Best Label Maker Reviews 2018

Label makers have advanced over time, which is a big win to the users. Today, manufacturers aren’t just focusing on production of labels, but more importantly, giving the users the freedom and ability of making customized labels, for use almost anywhere. This is definitely a big win to those of us who love graphics and want to keep their homes, offices and business spaces organized, and looking good. We’ve taken at look at five respected brands in the industry and whittled it down to five label makers with a range of features and price ranges.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Printer Type
Compatibility
Connectivity
Speed
Best For
Our Top Choice
Star Micronics Portable Bluetooth Printer
For over half a century Star Micronics has been striving to find new and innovative technologies so they can continuously improve their small printers, audio components and other products.
Compact, portable size. Lightweight. Convenient tear strip. Prints at 80mm/sec. Connect with Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR or USB 2.0. Works with iOS, Android and Windows.
Some issues with the manual not being clear or not receiving one.
Portable receipt printer
iOS, Android, Windows
Bluetooth 2.1, USB 2.0
80mm per second
Receipts
Best Value
Dymo LabelWriter 450 Turbo
Dymo is now a global leader in producing innovative office products for use in a home office, work setting or on the go.
Connectable to Mac and PC. Thermal printing technology. Fast print speed 71 labels per minute. No need for ink. Prints USPS approved labels.
Some complaints it’s difficult to load the labels into the machine.
Thermal label printer
iOS 10.9+, Windows 7+
USB 2.0
71 labels per minute
Postage, shipping labels
Zebra Technologies Desktop Thermal Label Printer
Zebra Technologies provides tracking technology and solutions to businesses. They also manufacture functional, quality mobile computers, interactive kiosks and label printers.
Prints labels up to 4.09-inches. 203dpi resolution. 32-bit processor. Ethernet connectivity. Direct thermal technology. Versatile uses. Prints labels up to 39” long.
Not compatible with Framework LTC.
Direct thermal
Windows
Ethernet, USB
6” (152mm) per second
Medical, retail, manufacturing
Brady Portable Handheld Label Printer
Brady is both a reputable and a popular company that specialize in products such as signs, safety devices and high quality label printers.
Reputable brand. Ideal for tough label printing tasks. Latest technology. Recommended print maximum of 100 labels per day.
May not be the best when printing long labels.
Thermal transfer
Standalone label maker
No connectivity
Not specified
Industrial labels, wires, cables etc.
Brother PT-D600 Label Printer
Brother is an international corporation and a premier producer of office, home and business products, including the PT-D600, a high quality label printer.
Popular brand. PC-Connectible. Full-color display. Super-fast speed.
The keyboard keys are a bit stiff. Some reports of cutter problems.
Thermal transfer
Standalone or PC and Mac
USB
Super fast print speeds
Graphic, barcode, logo

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How Do I Choose the Best Label Maker?

When most people think of label makers, they think of them as something that only a business needs, or someone who is OBSESSIVE about staying organized, but you would be surprised at how useful a label making device can be. Yes offices use them to mark folders, and files, but they are great for home use too. When items are labeled, it becomes easy to access or locate them. For example, files in an office. That’s not all, your space will look neat, and above all, you will appreciate and learn to be organized. They are also nice for when you are mailing letters or shipping packages. Some are specifically designed for this, like the Seiko Instruments Smart Label Printer 620 which has the ideal dimensions and settings for printing shipping labels.

One thing that stands out in the label makers market is that there is a wide variety of both brands and models. The fact is that today, manufacturers aren’t focusing on just making labels, but labels that stand out! Some label makers offer a variety of fonts and sizes, so you can really personalize to what you want. The Casio KL-120 Portable Thermal Label Maker is a great example of this, by a well-trusted brand too. This label maker is super easy to use with a QWERTY keypad and has multiple sized fonts. Similarly, the Epson LabelWorks LW-300 Label Maker features 14 fonts, 10 styles and over 300 symbols to ensure your label is perfect for your home or business.

To help you make the best choice, we have done independent research to identify the best label makers on the market. During our research, we found that the variety is impressive, with both higher priced label makers as well as inexpensive ones. Secondly, there are some reasonably priced label printers that can match the performance of higher priced brands.

