best thermal printer

Best Thermal Label Printer For The Money: Reviews and Buying Guide 2018

If you wish to print price tags, tickets, shipping or packaging labels, receipts, etc., then you’ll doubtlessly need thermal label printer by your side.

From printing labels with lighting speed to offering you clear and durable prints, the thermal printer has earned recognition from both small and large businesses.

But which is the best thermal printer for you to buy?

Many business owners often get confused when it comes to choosing the right model from the hundreds of models on the market.
And in most cases, they end up investing their money in the wrong products.

The purpose of coming up with this post is to reveal to you the top tips and trick that go into finding an excellent thermal label printer that addresses your specific printing needs.

Below, you’ll discover our exhaustive thermal printer buying guide plus the 10 most popular thermal printers you’ll find on the market today.
Let’s get into the details right away.

Do You Need a Thermal Label Printer?

Before we can dig deeper, it’s important to ask yourself if you really need a thermal label printer.

To answer this question, we need to understand what a thermal printer is all about.

As you can tell from its name, this printer utilizes thermal technology to print labels, unlike the traditional models which rely on the ink & toner.

The biggest advantage of using the thermal printing technology is that it cuts down the overall maintenance and operation costs of the printer by quite significant value.

Need A Quick Decision? Here's My Top 5 Best Thermal Label Printer Picks:

Another reason why you need a thermal printer is the fact that it has excellent output efficiency. It produces higher-quality, clearer, and long-lasting prints than the impact printer.

Speed is vital in any businesses. And a thermal printer can print your labels at a much faster rate compared to other types of printers—providing you with quality labels as fast as you need them.

These are some of the key benefits a thermal printer has over the regular printers.

If you run a business, whether small and large, you’ll doubtlessly find yourself in need of labels. And I recommend you to get yourself the best label printer today and taste the difference it brings to your business.

At your home or office, you’ll also need a label maker to produce shelf markers, bottle markers, filing folder markers, etc.

Our 10 Best Thermal Printer Reviews:

1. ROLLO Label Printer – Commercial Grade Direct Thermal High Speed Printer

ROLLO Label Printer is a commercial grade printer ideal for all folks who find themselves with bigger printing workloads every day. Whether you want to print 5 or 5,000 labels a day, this unit will provide you with crystal-clear and long-lasting labels at a faster speed.

One thing we can all agree on is that Rollo is one of the most flexible thermal printers you can find on the market today. This is due to the fact that it works with al direct printing label of any size, including the ones offered by UPS and Uline—giving you the best thermal printing experience.

In addition to that, it is compatible with all the shipping platforms, including Stamps.com, Ordoro, Endicia Dazzle, ShipWorks, ShipStation, to name but a few.

You never have to doubt the quality of prints produced by this machine as they meet the quality standards of USPS, DHL, UPS, Fedex, and all the other top couriers.

With a printing speed of 150mm/s, which is twice the speed of the closest rival, this machine will become your buddy when working on bigger workloads with limited time. To make things even easier, the printer features an automatic label identification that automatically detects the size and properties of your label for faster, hassle-free label loading.

On top of all this, it features a rugged, modern, portable design for long-lasting service.

Rollo high-speed printer is a great shipping label printer. You can also use it for FBA labels, barcode, warehouse labels, bulk mailing labels, identification labels, etc.

Highlighted Features:

  • Can work with all direct thermal labels
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    Experience high-speed label printing
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    Compatible with all top shipping platforms
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    Compatible with both Mac and Windows
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    Easy to set up and operate
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    Wide-format label maker

2. Epson TM-T20II Direct Thermal Printer

If you’re looking for the best thermal printer for receipts, consider this Epson TM-T20II Direct Thermal Printer. As you already know, Epson is one of the world’s biggest and most reputable manufacturer of printers and related equipment. All their products exhibit high reliability and dependability.

Taking a closer look at this receipt printer, you’ll be pleased to note that it works well with all the leading mobile operating systems- including the Android, iOS, and Windows.

This makes a highly flexible unit that you can use to transmit your files to most devices. In addition to that, it boasts of USB connectivity to further enhance ease of transferring data from your computer.

The printer has an above average printing speed of 200mm/second. Apparently, this is the right speed for all small retailers out there who wish to print receipts for their business.
The highly reliable Epson product is also extremely easy to setup and operate. It has a dual interface as well as print options that significantly reduce paper usage by to 30%.

For all your small business receipt printing needs, Epson TM-T20II Direct Thermal Printer is your go-to choice.

