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Barcode Printers – What You Need To Know Before You Invest

There are a few types of barcode printers used to produce barcodes. Lets look at some of the differences and features you will need to know before you choose one.

Consumer Grade Label Printers

Consumer based label printers can also be used as barcode printers. Dymo label printers and Brother label printers are two choices for you to look at.

They have great pricing and come in a good range to choose from. You can buy them easily over the internet or from Office Works. Great also for office requirements. Should you however have labelling requirements greater than a few hundred labels, not a wise choice as the media costs will crucify you. Also are only direct thermal printers. Which means no permanency of print on the label. May In Ma Vach So for any applications where the print on label has to last for a long time, these are not a great choice.

Pros –

  • Very affordable.
  • Easy to locate and purchase.

Cons –

  • The media is very expensive.
  • Are a direct thermal printer so print on label will fade after time, depending on environment they will be used for.

Laser Printers – Your typical office laser printer can be used to print barcodes. Sheet labels are usually purchased to do this. This is not a dedicated barcode printer.

Pros –

  • Very cost-effective for low volume printing.
  • Sheet labels are quite affordable.

Cons –

  • Direct Thermal. Print on labels is not permanent and will fade.
  • You cannot set a quantity on this and have to use the whole sheet when you print.

Inkjet Printers – Not recommended for printing barcodes. Generally, discrepancies are produced on the barcode when printing, not allowing the barcode scanner to read the barcode.

Direct Thermal & Thermal Transfer Commercial Grade Printers

The cheapest and most popular are the direct thermal barcode printers for commercial grade barcode label printers. Lets look at the two styles of printers in more detail.

Direct Thermal Barcode Printer

There are many manufacturers of thermal direct barcode printers. They do not use any ribbons and use just the thermal print head to print on to the label.

Pros –

  • Dedicated label barcode printer. Most manufacturers offer a 2 inch or 4 inch print width and larger if required.
  • Can use labels on a roll. Which means you can have 1000 – 2000 labels on a roll without having to change media all the time.
  • Costs of the labels can be a fraction of a cent.
  • Can be cheaper than Thermal Transfer barcode printer.

Cons –

  • Cannot produce print on label that is permanent.
  • Printers are more expensive than your consumer based barcode label printers.

Thermal Transfer Printer

There are a number of manufacturers that produce this type of printer. TSC and Zebra are two types that come to mind. Like the direct thermal printer, a thermal transfer printer uses a thermal print head. However, it also uses a ribbon to combine with the thermal print head to give the print permanency on the label.

Pros –

  • Dedicated label barcode printer. Most manufacturers offer a 2 inch or 4 inch print width & larger if required.
  • Can use labels on a roll. Which means you can have 1000 -2000 labels on a roll without having to change media all the time.
  • Costs of the labels will be a fraction of a cent.

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