goes on. One thing we’ve found is that the combination of printers from even one brand goes into the hundreds. So how do you work out where to start?
Here are a few points to think about before you even start to look at printers. Follow this check list and it will help narrow down what you’re looking for or as importantly, what you’re not looking for.
Thermal Printer Check List (with explanations below)
What size are your labels you’re trying to print?
This sounds obvious but why buy an 8″ wide printer when you print a 2″ wide label? Work out the max width of the leading edge on your roll of labels and buy a printer just big enough to cope with that.
What is your label going to applied to?
If it’s a shipping label that just needs to last a short time while a box is travelling then you can get away with a direct thermal printer. If it’s an asset tag or something that needs to last then thermal transfer will have the durability you need. Many printers can be used as either direct thermal or thermal transfer which make things easier. Do ask if you’re unsure.
What volume of labels are you printing per week?
There are various levels of thermal printer so ensure if you’re printing thousands of labels at a time, you look for a more industrial printer. The £200 printer might look to have the spec and speed of some of the larger printers but they are plastic and will cause you problems if you push them beyond what they’re designed to do.
Are you printing fine text or small barcodes?
If so then look at a higher resolution thermal label printer. Printers tend to be 203dpi or 300dpi. You can get higher 600dpi+ for example but really 300dpi should be good enough to print simple but small text and barcodes. We would recommend getting a sample though to ensure any printer meets your standards.
Connectivity & future proofing
This is where thermal label printers can be annoying. Lots of brands have about 30 versions of the same printer because they all have something ever so slightly different with them. This is a nightmare to ensure you buy the printer that covers all you need it to do now and in the future. This is one reason we like the GoDEX range. Their printers come with all of the connections included as standard so the only really differences you get between each model is the resolution. Choosing between 203dpi or 300dpi is all you really need to worry about. If you ever think you’d like to use a GoDEX printer via WIFI or Bluetooth then this is important to at the buying stage (this can’t be upgraded to). But other than that you get USB, Serial, Network connections as standard and USB host ports too.
What label software are you going to use?
This is where things can get expensive. So you’ve bought you’re printer and you’d like a few people in the office to be able to use it. But the software that comes with the printer is licensed per user and ends up costing more than the printer did. Check this before you purchase, even if you only need it on one PC now as it might catch you down the line. Another plus with GoDEX is they include the full version of their software with every printer they sell and it can be used as many times as you like. You can actually download it for free and play with it if you like before you even buy the printer.
We hope this has been helpful and makes choosing your thermal label printer a little less confusing. If you’re still unsure or would like advice, to talk through your needs or samples then please get in touch with our team. Use our experience to help you find the label solution for you.
Call us on 01264 335118 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For help finding the right thermal label printer for you, call 01264 335118 or email@example.com