Highlighted Features:

  • Thermal line printing technology
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    USB+serial connectivity
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    Ideal for printing receipts
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    200mm/second printing speed

3. DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo Thermal Label Printer

DYMO is also a respected name in the thermal printing industry. It has been consistently producing top-rated products that deliver professional results with less effort. One such product is the DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo Thermal Label Printer—one of the fastest and most reliable units you can find at a fair price on the market.

The LabelWriter 450 Turbo comes ready to handle all your labeling and filling needs. It’s capable of printing 4-line address labels at an impressive sped of up to 71 labels in a single minute, saving you a lot of time.

It can connect directly to your PC or Mac, making it possible and easy for you to print your own customized labels, barcodes, graphics, etc. What’s more, it also allows you to print directly from popular programs such as Mac Address Book and Microsoft Word.

Because this machine makes use of thermal printing technology, you’ll also enjoy reduced cost of maintenance and operation as you’ll not need to replace ink cartridges anymore.

Overall, DYMO Label Writer 450 Turbo is the perfect pick for anyone who wants to get the highest-quality customized label prints easily, with less effort and quickly.

Highlighted Features:

  • Creates up to 71 labels per minute
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    Ability to print USPS-approved postage
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    Thermal printing technology minimizes maintenance cost
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    Can connect to your PC or Mac
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    Prints precise quantities without any difficulties

4. DYMO LabelWriter 4XL Thermal Label Printer

For those hunting for the shipping label printer, this is your part. DYMO LabelWriter 4XL prints shipping labels as big as 4.1-inch x 6.275-inch shipping labels. Besides, it can print other types of labels measuring up to 4.16 inches wide with great and long-lasting quality.

Just like its cousin above, DYMO LabelWriter 4XL is also about incredible versatility. It is compatible with both Mac and PC. It allows you to directly print your customized labels from most popular programs—like the QuickBooks, Ms Office, Mac Address Book, etc.

As if that’s not enough, it lets you print shipping labels directly from major selling platforms like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc.

If you often handle bigger printing workloads, you’ll find this machine a true buddy. It boasts of an incredibly high speed of 29 labels-per-minute (per four-row label), enabling you to finish your workload in the shortest time possible.

Regarding quality, the unit has a fantastic resolution of 300 dpi resolution. This means it’ll provide you with prints that are 100% legible, crystal-clear, and long-lasting.

For the best shipping label printing experience, you can’t go wrong with DYMO LabelWriter 4XL!

Highlighted Features:

  • Can print extra-large shipping labels
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    Choose from 60plus professional label templates
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    Compatible with Ms Office, QuickBooks, etc.
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    Can print labels directly from online selling platforms
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    Creates USPS-approved DYMO Stamps from your desktop

5. Epson ReadyPrint T20 Direct Thermal Printer

We’re halfway our list of the best printer for labels. In this spot, we’ll feature another Epson product that goes by the name ReadyPrint T20 Direct Thermal Printer. Also designed for receipt printing, this machine perfectly combines high quality and reliability to make it the perfect choice for any retail setup.

The unit prints your labels with a dependable printing speed of 150mm per second. Though this might sound slightly lower than what we found in the previous Epson, it’s still an acceptable rate for a retail or small business model.

Since this printer also works with all the operating systems, you’ll not have any issues transmitting data from your computer to it for printing. It’s extremely easy to setup and maintain.

It comes with a built-in Ac adapter, interface cable, AC adaptor, and wall handgun brackets—all of which make it a complete POS solution for every retail store, right outside the box.

Highlighted Features:

  • Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 5.8 inches
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    Thermal line printing technology
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    150mm per second printing speed
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    Simple to set up, maintain, and operate

6. MUNBYN Mobile Thermal Receipt Printer 

MUNBYN Mobile Thermal Receipt Printer fits the best definition of a thermal label printer that you can easily carry around and use to print your labels anywhere, anytime. Like the Epson model we’ve previously discussed, this small and portable printer is also ideal for printing receipts.

One of the biggest advantages of using this printer is the fact that it provides you with multiple connectivity options. These include Bluetooth, USB, and RS-232 connections. This makes it extremely easy for you to connect it to your mobile device and directly print your receipts.

It comes with slightly less speed than the Epson receipt printers of 90mm/sec. Nevertheless, this speed will meet the expectations of anyone who have a home business with less printing workload. The fact that the machine is 100% compatible with the Loyverse POS software for Android system makes it an even more suitable unit for printing order receipts for home businesses.

