Best Shipping Label Printers For Printing Shipping and Address Labels

Looking for the best shipping label printer? Welcome! In this article, we look at seven shipping label printers for shipping packages and print thermal labels. Understandably, many companies need a reliable label printer to label goods, merchandise, print price tags, shipping bar codes, postage shipping labels, and ship packages.

A reliable thermal label printer for the home or office is essential to keep many business operations running.  Finding a good shipping printer for your business can be daunting, but we have research and compiled a list of the best performers.

In This Guide: The 7 Best Thermal Shipping Label Printers of 2021


Best OverallROLLO Printer Commercial Grade Direct Thermal High Speed Printer
READ REVIEW

Best thermal printer for eBay Amazon, Shopify FedEx, Bakary, cupcake design labelsMUNBYN Printer, USB 4×6
READ REVIEW

Best shipping label printer for Large Labels – DYMO 1755120 LabelWriter 4XL
READ REVIEW

Best wireless thermal shipping label printer – Brother QL-1110NWB Wide Format with Wireless Connectivity
READ REVIEW

Amazing Label Printer – Arkscan 2054A Printer
READ REVIEW

The Brother QL-820NWB Bluetooth Label Printer
READ REVIEW

The Zebra GK420d Direct Thermal Desktop Printer
READ REVIEW


What is a Thermal Direct Label Printer?

Thermal printers print using heat print heads which through a thermal reaction print characters onto thermal paper such as shipping labels. Unlike a regular printer, these label printers don’t use ink or toner and thermal labels are all that is needed. Some thermal printers can use fanfold labels while others only support label rolls. A regular printer will only be able to print a flat sheet of labels.

what makes a good shipping label printer infographic

10 Features Of A Good Thermal Shipping Label Printer?

How easy it is to install the shipping label printer to your computer

If you need to hire an IT person to install a thermal label printer, this might be a red flag and, for others, a limitation.

Remember, you will be using these label printers often, and simplicity is vital. You do not want to wait hours for IT or vendor support to print labels. Good printers can auto-download software drivers and install them on your computer in a few minutes.

The best shipping label printer will be fully compatible with the latest computer Operating Systems such as Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Mac OS, minimizing compatibility issues and automating the installation process. You can learn more about software drivers in this article from Microsoft Support

How it connects to your computer (Ethernet, WIFI, AirPrint, USB )

white usb cable

Some printers only connect to computers by a USB port, while others offer wireless connectivity options such as WiFi and Bluetooth. Higher-end label printers will also provide LAN connectivity and cloud printing features. 

Why does this matter? If you choose a wireless thermal printer, you can send printing jobs from any device anywhere in your network without being physically connected to the printer.

Thermal printers with AirPrint capability are fully compatible with Apple computers, tablets, and mobile phones.

Label Types & Sizes the printer supports

Consider the label type your office will need before choosing a thermal shipping label printer.

If a printer supports only one type of label it can limit the type of jobs and amount of label designs you can print. While some printers support multiple label sizes, self adhesive labels, file folder labels, USPS labels others can only print on special labels. Some thermal printers can be used for various projects and shipping label designs, while others can only perform one task. For example, some thermal printers support fanfold labels and file folder labels while others only support roll labels.

label types illustration

The label types printer support is important because you don’t want to buy another printer next month when you need to print different types of labels. Consult the user manual to check which labels the printer supports.

Also, pay attention to thermal printers that use special or proprietary shipping labels. This means that you can only use or print labels manufactured by the vendor and cannot use universal labels which can save money. This can be very limiting as you are at the vendor’s mercy, their prices, and their supply. Being able to use generic labels is a huge advantage and cost savings option.

If you are looking for a 4×6 thermal label printer, pay close attention to printers with specifications that say “Widebody.” Also, 4×6 is the standard wide label size. Most thermal printers can support large 4×6 labels.

Printer Reliability

We recommend you research office products and ensure the brand has a track record of reliability and good sales with good customer reviews.

The best printers handle long hours of printing labels, print hundreds of jobs continuously use without overheating or pausing printing jobs for the unit to cool down.

Did you know these printers were invented by American electrical engineer Jack S. Kilby back in the 1960s!

