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As a small business owner, you are constantly looking for ways to streamline your operations, cut costs, and improve efficiency. One area where you can achieve all three of these goals is by investing in a shipping label printer.

What is a Shipping Label Printer?

A shipping label printer is a specialized printer that is designed to print shipping labels and other related documents such as packing slips, invoices, and receipts. These printers are typically thermal printers, which means that they use heat to transfer ink onto the label or paper, resulting in a clear and durable print.

Types of Shipping Label Printers

    • Direct Thermal Printers: These printers use heat-sensitive paper and don’t require ink or toner. When heated, the paper changes color to produce the printed image. While they are cost-effective in the short term, the labels can fade over time, especially when exposed to direct sunlight or heat.
    • Thermal Transfer Printers: These printers melt a ribbon onto the label for a more durable print. The labels are longer-lasting and don’t fade as easily as those from direct thermal printers. However, they require the purchase of both labels and ribbons, making them slightly more expensive to operate.

Shipping Label Printer Options for Your Small Business

There are a lot of laser printers available – we’d like to help you sort through them. Below are the criteria we used for our picks – things we think are important to look for in a shipping label printer:

  1. Print Speed and Efficiency (Scale Importance: 10/10)
    • High print speed is crucial for handling large volumes of shipments efficiently.
  2. Print Quality and Resolution (Scale Importance: 9/10)
    • Clear, legible labels are essential for accurate shipping and handling.
  3. Compatibility with Various Label Sizes and Types (Scale Importance: 8/10)
    • Flexibility to print different label sizes accommodates various product types and packaging.
  4. Ease of Integration with Business Systems (Scale Importance: 9/10)
    • Compatibility with existing inventory and shipping software streamlines operations.
  5. Durability and Reliability (Scale Importance: 9/10)
    • A robust printer reduces downtime and maintenance costs.
  6. Cost-Effectiveness and Value for Money (Scale Importance: 8/10)
    • Balancing upfront costs with long-term efficiency and reliability.
  7. User-Friendly Interface and Ease of Use (Scale Importance: 7/10)
    • Simplifies the learning curve and reduces errors in label printing.
  8. Connectivity Options (Scale Importance: 7/10)
    • Options like USB, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet provide flexibility in printer placement and network integration.
  9. Compact Size and Footprint (Scale Importance: 6/10)
    • Important for small businesses with limited space.
  10. Energy Efficiency (Scale Importance: 5/10)
    • Reduces operational costs and supports environmentally friendly practices.

These criteria were carefully considered in our selections, ensuring that the products we recommend are suited to the needs of small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. Check out our picks below:

 

Brother Ultra-Fast Label Printer with Wireless Networking

Brother QL-810W Ultra-Fast Label Printer with Wireless Networking

The name Brother is synonymous with quality printers, so it shouldn’t be surprising they’re on our list. This printer can be shared over a wireless network, making it convenient if multiple people need to use it. It offers ultra-fast, high-resolution (up to 300 x 600 dpi) printing, for crisp text, graphics and barcodes. You can use it with Windows or Mac and easily integrate and manage it over a wireless network with Brother’s free software.

Brother Ultra-Fast Label Printer with Wireless Networking

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LabelRange High-Resolution Thermal Label Printer

LabelRange 300DPI High Resolution Thermal Label Printer

This printer is designed with 300DPI resolution and can create quality 4×6” shipping labels, as well as multiple sizes of nametags, address labels, barcode labels, and more. It is compatible with most major e-commerce platforms such as eBay, Etsy, and PayPal, as well as major shipping platforms including USPS, and others. The printer also comes with 100 sheets of 4×6” fan-fold labels.

LabelRange High-Resolution Thermal Label Printer

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Nelko Bluetooth Thermal Shipping Label Printer

Nelko Bluetooth Thermal Shipping Label Printer

Nelko’s thermal label printer aims to make printing labels even easier – you can now print labels from your Smartphone! You can connect via a USB cable, or use Bluetooth to send print commands. It also features high-speed printing – 150 mm/s or up to 72 sheets of 4×6 labels/min. Instructions, printer drivers, and troubleshooting videos come with the unit to make setup a breeze.