Another interesting fact about this printer is its large paper storehouse. It can hold up to 46MM (diameter), eliminating the need to keep replacing the paper frequently as it’s the case with other models.

Don’t forget the printer comes with a rechargeable 1500mAh lithium-ion battery that can serve you for 5-6 straight days. The included leather belt allows you to hang this compact printer around your waist for easy carry.

MUNBYN Mobile Thermal Receipt Printer is undeniably the best printer for those who want a model that they can carry everywhere they go, including outdoors.

Highlighted Features:

  • Thermal line printing technology
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    90 mm/sec printing speed
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    203DPI (8dot/mm) printing resolution
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    Rechargeable 1500mAh lithium ion battery
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    Bluetooth, USB, and RS-232 connections
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    Small and portable design

7. DYMO LabelWriter 450 Thermal Label Printer

DYMO makes a comeback on our list of top thermal printer reviews. This particular unit is ideal for people who wish to equip their offices with a professional-grade label maker that effectively handles all their filing, labelling, and mailing needs.

Like all the other models appearing on this list, this model is designed to save you time as well as money with thermal printing technology.

It allows you to connect it to either PC or Mac and print customized labels, addresses, barcodes, graphics, and so on. Similar to the other DYMO printers, it also lets you directly print from the popular programs such as Mac Address Book and Microsoft Windows.

With a speed of 51 labels per minute, this printer will help you quickly print a load of labels in a short period of time. It comes with easy to load label rolls that eliminate the frustration associated with manually feeding of the label sheets.

The best part is that this printer comes at a budget-friendly cost (lower than the other DYMOs) so that anyone on a budget can afford it.

Highlighted Features:

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    Prints precise quality quantities effortlessly
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    Customize your labels with DYMO Label software
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    Print labels directly from Ms Office, QuickBooks, Outlook, etc.
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    Prints crystal-clear graphics and barcodes-600 x 300 dpi resolution
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    Compatible with Windows and Mac

8. HILLPOW 58MM USB Thermal Receipt Printer

HILLPOW 58MM USB Thermal Receipt Printer comes with a beautiful design that will make a center of attraction in your office. But the unit has a lot more to offer than just good looks. It incorporated thermal printing technology which enables it to create quality prints quickly and easily.

The printer is ideal for printing bills, receipts, and even tickets. It supports Windows 7/ 8/ 9X/ 10/ 2000/ 2003 /XP, making it possible for you to directly print labels from your computer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support Mac and mobile phone operating systems.

It works on the labels with a high speed of up to 90mm per second, which is pretty good for most retails.

Build with a truly compact size, this printer is also a space saver. In addition to smaller size, it has a lightweight feel that makes portable and easy to carry to any place.

Additional features that you’ll love in this printer include easy installation instructions, easy maintenance and paper roll installation, and low noise operation.

On top of all this, the manufacturer offers you excellent customer support, making it easy for you to reach out to them for help whenever you encounter issues with your printer.

Highlighted Features:

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    Compatible with most of the POS systems
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    Works with all versions of Windows
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    Compact size; space saving design
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    Easy to install and use
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    Excellent customer support and service
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    Ideal for bill, receipt, ticket printing

9. Zebra GK420d Monochrome Desktop Direct Thermal Label Printer

Zebra GK420d Monochrome is the perfect choice for those looking for the best desktop direct thermal printer. The desktop comes with a slightly higher price than most of the printers we’ve featured in this post, which is quite understandable given its unique list of features.

The first feature that puts the printer on the map is its crazily high printing speed. It will print your labels at a speed of 5 inches per second. Without a single doubt, this is the best speed you’d want in a printer if you usually have huge label printing workload.

Another feature that makes this unit worth every penny is the printing quality. It prints your labels with a resolution as good as 203 dots per inch. This translates to crystal-clear prints and high-quality graphics and barcodes that won’t fade easily.

Since it comes with serial, parallel, and USB devices, connecting it to your computer won’t be a problem. And thanks to its open access design, loading media will also be easy and fast.

Additional features that put this printer in its own class include: auto-detectable power adapter, automatic detecting of installed media, and a reflective sensor for ensuring accurate label printing.

This Zebra thermal printer is ideal for producing labels, receipts, price tags, and any other media that measures up to 4.09 inches wide.

Highlighted Features:

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    5 inches per sec printing speed
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    203 dpi print resolution
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    4.09 inches print width
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    32-bit processor printer
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    Direct thermal printing technology

10. Brother QL-1100 Wide Format, Postage and Barcode Professional Thermal Label Printer

Brother QL-1100 Thermal Label Printer is the last product in our list. This is the best barcode printer you can find on the market today. Also priced within an affordable range, the printer provides you with professional looking barcodes, postage, mailing, address labels, etc.

