Best Desktop Label Printers in 2023
One way to fulfill orders effortlessly is to invest in a dedicated printer for shipping labels, such as a desktop thermal label printer. Desktop thermal printers are small, convenient and are ideal for environments such as retail, office or small scale operations that have limited space, but require high quality, fast and reliable label printing. Although these printers are small in size, they produce high quality printing and have a good print speed. If you are printing less than 500 labels per day, desktop label printers would be ideal for you. If you require larger scale printing have a look at our range of Industrial printers.
What is a Thermal Label Printer?
Thermal printers use heat to create text or barcodes onto labels. These printers don’t utilize ink or toner like other printers. Instead, they use special thermal label paper for creating the text and images. Because of this they are incredibly cheap and efficient to run, with labels being the only real consumables you will need to buy.
Best Desktop Label Printers in 2022
1. DYMO LABELWRITER 5XL
The 5XL is the only Dymo LabelWriter that can print on standard size 4×6-inch shipping labels, which seems to make it a great fit for a small company that needs to ship products it sells. It is very sleek looking, and its small footprint means it takes up minimal desk space. However, the DYMO labels are very expensive, at $62.95 per roll of 220 labels (Officeworks). That’s almost 30c per label! The ongoing cost of consumables will very quickly outweigh the initial cost of the printer.
2. Brother QL-1100 Label Printer
The Brother QL-1100 label printer churns out labels in several sizes, up to 4 inches wide. It as a built-in cutter which means it can print both die-cut and continuous-length labels—snappily and in good quality. It also comes in a network-connectable version with otherwise identical specs, the QL-1110NWB. It’s a fine value for small-office and home-office shipping, barcoding, and other types of wide-format labelling, but again watch out for the high price of Brother labels. One roll is priced at approx. $60.00 and comes with 180 labels (33c per label)
If you don’t use an existing labelling application (something designed in-house, or sourced from a major shipping or postage site, such as AusPost or Transdirect), Brother has you covered with their P-touch Editor software.
3. Zebra ZD-Series Direct Thermal Printers
Zebra is a trusted name in commercial label printing, and the ZD series is a great entry into high-capacity label printing. The Zebra ZD220D is the base version and offers a USB connection with 4 inches per second print speed. The ZD420D is a step up from this with 6 inches per second print speed at 203dpi.
The ZD-series printers are a bit bigger and pricier than the DYMO and Brother label printers, but they can be fine-tuned to print exactly to your preferences. They are also more powerful, and initiate print jobs more quickly. If you are looking for something that can handle the pressure of printing thermal labels for many hours per day, the Zebra ZD420 may be the best thermal label printer for you. The ZD420 comes in models that support USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity.
The higher initial price is offset by the price of consumables going forward. Zebra does not lock you in to their own brand of consumables, meaning you can purchase a roll of 430 labels for around $16.00 per roll (4c per label)!
4. TSC DA220 Label Printer
The DA220 is TSC’s version of the ZD series. Cheaper, smaller and quieter, this would be the ideal printer for many applications. It is a similar price point to the Dymo and Brother printers above, but it can fit larger rolls meaning changing them less frequently. The labels are the same type as the Zebra ZD-Series above, starting at 4c per label for standard 4 x 6-inch size. It prints at an impressive 6 inches per second. It comes with a standard USB connection, with options to add Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Unlike the Dymo 5XL, the TSC DA220 thermal printer has very minimal moving parts so you will never have to worry about paper jams. Just plug it in, drop the roll into the holder and you are ready to print.
Some freight companies will generate a label design for you so there is no need for label creation software. Many point-to-point couriers don’t do this however, so you may have to design your own labels and import customer data from a database. The best software for this is BarTender. BarTender provides you with intelligent templates, automated forms and data select, and integrates with many existing business systems. It also comes in different levels, meaning you can buy a basic version and upgrade as your business grows.
PrintDATA is a leading supplier of label printers, labels and label creation software in Western Australia. Contact us for a custom solution that will be perfect for your immediate and future requirements.