5 of The Best Shipping Label Printer for Sending Packages in 2021
Best Shipping Label Printer For Small Business and Home – Reviewed
Businesses heavily rely on exchanging, selling, and shipping goods to customers. Some companies require the best shipping label printer to issue labels to identify store goods, medication labels, price tags, bar codes, or packages. Having a reliable shipping label printer in your home or office is crucial to keep production growing and business profits up.
Finding the best shipping label printer for your business can be daunting, but we have research and compiled a list to help narrow down your options. The bottom line is many home offices, and small businesses depend on thermal shipping label printers to perform daily tasks and deliver goods to their customers. However, some thermal printers can bring the business owner a lot of grief. Not all brands and models can perform the same options or handle the workloads businesses demand.
We researched 5 thermal shipping label printer models and brought you our top picks for best label printers. Below are the main factors and features we use to rank each label printer we reviewed.
What to look for in the Best Shipping Label Printer? What makes a good Thermal Shipping Label Printer?
Ease of Installation
It is essential to look for an excellent product for your home or business, but more importantly, it should be easy to install. If you need to hire an IT person to install a shipping label printer, this might be a red flag and, for others, a limitation. These shipping printers perform simple functions and should not be complicated to install or use. Remember that you will be using these printers often, and simplicity is vital. You do not want to wait hours for IT or vendor support to print business-critical labels.
Some printer brands are more “sophisticated” than others and develop better software and hardware for their products. Well-known brands will regularly update their firmware to guarantee the most compatible and reliable product. The best label printers will be fully compatible with the latest computer Operating Systems such as Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Mac OS, minimizing compatibility issues and improving the installation process.
For instance, if you are installing your label printer on a Windows 10 PC and the printer is from a well-known brand, the process will be plug and play. Windows 10 will install all the drivers necessary to make the printer work. Most of the time, you can download additional software and features from the manufacturer’s website. Still, the main functions will be available right after connecting the printer to the computer and installing the drivers.
What is a computer Driver?
You can learn more about computer and software drivers in this article from Microsoft Support.
Computer Operating Systems do not always recognize smaller printer manufacturers’ software and drivers. You have to go to the manual process and install everything via CD or internet downloads.
Installing printer drivers manually can be confusing for some users, and more so when Operating Systems are not fully compatible with the software, your computer can start “crashing and even block the software drivers.”
The best thermal label printer will connect just like a regular printer and install automatically. However, some printers require you to install software from a CD or download drivers/software from a website that can be more involved.
The connectivity options in a shipping printer will impact its usability and versatility. Some thermal shipping label printers only connect to computers by USB cables, while others offer wireless connectivity options such as WiFi and Bluetooth. Higher-end printers will also provide LAN connectivity and cloud printing features.
Why does this matter? If your printer is wireless capable, you can send printing jobs from any device anywhere in your network without being physically connected to the printer. If you own an iPad or smartphone, you can walk around your home or office and send print jobs to the label printer. This added convenience is sometimes needed in larger businesses where you need to be mobile and process label requests while working on inventory.
Label Type & Sizes
The printer’s capability to handle different label sizes will affect the types of print jobs you can do with the thermal printer. While some printers support multiple label sizes, other printers can only print on a particular label size, meaning that some printers can be used for various projects, envelopes, and designs. Still, in contrast, other printers might only be useful to print small envelope labels. If the printer supports only one label size and later you realize you need to print an on a larger or different label, you will have to purchase a new label printer.
Also, pay attention to printers that use special or proprietary labels. This means that you can only use the labels manufactured by the vendor. This can be very limiting as you are at the vendor’s mercy, their prices, and their supply. If the vendor goes out of business, you might not find labels, and your label printer will become obsolete.
Durability (proven track record)
We recommend you research office products and ensure the brand has a track record of reliability and good sales with good customer reviews. In recent years many new brands have entered the market but are mainly rebranded China products with clever marketing packages and low prices. Shipping Label printers are often used in offices and used non-stop; I would recommend investing in a good brand with a long track record of the top quality products to ensure that your printer lasts and can handle office workloads.
