What are barcode printers?
Unlike the typical dot-matrix or ink jet printers you would usually use in your office or home, barcode printers are designed specifically to create tags, receipts, labels, or tickets. There are two main types of barcode printers: Direct Thermal printers and Thermal Transfer printers.
Direct Thermal versus Thermal Transfer printers
Direct Thermal Printers
Direct thermal printers need a special type of paper that is heat-activated and turns black when it passes under the printhead. This type of printer does not need a ribbon. You will typically see direct thermal printers in ATM machines or cash registers. Receipts or labels that are printed by this type of printer usually don’t last long, especially if they are exposed to rubbing, heat, or direct sunlight.
Thermal Transfer printers
This type of printer is also called wax transfer printer. Unlike direct thermal printers, thermal transfer printers use a ribbon, which is melted onto the material by the printhead. This type of printer can label a variety of materials besides paper, and will last longer in different types of environments. It can also print a variety of colors, so it would be very useful if your printing needs require colored labels. This type of printer is usually used for product labels and clothing labels. It costs more to buy and to use a thermal transfer printer, but if you need labels or receipts to last long, it would probably be your best choice.
Barcode printers are very easy to install, and require a computer. USB ports are used to connect to the computer, but some printers also allow connecting over a Wifi or Ethernet network, or via Bluetooth.
Why use a barcode printer?
While you can use your usual office printer to print out barcodes, barcode printers are designed specifically for barcodes and labels, and would ensure that the barcode that is printed will be clearly read by the barcode reader. It’s also possible to print individual labels with a barcode printer — you have to print out a whole sheet with a desktop or office printer, which wouldn’t be cost-effective. If your business is growing, you will eventually want to invest in a barcode printer because they also print much faster than ink jet or dot matrix printers.
Factors to consider when choosing a barcode printer
How many labels would you need to print per day? If you’re running a small business, a desktop printer would be ideal. If you need to print a huge amount of labels daily, you will need an industrial printer, which is more durable and can handle printing labels for hours, or even a whole day.
Type of label.
What kind of label are you going to make? Are you going to print receipts or sticker labels for your products? Are you going to print wristbands or tickets? There are special types of barcode printers that are used for certain types of labels.
The type of printer depends also where they need to be used. If the printer users are those who need to make labels on-the-go, you might consider small mobile printers. This type of printer usually connects to a network, either via Wifi or Bluetooth.
Certain printer models have accessories that might be useful for your label printing needs. Although optional, it might be worthwhile to take a look at the accessories or add-ons that can be installed along with your printer, which might make your labeling tasks much easier to complete.
Another factor to consider is how long you would want the label or receipt to last. If you don’t need the labels or receipts to last in harsh environments, it would be better to consider buying a direct thermal printer.
There are still other factors to consider that are not included in this article, and these factors are different for each business. To make it easier for you to find the right barcode printer, you must consider all of these factors, and choose the printer that best fits your business and your budget.