Printing Speed, Resolution

neon best lights

Printing speed will have a direct impact on productivity. If you are printing a few shipping labels a day, then the printing speed might not be that important to you, but if you are printing shipping labels for hundreds of packages a day, then printing at high speed is important.

Some printers are capable of printing high-quality labels at high printing speeds but tend to be more expensive.

Printing speed specifications will be stated on the manufacturer’s website under specifications as “one label per second” or stated as” labels per minute.”

The manufacturer’s printing speed specifications typically highlight the fastest printing speed the printer is capable of. Usually, the fastest printing speed setting compromises printing resolution.

Thermal label printers resolution can range anywhere from 200 to 600 dpi ( dot per inch). DPI is used to measure the resolution of these printers. A thermal printer works by applying heat to thermal paper, a special dye that reacts to the printer’s heat. Shipping printers do not need ink or toner.

What is DPI?

Learn about DPI here.

tech support lady

Customer Support

For the most part, a direct thermal desktop label printer is easy to configure and easy to use. However, there is always the possibility of running into issues, and technical support is needed, especially for home users with little technical computer experience. 

If you are in the group of users with limited computer skills, look for brands with good technical phone support options. If the brand you are researching only offers email or chat customer support get ready to wait for help. Preferably look for US-based phone support.

Management Software

shipping software

The printer’s management software will control all printer functions, including adjusting resolution settings, maintenance tasks, and keeping your printer firmware up to date. 

Management Software can also integrate with major shipping platforms and shipping carriers like Stamps.com, allowing you to purchase stamps on demand and control your stamp usage right from your shipping printer management software. If you often send packages using your local post office or popular shipping carriers, then a printer that can print big labels will work well.

Some direct thermal printer brands’ software can integrate with e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Amazon, and Etsy, and depending on your business model; this can be a huge advantage.

Printer Maintenance

Direct thermal label printers do not require ink cartridges like other printers and lowering running costs, but that doesn’t mean some maintenance isn’t required from time to time.

Most postage printers do not require any maintenance other than occasional inspections; others require cleaning or calibration.

These printers do not require ink cartridges or toner, for the most part, just need to be kept clean of paper debris. The best printers offer self-cleaning options or accessible paper compartments.

Operating System Compatibility ( WIndows, Mac or both )

While some direct thermal label printers are compatible with Windows OS and Mac OS, some printers only work with Windows operating system computers and are incompatible with Apple computers. Pay attention and choose a label printer that is fully compatible with your computer operating system. Consult the user manual to see the Operating Systems the printer is compatible with.

Price

A label printer for shipping labels can cost a few hundred dollars. Some printers will include all the features you need all at a reasonable price while some brands are pricier. Besides the cost of the printer, remember that a printer that can use generic labels will lower running costs.

Here is the List of The Best Thermal Shipping Label Printers – The Full Review.

1. Best Shipping Label Printer – ROLLO Printer Commercial Grade Direct Thermal High Speed Printer ( Best Overall and Our Top Pick )

The Rollo Label printer makes it to our list as the thermal printer for shipping labels. What makes these little label machines so reliable is their simplicity. Thus, the Rollo thermal direct label printers rank the best thermal label printer in this list. Rated among the best printers on Amazon, this printer offers good print quality at a good price.

These printers are built to do one thing: print shipping labels fast without unnecessary features and it prints labels at a good speed. The Rollo printers are the best printers for printing shipping labels due to their simplicity.

However, the Rollo printer brand is not a household brand like HP and Brother, but their printers are purpose-built and do the job well; 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 primary support method seems to be an email and ticket system. Nevertheless, if you are shopping for the best thermal shipping label printer, the Rollo Label Printer might be the right choice.

What we like:

  • The Rollo label printer has a great customer review history. These printers are user friendly.
  • Print hundreds of labels. Great for bulk shipping labels print jobs such as barcode labels.
  • Great for custom labels and printing labels for different shipping carriers. This printer supports any thermal direct label.
  • Supports Label Rolls and fan fold labels! Purchase the Rollo label holder and instantly print using label rolls.
  • It supports many types of labels, including free UPS labels, saving users hundreds in label costs.
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac computers.
  • High speed printing rate, prints at one label per second printing speed.
  • Portable design makes it easy to transport.
  • Top-selling shipping label printers, commercial grade, good for high quality prints and user friendly.
  • This printer is often used and has the ability to print ID labels.
  • Great for address labels.

