What barcode printer is best for my needs?

Answer

Most printers on the market today are capable of printing barcodes. Laser and inkjet printers can print readable barcodes, although Dot Matrix printers do not print at resolutions high enough to create barcodes that can be read by scanners.

Direct thermal and thermal transfer printers are excellent for printing barcode labels one label at a time from a roll, and laser or inkjet printers are ideal for printing onto label sheets.

While most printers are capable of printing readable barcodes, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages for each. Standard laser and inkjet printers are excellent for printing barcodes onto label sheets, and this is usually the preferred method for tasks that include creating tags for retail or inventory purposes. Label roll printers are a better option in situations where shipping labels are being printed, or other labels with barcodes that will be printed one at a time.

Label roll printers are usually either thermal transfer or direct thermal printers, and there are some important differences that a potential buyer should be aware of before moving forward.

Label roll printers important differences

Thermal Transfer

printers produce the highest quality labels and require a label roll and film or ribbon roll because the print head first burns the image onto the film, and then the film is pressed onto the label. This type of heat transfer printing means the labels will more easily withstand potential damage from heat or pressure. Thermal transfer printers can also support direct thermal printing.

Direct Thermal

printers are the most affordable label roll printers because they only require a label roll. The print head burns the printed image directly onto the labels.
Determining which type of printer may be something of a challenge if you are not aware of the different types of printers, their strengths and weaknesses, or other factors. It is important to understand what you are purchasing, especially if you are interested in purchasing a printer online. See our listing of barcode printers on our Hardware page or call our hardware experts for more information.
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