Label printers for business range from simple handhelds for your file-folder labels to industrial-grade models designed for tagging cables in high-tech installations. Here's everything you'll need to know to find the right one for your personal business or side hustle, along with our top pick for every use case.
What is a thermal printer?
A thermal 4x6 label printer is a computer peripheral device. It's used to print images and text on special thermal paper. The most common use of thermal printing is in printing shipping labels, but they're also used in some receipt printers. Thermal printers are especially useful for smaller businesses that don't have the means or time to use a traditional impact dot matrix or inkjet printer.
Do you need to buy ink for my thermal label printer?
The short answer is no. True, there are many types of thermal 4x6 printers that require thermal label printer ink, but plenty of others will work with plain old paper.
So what is the difference between a thermal printer and a regular printer?
The main difference between thermal printers and regular printers is that thermal printers use wax rather than toner to create images on labels. This means that you must have a special thermal printer ribbon for your printer to work properly.
What are the benefits of a thermal printer?
One of the best features of a thermal label printer is that it does not require ink cartridges. Instead, it uses heat-sensitive labels and your standard paper. So, you will save some money on replacement ink cartridges as well as paper by using this type of printer.
Can you make business cards with a thermal label printer?
Yes, you can do so by printing them on card stock paper. You must ensure that the paper is thick enough and choose the right settings on your machine to print on such stock paper.
Are there any disadvantages of using a thermal printer?
The disadvantage with this type of label maker is that it cannot print images, which may be vital for some applications. This also means you will not print professional-quality photos using this kind of machine.
Yes, you can use thermal labels in a printer. However, the printer should be used for normal paper printing first to avoid damage to the printer.
Do I need monochrome labels or colour labels?
When it comes to getting labels printed, there are two basic types: monochrome and colour. It's a simple question, but it gets a little complicated to answer. This is because many variables go into determining the best label for your product.
Monochrome labels are printed on paper sheets. The sheets are then cut into individual labels by a scissors-like machine called a sheet cutter. This is why monochrome labels are sometimes called sheeted labels.
Colour labels are printed directly onto sheets of vinyl or cloth in one operation. They're often also laminated (varnished), so they can be written on with pen or marker. Because these labels are printed in one continuous run, they're sometimes called flow-wrapped labels.
How will you connect to, and print from, your label maker?
If you're like me, you want to buy a label maker and start printing labels immediately, but you don't know anything thing about how to connect the device to your laptop or desktop computer.
All of the info that you need is on the label maker itself! In essence, a thermal label printer is a mini-computer. You have to hook up the printer to an existing computer for it to work. If you've never hooked up a printer before, you may be intimidated.
I was intimidated, too — until I figured out how easy it was! Here's what to do:
1. Determine if your computer has a
USB or parallel port.
USB port: _____________
Parallel port: ___________
2. Open your computer and look for an empty slot that matches either of these ports (not all computers have both). If you don't find one, skip ahead to Step 3. 3. Plugin your new thermal label printer and turn it on. When it's done warming up (this takes only a few minutes), it should print out some test labels; this is something that every thermal printer did not automatically when first turned on (and something that most people forget).
How should you gauge the cost of ownership?
Cost of ownership is a consideration to keep in mind when deciding which thermal label printer to purchase. Some printers have higher upfront costs, but lower running costs — some have low initial costs but high running costs. And some have both high initial and running costs.
The cost of ownership makes a big difference over time. It is the total cost of your purchase and uses divided by the total number of hours that you use the printer. In other words, if you make $100 an hour and you spend $1,000 on a thermal label printer, and it lasts for 1,000 hours before it needs major repairs or replacement, then your cost of ownership is $1 per hour.
However, not all printers are created equal when it comes to the cost of ownership. Here are some things to consider when looking at the cost of ownership:
1. Cost of ownership
2. Features and functionality
Cost of ownership (CO): In the long run, there's no point in investing in a thermal label printer that will cost you more money than you're saving in the long run. There are basically two ways to determine CO: 1) over its expected lifespan; 2) based on how frequently you print. The ROI is driven from the first calculation, and frequency drives up the second. If you use the printer once or twice a month, your yearly CO will be below, but if you use it every week, your CO will be high.
Cost per roll: It's also important to look at how much each roll costs. This is usually cost per print or per foot (CPP). The difference is negligible between these two measurements; however, some labels can cost more per foot than others because they have higher margins or more adhesive. As an example, if one label costs $0.50 CPP and another label costs $0.40 CPP, but both are 50' long, then you'll spend more on ink with the first label even though it's cheaper.
Do you run your own business or side hustle that requires product labelling? Our BYOB thermal label printer is great for cost-effective ($179.99 CAD) printing of name tags, price labels, and other printed materials. It's ideal for small businesses and even individuals involved in the arts, crafts, or other aspects of everyday life that require marketing materials.