Currently, there are 4 common types of label makers on the market. While all of them serve the same function, they are distinctly set apart by their features, use and price.
  • Personal Label Makers: This class of label maker is either desktop or handheld type and are usually inexpensive. They are appropriate for use at home or in a small business setting. You can use them to print on thermal and embossing tapes. They are usually packaged as a printer and a keyboard, meaning you won't need to connect them to a laptop or PC.
  • Desktop Label Printers: Desktop label printers are also small in size and inexpensive. Their compact footprint makes them ideal for use in small businesses and at homes.
  • Industrial Printers: As the name suggests, this range of label printers are made for use in busy businesses and in industries where labeling needs are higher. Some industrial printers are portable while others aren’t. The non-portable ones are appropriate in industries, mailing and distribution centers. On the other hand, portable ones are ideal for places like construction areas, where mobility isn’t a big deal.
  • RFID Label Makers:Also referred as Radio Frequency Identification Devices, they are used in printing and encoding RFID tags.
Once you decide upon a label maker, be sure to take a look at the wide variety of label making tapes and label refills available. You can get all kinds of colors, sizes and shapes – as long as you make sure they are compatible with your chosen label maker. There are even some label makers that can handle adding “label” right on to specially designed bags.

Now it’s time to look in more detail at the things you need to watch for when choosing the best label making device for your needs.
Price
When you are shopping for a new product, there is a rule of the thumb that you should consider - never have price as your only determining factor. And this is no exception when shopping for a label printer.

By the way, did you know that price is the last thing that a manufacturer deals with before releasing a product on the market? So when buying a label maker, or any product for that matter, use the reverse. Yes, check the price first but also assess why you’re paying a higher or lower price AND what you are getting for your money. As we like to say, “never smile immediately, after seeing a low priced item.” Instead, identify the compromise, and if there is none and you are getting exactly what you need, smile.

When it comes to the price range of label makers, rest assured you will get cheap label makers, as wells as high-end label makers. But whatever your budget, rest assured you can own a label printer today. The high-end label makers cost as much as $900, while inexpensive models can cost as low as $15. On the other hand, the mid-range models can cost you around $30.

There are several factors that impact the price of a label maker one of which is the type of printing, for example, thermal transfer printing vs. direct thermal printing. Usually, thermal transfer printing, which can print, raised panel labels, self-laminating labels, and heat shrink labels will cost you higher.

Other factors include the ability to customize the writing, use of various graphics and fonts, and size of the labels. Thanks to technological advancements, there are some label maker models that can print shipping tracking, barcodes, while others allow batch printing. Research shows that the units that can be used independently and connected to a computer via a USB cable cost higher. If you’re buying one for use in your business, consider the speed as well as the potential of your business expanding.
Features
As mentioned earlier, the major difference among all the available brands and models lies squarely on the features. That’s why almost 80 percent of the unit’s features determine the price. The remaining percentage is sometimes determined by the brand. That’s why a unit from a popular and reputable manufacturer even with same features with another brand will cost higher.

When shopping for a label maker, below are the features you should consider and compare, such as:
  • The type of display and keyboard of the unit
  • The printing width of the label marker
  • How fast the unit is- critical for business use
  • The specific source of power and if there are alternatives
  • The unit memory
  • The size of the unit, as it defines portability
  • How many lines that can be printed
  • The unit’s label
  • The print technology that the unit uses
  • The unit Dpi
  • Ability to print pictures, logos, symbols, and barcodes
When you critically analyze the specific features of each unit, you can be assured of getting the best value for your money.
Construction and Design
Like many other products, the design and construction of a label maker is a critical factor to consider before making a purchase. Because of the increased brands and models on the market, this aspect is what most manufacturers use to give their products an edge. Mostly, the design and construction of any product impacts its usefulness, ease of use, durability, portability and comfort when using.

One of the fist aspects to consider in label makers is the display and the keyboard. Today, you will find some label makers with either a computer attachment or a built-in keyboard. The type of keyboard will impact its ease of use. Additionally, when you can connect the printer to a computer, it means you utilize the font, size, and color varying options. Also, when the keyboard is bigger, chances of making mistakes are lower.

You will also need to consider the display on the label maker. It’s not just the type of display, but also what each display allows you to do. For example, does the unit display allow on-screen preview? That’s not all, the size and dimensions of the label maker are worth considering. For example, the smaller units are more portable. However, bigger size shouldn’t put you off. Some of the largest units have more advanced features such as larger keyboard, ability to print larger items, as well as the size of the battery.