Well-known printer brands will also make parts available for your printer so you can easily do repairs and keep them going. Any brand with an adequate inventory of repair parts and technical support is a plus for us.
Printing Speed and Resolution
The printer’s speed will have a direct impact on productivity. If you are printing a few labels a day, then the printer speed might not be that important to you, but if you are printing hundreds of labels to ship packages to customers, then printer speed will be essential.
Thermal shipping printers’ speed specifications will be stated on the manufacturer’s website under specifications and resemble “53 labels per minute“. The manufacturer’s specifications typically highlight the fastest speed the printer is capable of. Be sure to research all the speed specifications and modes at which the printer can achieve said speeds. Usually, the fastest printing speeds compromise printing resolution. As you change the printer to a higher resolution, the printing speed might decrease.
Printing resolution is also essential. Being able to print clear labels that customers and postal services can read is important. Some printers can only print fast at low resolutions. Good printer brands will specify printer speeds at different resolutions. This is useful information you can use to decide, are you ok with 50 labels per minute, or are you alright with 10 labels per minute?
Thermal printer resolution can range anywhere from 200 to 600 dpi ( dot per inch). DPI is used to measure the resolution of thermal printers.
For the most part, label printers are easy to install and easy to use. These printers are designed to do one task, and this simplifies things and increases reliability. However, there is always the possibility of running into issues, and technical support is needed, especially for home users with little specialized computer experience.
If you are in the categories of users with limited computer skills, then look for brands that offer good technical phone support. Most brands will state their support plans and hours on their website. If the brand you are researching only offers email or chat support get ready to wait longer for help. Preferably look for US-based phone support.
Management Software and Platform Compatibility
The software included with the shipping label printer is as important as the quality of the printer itself. The printer’s management software will control all printer functions, including adjusting resolution settings, maintenance tasks, and keeping your printer firmware up to date. Good management software will manage your printer effortlessly and help you get the most of your printer.
More importantly, some label printer software can also integrate with companies like Stamps.com, allowing you to purchase stamps on demand and control your stamp usage right from within your shipping printer management software. Other printer brands can integrate with other shipping software making things easier when printing shipping labels quickly.
Some thermal printer brands software can integrate with e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Amazon, and Etsy.
Here are Our Top 5 Best Thermal Label Printer or Shipping Label Printer – Best Label Printer
The Brother QL-820 NWM Professional Label Printer makes it to the top of our list for many reasons but primarily due to its versatility. Brother has been manufacturing printers and other computer peripherals for years and has a history and track records of quality and knowledge.
Most impressive is the printer’s connection options, which include wireless, USB, and Bluetooth. This type of versatility ensures this printer can be adopted in almost any business network environment.
Using Brother’s QL labels, one can print labels up to three feet long and in different sizes. Anything from name tags to shipping labels can be printed from this printer.
Lastly, we like Brother printers because of their local service shops and dealers’ network, making it easy for consumers to have their printers repaired and service extending the product’s life.
What we like:
LOCAL SERVICE CENTERS / REPAIR NETWORK AVAILABLE IN SOME U.S. STATES – Brother is one of the few companies who built a service and repair network of their products through authorized dealers and shops.
Multiple connectivity options that add flexibility ( Bluetooth, Wireless AirPrint, and wired
Good printing speed up to 110 labels per minute black text at 300 dots per inch (DPI)
The screen is backlit, which helps when operating the printer menu in low lights areas.
Automatic label cutter makes life easier and improves productivity.
What we don’t like:
For best results, Brother’s proprietary labels must be used. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it is good to be aware.
When these printers ship from the warehouse, the firmware might be outdated; users must update the printer to the latest firmware versions for best results.
The management software can be confusing for some users, but Brother support can assist.
The Dymo 1755120 LabelWriter 4 XL makes it to our list as the best thermal printer for larger shipping labels. While the Brother QL 820 NWB can print large labels, the DYMO specialty is larger labels. This label printer can print labels up to 4 inches wide, including warehouse, barcode, and other shipping labels.
