Finding the right custom label printer for your firm depends on what you want to use it for. Here are some of the factors to consider when buying one.
There are a number of custom label printer manufacturers and choosing the right one for your business can be quite overwhelming. You should start by determining what your printing needs are, how often you will use it, what are your speed and quality requirements, what size will your labels be, and other relevant criteria such as your budget.
Understanding your business’s requirements is critical for properly matching the technology to the project. Underestimating or overestimating your requirements will result in the purchase of a printer that is incapable of meeting your requirements or will deplete your resources.
Label Printing Technology
Before we explore the factors and printer types, it is essential for you to know about the two distinct categories of label printing technology that you can choose from:
- Thermal Printing Technology
This category of printers uses a controlled application of heat to create a permanent image. In the world of label printing, thermal printing is considered traditional technology and also a cost-effective method. There are two main types of thermal printing:
- Direct Thermal Printing: This occurs when a thermal print head applies heat to a chemically treated material, causing it to darken. It does not need ink or ribbon and can only produce faded black and white pictures. That’s why it is often used in barcode printing.
- Thermal Transfer Printing: This is where heat is applied to a resin or wax-based printer ribbon through a thermal print head. This causes the ribbon’s surface to melt and then the resin or wax is applied to the desired label. Thermal transfer printing ensures that your label lasts for a long period of time, even when exposed to extreme weather conditions.
- Inkjet Printing Technology
This also has two main types, but the one which is the most sophisticated, faster, and more accurate is known as a piezoelectric method. This is where the label printer pushes out ink droplets from print head nozzles by a special plate that’s powered up by an electric current.
Fired precisely onto the label’s surface, these droplets of ink produce a photo-quality image at an incredibly fast rate. The fine precision of their ink droplets creates colorful high quality labels. Piezoelectric label printers are fast, efficient, and cheap to operate.
Factors to Consider When Buying
Label Size and Shape
Label size and shape are largely influenced by the shape and size of the product or packaging. Therefore, before you start designing your label, assess the area you have to work with. For larger products, you have more options for label placement and experiment with different shapes and sizes. With smaller products or an oddly designed package, your space may be limited. In these cases, you need to pay particular attention to the label choices you make.
Find out whether speed will become an issue when printing labels. Print speed of the printers ranges from 4 inches to 14 inches per second.
Usually, if you’re printing labels for a high-speed production line, waiting for a label to print is out of the question. The reason being that every second spent waiting for a label to print costs money. This also includes if you’re printing batches of labels and you have people waiting in line for it. For these scenarios, a faster printer is required.
This factor has already been cleared above. If you prefer your labels to last longer, thermal transfer printers are your choice. However, if you prefer shorter label life and have budget limitations, consider using direct thermal label printers.
Quality can be measured by the DPI (Dots Per Inch) which measures the sharpness of the printed image or text. The higher the DPI figure, the sharper the image or text.
If you require labels where presentation and appearance aren’t important, you can use a 200 DPI printer. Where presentation and appearance are essential, such as flyer printing, use a 300 DPI printer. You can use 600 DPI printers for printing very small barcodes – for instance, labels that go on a printed circuit board.
There’s a lot to consider when searching for the right printer for your business. If you’re running a small business, you can also use printing services from agencies that are affordable and provide high-quality prints.
Types Of Printers
There are many different types of printers, each designed to fulfill different sets of tasks. Below are some of the categories of printers mentioned and what they are best suited for.
Handheld or Desktop Label Printers
These compact electronic label printers are speedy and portable, meeting most office and warehouse labeling needs. Don’t let their compact size fool you. They are powerful label printers that can also handle heavy-duty operations.
Handheld or desktop label printer is suitable for printing;
- labels for office environments such as for filing and administration
- security labels and product logging for IT asset management
- durable labels to be used in audio/visual maintenance and cables
- warehouse and logistics labels such as barcodes, shipping labels, postage labels, and so on
- health care labels such as wristbands, medication, work clothing, and many more
- tickets for leisure activities or for wrong parking
Commercial Coloured Label Printers
These printers are intended for use in environments that need more robust printing, like factories and industrial facilities. They provide elevated custom label designs as well as durable printing that enable businesses to fulfill their labeling requirements without sacrificing quality or time.
Commercial colored label printers are specifically designed to meet the high label demands such as:
- Product labeling including food packaging (nutritional information), health information, distribution labels
- Manufacturing labels such as faceplates, logos
- Information labels on medications and chemicals
Industrial Scale Label Printers
These printers are ideal for companies that need a large volume of printing. They are ideal for high-volume label manufacturing when speed and cost-effectiveness are critical.
Industrial label printers may create standard-sized labels or specialize in large-format printing for vehicle wrapping, billboards, and wall posters.
There are a lot of printers, each designed to do different tasks. It can be overwhelming when shopping for one without understanding your business needs. Therefore, print speed, quality, volume, and cost are among the important criteria that need to be addressed before investing in a printer.