Mostly, how you will use the label maker determines the design and also the size that you need to get. If you want a unit to use in a busy business or an industry setting, you’ll need a unit that can do batch printing, with a higher speed as well as bigger size so that it won’t get overheated.
Performance and Ease of Use
Let’s face it, when you’re buying a label maker, you are looking for a model to get the work done, and done well. However, having the work done shouldn’t be the only motivation. Also consider the easiness of doing what you need to do to get the final result. If it is possible, consider the performance of the unit before anything else. The best yardstick of checking performance is assessing if the unit will meet your demands. If you want a label maker to use at home, you can go for the handheld ones, which are small and easy to use. If you want a unit for business use, you should check if the unit would meet all your business needs.

Mostly, the features in each model contribute to its performance. When considering the performance, consider the print technology that the unit applies. Other considerations here will include the print speed and print resolution. If you want to make colored labels, ensure the label maker has color printing option. Additionally, consider the tapes width, and which label it is compatible with. In this case, consider maximum label width, maximum print width, and label roll length.

In terms of performance, the design and fonts options are also worth considering. For example, the high-end label makers have almost five-color options- vertical text, expand and condense option, bold, italics and underline. Others include multiple fonts options, which includes auto sizing.

Furthermore, the printing options define the performance. For example, high-end label makers offer reverse, frame and mirror printing options. These options help you to make elegant labels including the ability to print symbols.

What is the Best Label Maker?

We all agree that label making needs differ, from business to business and across individuals. We understand that when you are shopping for a label printer, you want a unit that will meet the specific demands. If you want a product to use in your business, you want a model that is fast and effective. Additionally, you want a model that offers you the freedom to make customized labels. Here we have a compilation of 5 best brands that are made for use in different settings. It is worth noting that the best approach is to have in mind the size of your labeling needs so that you can pick a model that best suits the needs.
Our Top Choice
The Star Micronics Portable Bluetooth Printer is a compact, portable printer that can print up to 80mm per second. Alternatively, if you need a larger printer for your business needs, you should consider the Star Micronics POS Thermal Label Printer which can print up to 250mm per second!
Star Micronics Portable Bluetooth/USB Label Printer for iOS, Android, Windows

Star Micronics Label Maker SM-SL200i


Features
Star Micronics has been around for over half a century, manufacturing high-quality audio components, small printers, high-precision machine tools and precision parts. They’re constantly striving to stay on top of new and innovative technology to ensure their customers are getting the best products possible.

The Star Micronics Portable Bluetooth Printer is a 2-inch, compact printer that connects via Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR or USB 2.0 to your devices. It’s compatible with iOS, Android and Windows devices so you can print from almost any device. Barcode and graphics printing are supported and with a 80mm/sec print speed, this little contraption could be the perfect solution to your home or business needs.
Best Value
The Dymo LabelWriter 450 Turbo can print up to 71 address, barcode, shipping and file folder labels in a minute! It doesn’t have any kind of display or keyboard though. If you’re looking for a handheld unit, which has a display and in-built keyboard, DYMO has the LabelManager 160, which has 6 font sizes and an LCD display.
Dymo LabelWriter 450 Turbo Thermal Label Printer

Dymo Label Maker 1752265


Features
DYMO started as an embossing firm, in California in 1958. For over 6 decades now, DYMO has grown to be one of the global leaders in producing products and innovative solutions for businesses. The company strives to help consumers execute tasks easily and at the same time look good when doing it.

The Dymo LabelWriter 450 Turbo can print up to 71 shipping, address, barcode and file folder labels per minute! With a capacity like that, you could utilize this label maker in a home or commercial setting.

Let’s highlight the features you should expect in the Dymo LabelWriter 450 Turbo:
  • Connectible with PC and Mac, so you can print from Microsoft Word, Excel, QuickBooks, etc.
  • Compatible with Windows 7 and later and iOS 10.9 or later
  • Uses thermal printing technology, so no need for toner or inks
  • Label mail and files more efficiently with DYMO Label software and DYMO stamps
  • Prints USPS approved postage, using the DYMO software, from your computer, without the need for a contract or monthly charges
  • Weighs 2.8 pounds and measures, 10.9 x 5.9 x 6 inches, making it portable
The Zebra Technologies Desktop Thermal Label Printer can be used in multiple settings and it has a fast print speed of 6-inches per second. If you need a label printer specifically for UPS Worldship labels, then you should check out the Zebra Technologies Thermal Label Printer for U-P-S Labels Only.
Zebra Technologies Monochrome Desktop Direct Thermal Label Printer with Fast Ethernet Technology

Zebra Technologies Label Maker GX42-202410-000


Features
Zebra Technologies provides tracking technology and solutions that give businesses a view into their business like never before. They have a range of high-quality products including mobile computers, printers, interactive kiosks, barcode scanners, tablets and accessories.