The DYMO software makes it easy to download label templates and create unique print designs for your business. This thermal printer can print at respectable speeds of 53 labels per minute at 300 dots per inch ( DPI), although the label designed will dramatically impact the speed.
However, this label printer fits well in offices where simpler jobs might be required, and shipping labels from e-commerce stores like eBay and Esty are needed. The Dymo labelwriter printer can do a single job well.
What we like:
The printer is simple to use; log in to your computer and print.
The printer doesn’t have confusing configuration menus or many options to get in trouble with, very simple to drop labels and start printing.
Capable of printing USPS approved postage using DYMO’s software
The DYMO productivity software offers a lot of functions and design options for your labels.
DYMO offers phone support for their printers, although it is not 24/7.
What we don’t:
USB connectivity only, which means your computer will have to be physically connected and nearby the printer. This thermal printer might not be a good choice for those users wanting to print from mobile devices or walk around with a wireless laptop.
Internet connection is required for certain features in the DYMO productivity Software.
DYMO recommends their proprietary labels for best performance
No LCD screen on the printer, which means you’ll need your computer to make any printer hardware changes.
This thermal label printer is one of those Amazon items that are not household brands or very well known, but the product actually works and does the job. The MUNBYN shipping label printer is a small USB-only workhorse capable of printing labels 4×6.
The printer can print shipping labels from Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and other e-commerce sites and are compatible with Windows and Mac systems, with no Chrome book support. This printer is excellent for warehouse labels and any jobs that require continuous label printing. MYNBYN offers a label holder that can hold larger rollers of labels and can print non-stop without having to reload the printer often.
What makes this printer remarkable is that it is easy to install, and it only works. Feed-in labels and hit print. You can send hundreds of print jobs to this printer with the label holder adapter reducing reloads. This printer can use different label brands and sizes; adjust the printer feeder and print.
However, MUNBYN seems to be a “young” company founded in 2017 and might not have the workforce and support systems large companies like Brother have. Furthermore, MUNBYN’s main offices seem to be in China, and the support number is international. Not that there is something wrong with that, but support can be an issue, and communication delays are expected. However, MUNBYN seems to operate mainly out of Amazon’s warehouse, so shipping is fast, and Amazon can handle returns. But be wanted about contacting the company.
What we like:
Simple to set up and configure.
Print up to 72 labels per minute virtually non-stop with a label roller holder add-on.
Compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems
Can print multiple label sizes and adjust to smaller label rolls.
Great for production environments where a single-size label is continually printed.
What we don’t like:
There is nothing wrong with Chinese products but beware that MUNBYN is a Chinese company with primary operations in China. Contact pages and support numbers are international. The company mainly operates using Amazon logistics.
We wish this printer also offered some sort of wireless connectivity, but only USB is available.
No productivity design software like Brother and DYMO include
Software Drivers might require special permissions in MAC OS.
The Comer Label printer is one of those Amazon finds that surprises you. What makes these little label printers so reliable is their simplicity. These printers are built to do one thing: print labels fast without unnecessary bells and whistles.
However, Comer is not a household brand like HP and Brother, but their printers are purpose-built and do the job well. However, their simplicity can also be a downfall as some users might want more features out of their printers.
Their support offerings consist of phone and email support, although their support times are 9 to 6 China time.
What we like:
Compatible with Windows and MAC computers
High-speed printing speed at
Portable design makes it easy to transport
What we don’t like:
USB connectivity only
Support can be limited as tickets need to be submitted and phone support is in China. Other printer brands have 1 -800 support numbers you can call.
One Last Word.
When looking for a good label printer for your home or office keep in mind that reliability, speed, ease of use, and good software will make a world of difference. The most expensive printer might not necessarily be the best and the lesser-known brands can offer all the functionality you are looking for. Try to find a balance between price, reliability, versatility, and vendor support. In our case, we enjoy working with brands with good software and manufacturer support.