Finding a printer that suits your needs from the numerous brands and models available in the market does get a bit tricky considering the variety of options available.
Here is a quick guide to consider before making a buying a decision.
Print quantity required on a daily basis
The number of prints required on a daily basis is the first aspect to determine the kind of printer you will need.
For lower volumes, there are printers such as E Class from Datamax or the Zebra’s LP or DA series as these are smaller printers designed to keep costs low and print around 1-20 labels a day at a very small investment.
One of the major drawbacks of these entry level printers, however, is that cost of repairs is quite high in the event of a breakdown. For meeting higher quantity requirements, printers such as the Datamax I Class Mark II and II or the H Class, Zebra 105SL, Xi Series or the ZT 400 are preferred mainly due to their capacity to print in thousands without any difficulty.
And while these printers do require a higher initial investment, they are low maintenance models which will last for as long as 10 years or more when used and maintained properly.
Types of label sizes
When it comes to printing labels, everything has to be right. The content, itself, must have the necessary details and it should relaying true information. Otherwise, there would be some serious consequences for wrong labeling. Aside from the content, design and other labeling details; the label sizes matter a lot as well.
There are endless options for the label sizes that label printers can produce. One important consideration here is the width of the label as size of print heads varies from printer to printer, although most do go up to 34 inches.
Four inches in the most popular size for labels– 90% of businesses use this. Six to eight inch width sizes are also available for label barrow or gallon containers.
Print head replacements do add to the cost of equipment as well, therefore, picking an appropriate size will keep initial and recurring cost lower. On an average, 4 inch print heads cost around $250-500, 6 inches print heads will cost approximately $600- $900 and anything over 8 inches comes with a price tag of over $1000.
What you need to print
In addition to printing labels, label printers can perform a whole lot of other functions, too. Depending on what you need to print, you will have to accordingly consider the resolution you will need. Printing print logos, barcodes, small fonts, etc requires different DPI’s (dots per inch).
Standard printers come in 203 DPI’s. For smaller fonts and enhanced quality, however, you would require a DPI of around 305.
Printers from doranix.com can handle different types of materials to be printed on. Some of their printers specialize on Tyvek, a material used for sterilization pouches for dentists, doctors and pharmaceutical companies for extraordinarily safe packaging.
If your budget permits, it is always recommended that you buy the latest printers on the market as these come loaded with features and a variety of specifications. If you are just starting out, however, and you don’t have a sizable budget, you could consider older generation machines or opt for something simple and basic.
Monochrome and color printing
Color printers, from popular brands such as Astromed and Toshiba, cost anywhere from $12,000 onwards for thermal transfer printers. The other option are inkjet label printers such as the VP2020 from VIP or the LX-810 from Primera.