Nelko Bluetooth Thermal Shipping Label Printer

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ZEBRA ZSB Series Thermal Label Printer

ZEBRA ZSB Series Thermal Label Printer - Wireless Labeling for Shipping

The Zebra ZSB thermal label printer allows the user to print a variety of label content from anywhere, on any device with wireless mobile PDF printing. It can print up to 73 labels per minute and works exclusively with eco-friendly compostable ZSB Series label cartridges.

The printer works for eCommerce and shipping sites, is compatible with Mac and PC, and also lets you create your own labels with their browser-based Label Designer.

ZEBRA ZSB Series Thermal Label Printer

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JADENS Bluetooth Thermal Shipping Label Printer

JADENS Bluetooth Thermal Shipping Label Printer – Wireless 4x6 Shipping Label Printer

This highly-rated printer features a high-tech thermal print head, 203 DPI high printing quality, a label holder and comes with extra labels. You can print wirelessly or via USB, depending on the device and/or browser. Its wide usage enables you to print from various platforms and sites, and it comes with easy-to-follow instructions, drivers, and a 1-year warranty.

JADENS Bluetooth Thermal Shipping Label Printer

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Rollo Commercial Grade Direct Thermal Shipping Label Printer

Rollo Shipping Label Printer - Commercial Grade Direct Thermal High Speed Shipping Printer

This high-speed printer works with any Thermal Direct Label including free UPS labels. It can print labels from 1.57″ to 4.1″ wide with no height restriction, and is ideal for 4″ x 6″ shipping labels, warehouse labels, barcode and ID labels, bulk mailing labels, and more. It connects via USB and is compatible with Windows and Mac.

Rollo Commercial Grade Direct Thermal Shipping Label Printer

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POLONO Thermal Label Printer

POLONO Thermal Label Printer

This printer is easy to use on computers or laptops by installing the printer driver from the included USB or from their official website. It features high-speed printing at 150mm/s, an intelligent paper return function, and 203 DPI resolution. It can print 72 labels per minute.

POLONO Thermal Label Printer

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iDPRT Thermal Label Printer

iDPRT Thermal Label Printer SP410 Thermal Shipping Label Printer

This printer supports print widths of 2” to 4.25” and can print various types of labels. It can print 72 sheets of 4×6 labels per minute and has a high 203 DPI resolution to prevent blurry or pixelated printing. Compatible with Mac and Windows, this printer is also compact for easy transport.

iDPRT Thermal Label Printer

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DYMO LabelWriter 5XL Label Printer

DYMO LabelWriter 5XL Label Printer, Automatic Label Recognition

Featuring its own software, this DYMO printer lets you create and customize over 60 label types through a USB or LAN network connection. Automatic label recognition, 300 dpi resolution, and wide compatibility round out the features of this popular label printer for shipping.

DYMO LabelWriter 5XL Label Printer

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MUNBYN USB Thermal Printer for Shipping Labels

MUNBYN Shipping Label Printer, 4x6 Label Printer for Shipping Packages

Unlike many other shipping label printers, this one is compatible with Chrome OS, as well as Windows and Mac. This 230 DPI printer features a one-click setup, multiplatform use and multi-size printing.

MUNBYN USB Thermal Printer for Shipping Labels

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On The Job: How a Small Business Can Use Shipping Label Printers

  1. E-Commerce Order Fulfillment
    • Printing shipping labels for products sold through online stores.
  2. Subscription Box Services
    • Creating labels for regular shipments of subscription-based products.
  3. Handmade or Craft Business Shipments
    • Labeling packages for artisanal goods sold on platforms like Etsy.
  4. Small-Scale Manufacturing
    • Printing labels for shipping parts or finished products to customers or distributors.
  5. Freelance Graphic Designers or Artists
    • Sending physical proofs, samples, or artwork to clients.
  6. Home-Based Bakery or Catering Services
    • Labeling delivery packages for local food orders.
  7. Bookkeeping or Legal Services
    • Sending important documents to clients with secure and trackable shipping.
  8. Photography Business
    • Shipping printed photos, albums, or other materials to clients.
  9. Independent Retail Stores
    • Handling returns or exchanges by printing return labels for customers.
  10. IT and Tech Support Services
  • Shipping replacement parts or repaired items to clients.
  1. Event Planning and Supplies
    • Sending out promotional materials, tickets, or event-related goods.
  2. Health and Wellness Products
    • Labeling shipments for products like supplements, fitness gear, or wellness items sold online.

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