So, why should you consider buying this model? First, it will print your labels at an incredibly high speed of up to 69 labels per minute. Additionally, it prints the labels with an excellent resolution of 300 dots per inch for the ultimate clarity.

As a highly versatile printer, this Brother model has USB host feature that allows you to use it with peripheral devices such as the scanner.

Thanks to the “Plug & Label” feature, you don’t need to install any software to connect this device with Windows. This makes printing of the most basic labels becomes even easier and faster.

The automatic cutter function will allow you to easily print product as well as other barcode labels from the A4/letter size sheet templates.

Keep in mind that this is 100% genuine Brother product and pairing it with non-genuine Brother supplies might damage it. It comes backed by a 3-year warranty which shows the manufacturer’s confidence in their product.

Highlighted Features:

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    Prints on wide format labels (up to 4-in width)
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    Automatic crop function
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    USB host interface
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    Prints up to 69 labels per minute
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    Plug & label feature for quick label printing

Things To Look For Before You Buy a thermal printer

The market has all types of thermal printers. All of them bear the label ‘best thermal printer’ and promise you the same benefits.

If you’re not watchful, you can easily make mistakes during your shopping process and end up with a printer that serves you with regrets and disappointments.

Below, we’ll look at the key things to look for before buying a thermal printer to ensure you take home something that resonates with your personal printing needs and preferences.

Define your printing needs

The best label printer for you should be able to meet your daily label printing needs.

Before you decide on any printer, it’s important that you have a clear picture of how many labels you require to work on per day.

If the number of low, then you can look for an entry-level model as it’ll meet your printing needs.

 For businesses that do mass labels production every new day, you’d want to look for a commercial grade printer with higher printing speeds and automated features to quicken the printing process.

Printing resolution

PRINTING RESOLUTION

You’d also want to ensure that the thermal printer you’re buying produces high-quality prints that are crystal-clear and legible.

The printing quality of a thermal printer is sadly measured in dpi (dots per inch). That said, the average resolution for most thermal printers fall around 200dpi—this is sufficient for producing quality and durable barcodes and other larger text on the labels.

However, note that the higher-end machines are capable of providing you with even higher resolution of up to 300 or 600 dpi.

If you’ve got a bigger budget, you might consider spending on these models as they’ll give you the highest-quality prints.

Connectivity is also important

Another important feature to look for in label printer is its connectivity capabilities.

As you might have noted from our list of label printer reviews above, most of the models come with the standard USB connectivity to help you easily transfer data from a computer.

Some models are compatible with both PC and Mac, while others support either of them.

In some rare cases, you can also come across a printer that supports wireless transfer of data between various devices, including smartphones and computers.

The more connectivity options a printer has, the more versatile and convenient it becomes to you.

Warranty & Customer Support

A label printer is doubtlessly a valuable investment, whether small or big.

 With this in mind, you should also consider checking if the printer you’re planning to buy has a manufacturer warranty.

This will ensure that you’ll always know what to do when your printer begins to malfunction.

Besides, a warranty acts as the product quality assurance.

While still on it, you might consider good customer support as a plus when choosing a printer. This will ensure you can easily contact the support staff for instant help when you have issues with your label printer.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How should I clean my thermal label printer?

As part of the routine maintenance of a label printer involves giving it a thorough clean. This will help prolong its lifespan, improve its efficiency, and save you money.

Check the following video on how to clean your printer properly

2. How does a thermal label printer work?

The printer utilizes thermal printing technology to produce labels. This technology can be classified into two—thermal transfer and direct thermal printing.

As you might have noted from our list of the best thermal label printer reviews, most of them use the direct thermal technology. This involves using a chemically treated material that darkens when the print head applies heat to it.

Thermal transfer, on the other hand, is where the thermal print head applies heat to resin-based ribbon or wax, which is then melted to the surface of the label.

Both technologies have pros and cons. And the best one to choose mainly depends on the nature of your application.

Final Verdict

Lucky are the many businesses operating in this era of thermal label printers. Unlike the regular printers, these models have a faster printing speed and require extremely little maintenance and operational cost.

TO get best thermal label printer that meets your specific needs, however, you’ll need to find your way through the countless models on the market.

Our buying guide will assist you by pointing out to you the key aspects to look for when making a selection.

Alternatively, you can grab a thermal label printer from our list of the 10 carefully analyzed models to save you time and hassle.

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