What we don’t like:

  • USB connectivity only. Most thermal direct printers connect to computers using USB cables.
  • Support can be limited as tickets need to be submitted, and phone support is in China. Other brands have 1 -800 numbers you can call.

2. Best for Amazon,eBay, Shopify, Etsy and Custom Labels – The MUNBYN Thermal Label Printer

This thermal 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 thermal printer is a USB-only workhorse capable of printing labels 4×6. This printer is great for bulk mailing labels printing with is label roller.

If looking for the best thermal label printer for eBay, consider the MUNBYN. The printer can print freight labels from Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and other e-commerce sites and are compatible with Windows and Mac systems.

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 print non-stop without reloading the unit often. Label rolls can be purchased from MUNBYN.

types of labels munbyn is good for

What we like:

  • Great to print custom desing labels for online stores like cupcake boxes or bakeray .
  • These printers are simple to set up and configure.
  • Prints at speeds of 72 labels per minute virtually non-stop with a label roller holder add-on.
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac systems.
  • Can print multiple label dimensions and adjust to smaller label rolls.
  • Great for production environments where a single-size label is continually printed.
  • Great for merchandise labels and USPS labels.
  • This direct thermal printer can handle label rolls.
  • Great for High volume printing.
  • Great for a small business.

What we don’t like:

  • MUNBYN has expanded its consumer support team, which is now situated in Canada and available almost around the clock.
  • We wish this model also offered some sort of wireless connectivity, but only USB is available.
  • No productivity design software like Brother and DYMO include.

3. Best Thermal Label Printer for Large Labels – DYMO 1755120 LabelWriter 4XL

While the QL 820 NWB can print large labels, the DYMO 4XL specialty is larger labels. This is a 4×6 label printer. The Dymo 4XL LabelWriter direct thermal makes it to our list as the third best shipping label printer for larger labels. The Labelwriter 4xl is very popular, and its software is easy to use.

The Dymo printer can print up to 4 inches wide, including warehouse, barcode, id labels, and shipping labels. The DYMO software makes it easy to download label templates and create unique print designs for your large or small business. 

The DYMO 4xl does features decent printing speed the job well. This printer can print at respectable speeds of 53 LPM at 300 dots per inch ( DPI).

The Labelwriter 4 XL printer is simple to set up and is compatible with multiple major shipping platforms. The Labelwriter 4xl software offers great features and is easy to use.

What we like:

  • These printers are simple to use, connect to your computer, and print. 
  • The printer doesn’t have confusing configuration menus or many options to get in trouble with.
  • Great shipping label printer – Capable of printing USPS-approved postage labels using DYMO’s software. This thermal label printer can print large postage shipping labels.
  • The Labelwriter 4xl productivity software offers a lot of functions and design options for your labels.
  • The Labelwriter 4xl offers phone support, although it is not 24/7. Expected the top or best thermal label printer, vendors.
  • Best thermal label printer for product labels. The 4XL can print wide labels.
  • The Dymo Labelwriter 4XL works great for address labels and name badges.
  • Can print out of the box without much configuration. The Dymo 4XL works with both, Windows and Apple computers.

What we don’t:

  • The Dymo Labelwriter 4xl supports USB connectivity only.
  • Internet connection is required for certain features in the DYMO Software.
  • DYMO recommends their exclusive labels for best performance. Most small business owners dislike the price of branded labels.
  • The DYMO does not support fan-fold labels and labels must have perforations between labels.

4. Best Wireless Shipping Label Printer – Brother QL-1110NWB Wide Format with Wireless Connectivity

Wide Format, Postage and Barcode Professional Thermal with Wireless Connectivity

This “wide format” Brother QL shipping printer is reasonably meant for larger deployments and heavy-duty business applications. This model offers enterprise-grade features, including shipping software development kits. Label printers, including software development kits, can be integrated with small business applications such as Medical EMRs.

This direct thermal is compatible with both Windows and Apple OS, plus it supports mobile devices. Connectivity can be done via wireless, Bluetooth, or Ethernet. This is an excellent printer for a small business and large companies too.