The Zebra Technologies Desktop Thermal Label Printer is a monochrome direct thermal printer that is versatile and supports a wide range of applications, meaning you can integrate it into any environment. This printer can print labels up to 4.09-inches, ideal for retail, medical, transportation and manufacturing industries.

Here’s some more features to look forward to:
  • Max print speed of 6” (152mm) per second
  • Print resolution of 203dpi
  • Uses direct thermal technology, not ink
  • 32-bit processor
  • Ethernet port so you can connect to a wired network connection
  • Measures 6 x 6.75 x 8.25” and weighs 3.1lbs
  • Prints labels up to 39” long
  • Label and liner width range from 0.75 to 4.25”
Brady MMP21-PLUS label maker is among the best solutions to tough labeling needs. If you are looking for a label maker that comes with added features and sophistication, then Brady has another deal for you; the BMP71 label printer. This unit has over 400 label options, a print resolution of 300dpi and a memory of 200 MB.
Brady Handheld Label Maker with a Numeric and Alphabet Keyboard

Brady Label Maker BMP21PLUS Printer


Features
There is something unique about the Brady Corporation that makes it a market leader. It has been on the market for over 100 years. Impressive! The company produces 10 categories of products, which include, signs, tags, and software among others. It’s in the labels and tapes category, where the BMP-21 Plus travel friendly label printer belongs, that Brady really shines.

The Brady BMP-21 Label Maker is both a durable and smart unit, ideal for use in tough labeling jobs. It can be used in more than 10 fields to print labels. The model, which is both AC and batteries powered, is not connectable to a PC. Luckily, these shortcomings are fully compensated by other features such as the speed and efficiency. The suggested price by the manufacturer is $99 and we found out that the price on Amazon is slightly lower.

When you shop for the Brady BMP-21 unit, expect these features;
  • An alphabet and numeric keyboard, making it easy to type and format
  • An LCD display, allowing text preview
  • Single color printing
  • Battery powered making it travel friendly
  • 100 labels per day, making it ideal for small businesses
  • Print resolution of 203dpi
  • 100 built-in symbols, for label customization
  • A 2year warranty, assuring you of the quality and durability
The Brady BMP-21 label maker stands outs from its peers from its performance and features.
The Brother PT-D600 Label maker is a PC-connectible and adaptable unit that is enough for labeling needs in a business setting. The full-color display and varied label printing capabilities makes it stand out. If you want a portable unit, Brother also offer the PT-H100 handheld label printer, which is lightweight, battery powered, and fairly priced.
Brother PT-D600 Label Printer with Color Display and PC Connectable

Brother Label Maker PT-D600


Features
Brother as a brand has been on the market for nearly 7 decades. The company is a reputable brand in production of home, office and industrial products and solutions that change how we work and live. To date, the company has 15 product lines, among them printers, industrial garment printers and labeling solutions where The Brother PT-D600 falls. While the suggested price by the retailer is $99, on amazon was slightly lower than that.

Now, let’s see the features that the PT-D600 label printer possesses;
  • Has a graphical display, which allows you to view the labels before printing
  • It is connectable to a Mac or PC. Also, it can be used alone
  • The high resolution printing produces crisp graphics, logos and barcodes
  • The automatic tape cutter and fast speeds adds to its efficiency
  • It can print up to eight font sizes, giving you the freedom to customize fonts
  • Saves time courtesy of the large memory, as it can save up to 99 labels
  • Weighs 3.72 pounds and measures 3.4x7.9x7.6 inches, making it travel friendly
  • A QWERTY keyboard allows you to make professional labels easily
  • There is a big library of symbols, frames and fonts
  • A reassuring 2 year Warranty, to give you peace of mind

Get the Best Label Maker of 2018!

With the increased label makers brands and models on the market, choosing the best product can be hectic since it's not possible to test all of them. Hopefully this review has given you some food for thought and you can pick the label maker that best suits YOU!

Our Top Choice
Star Micronics Portable Bluetooth Printer
Best Value
Dymo LabelWriter 450 Turbo
Zebra Technologies Desktop Thermal Label Printer
Brady Portable Handheld Label Printer
Brother PT-D600 Label Printer