 What we like:

  • This Brother QL is a Wide-format thermal label printer model, supports 4 x6 labels.
  • Wireless thermal label printer works with mobile devices and tablets.
  • Great postage, barcode labels and name badges.
  • This printer is compatible with most computers and operating systems, including Windows and Mac systems.
  • Commercial grade: The Network Management Software makes this printer a good choice for large deployment where multiple printers need to be deployed and managed.
  • This printer can print on serveral sizes up to 4 inches wide.
  • You get many connectivity options, including WIFI and LAN networking.
  • This unit is well suited for larger environments, perhaps a warehouse.
  • Can print from mobile phones and iPads.
  • Prints at good speeds.

What we don’t like:

  • The unit can be more difficult to set up for some users compared to other printers in this list.

5. Reliable Thermal Printer – Arkscan 2054A Printer

We have talked about what makes a good label maker, and our team has analyzed a lot of information to bring you good information on every label maker on this list. However, the Arkscan 2054a is a great label maker and needs its place on this list.

We aim to keep our reviews short and to the point and therefore only include 5 products in each article, but we can’t talk about the best label maker without talking about the Arkscan 2054a. The Arkscan 2054a is high quality, and its support is US-based in New York. This printer is fast, reliable, and has a good track record. Check out the Arkscan 2054a reviews.

What we like:

  • The Arkscan 2054a is a reliable printer and mature product.
  • Compatible with many shipping platforms.
  • It comes with a free software version of BarTender UltraLite Label Design to design great shipping labels for any business model.
  • U.S.-based live tech support via phone, live chat, and even remote access. THIS IS A HUGE PLUS!

What we don’t like:

  • Doesn’t auto detect label size, users have to manually adjust roll.

6. The Brother QL-820NWB Bluetooth Label Printer

The Brother QL-820 NWM Professional Label direct thermal makes it to the top of our list for many reasons, primarily due to its versatility. Brother has been manufacturing printers and other computer peripherals for years and has a history and track record of quality and experience.

The Brother QL line is one of the best models in the market. The Brother QL models can often be found in commercial and retail applications.

Most impressive are the connection options, which include wireless (WiFi), USB, and Bluetooth. This type of versatility ensures this printer can be utilized in almost any business network environment.

Wireless printers can be deployed easily and fast, as no cabling infrastructure needs to be in place.

Using Brother’s QL labels, one can print labels up to three feet long and of different sizes. Anything from name tags to freight 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 for their products through authorized dealers and shops.
  • Multiple connectivity options that add flexibility, this printer can print via Bluetooth, Wireless AirPrint, and wired.
  • Good printing speed up to 110 labels per minute black text at 300 dots per inch (DPI)
  • These printers support Apple’s AirPrint.
  • Bluetooth wireles thermal label printer.
  • Great for packages and address labels.
  • Ability to print product labels and warehouse label designs.
  • The screen is backlit, which helps when operating the printer menu in low lights areas.
  • An 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.

7. The Zebra GK420d Direct Thermal Desktop Printer

The Zebra Gk420d is a great printer, and Zebra has been a well-known thermal printer brand for years. I mean, you can walk into almost ant retail store, pharmacy, or small business and see these printers. Zebra has been making amazing printers for years, but it seems they have fallen behind in the software department.

Printers like the Dymo Labelwriter 4xl and The Rollo Printer have great software and are compatible with most Operating Systems, including Windows and Mac systems OS. Nevertheless, it is important to mention that the Zebra GK420d is still a very reliable printer.

We really like Zebra printers. They are reliable, but the Zebra Gk420d not supporting Mac OS will deter some users.

What we like:

  • ZEBRA GK420d isa well built printer
  • The ZEBRA GK420d will work best with WIndows desktop and might be great for legacy applications
  • Works well in retail, manufacturing and hospitality.
  • Popular printer for small business point of sale systems and reatil stores.
  • Commonly used to pirinting name tags

What we don’t like:

  • The Zebra Gk420d does not offer real support for Mac or Apple products.
  • It seems a bit old school considering some printers in this list can even AirPrint. But if you only need a good reliable Windows USB printer. This is a good option.


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.

Feedback from Our Technical Team: Here at Corporate Shields we work and support customers with various models of printers and have found that the simpler the printer the easier is to use, the longer it lasts and the more reliable it is.

Overcomplicated, software tends to be a problem with certain users and at times is hard to teach employees how to use the software.