Printing shipping labels can be a time-consuming and tedious task. On top of that, the wrong printer can lead to printing errors, wasted ink and paper, and other problems. To save you from all of this stress, we put together a list of the 4 best shipping label printers!

Here’s a quick guide to some great printers that will handle what you need – even the toughest of jobs. They will produce high-quality prints and you won’t have to worry about the cost of wasted ink or paper.

Why is your printer so important?

As a requirement for any item being shipped, information on your shipping labels must be clear and legible. The Sender and Receiver address must be precise so that the package can arrive at the right place. Barcodes should also be clear to ensure that your parcel can be accurately and efficiently tracked. In fact, unscannable barcodes on parcels will often mean the courier cannot complete the collection. Read more about how to properly package your items.

To minimise the risk of your parcels being undeliverable, we recommend investing in a top-quality shipping label printer. Your business deserves it!

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What to consider when choosing a shipping label printer?

  • Is label printing a one-time or continuing need? Is it necessary to print labels on a regular basis? How often will you be printing labels for the business? This will determine the importance of the print speed of the printer. How many labels per second/minute/hour are you expecting to print? For high volume shippers, this will be crucial.
  • Will you be printing individual labels, or printing in large batches? Smaller printers can only hold rolls of less than 400, where larger printers can accommodate much larger rolls of up to 1000 labels.
  • What size are your tags/labIs label printing a one-time or continuing need? New Zealand Couriers use New Zealand standard 100 x 175mm and 110 x 120mm label sizes.
  • What operating system (OS) does your business use? Windows or Mac? OS can determine the printer performance so make sure you assess your operating system before deciding on a printer.
  • What sort of maintenance is required? With any long-term machine, maintenance is necessary. You will need to factor this into your ongoing costs.
  • Where will the printer be located? Do you need a printer that’s portable or will it be stationary? If printers are going to be transported, is the weight a relevant factor? If portability isn’t a factor, your options are wider.
  • Image size/resolution – does it need to have a high or low image output? High resolution means that printers can print in better quality. Low resolution means printers can print simple labels without any hassle.
  • What is your budget? One final thing to keep in mind before committing yourself to a printer is how much it costs per label and the overall price of the printer.

Note that all printers suggested in this article are network printers or USB printers, making it easier than ever to set up a new office system with ease! Not being able to print labels can bring your business to its knees. A high-quality printer is a wise investment to mitigate this risk and to prepare yourself for growing volumes.

Difference between a Laser Printer and a Thermal Printer

A laser printer works by using a high-powered beam of light that is directed at the surface being printed on. Laser printers are an expensive option because they have a complicated way of functioning internally.

A thermal printer uses heat to produce images on paper or tags in a variety of ways.

Why are thermal label printers best for printing labels?

Thermal printers are more affordable than laser printers which are why they are preferred in the market today for small businesses and home offices. While thermal printers can be bulky, they still produce high-quality prints that will last long after you’ve printed them! Additionally, they are quieter, and on average print faster than a laser printer.

Example of a thermal printer

Best compact printer for low – mid intensity printing

Best compact printer for low - mid intensity printing Honeywell PC42d

Honeywell PC42d

The Honeywell PC42d is a small and nimble printer. It is a cost-effective, high-performance labelling machine for small to medium businesses looking to increase productivity in labelling activities. The simple paper loading design and media auto-centering functionality make the Honeywell PC42d printer very easy to use.

The Honeywell PC42d printer comes with both USB and Ethernet ports on one device. Since it can operate with both Mac and Windows systems, it’s perfect for any firm that may need to make operating system upgrades or changes in the future.

The PC42d desktop printer outperforms the competition as an affordable, trustworthy desktop printer.

  • Print Speed: 200mm/s
  • Print Resolution: 203 dpi
  • Operating System: Windows and Mac
  • Best for: Office or small DC based-production environments

Best printers for bulk labelling

Best printers for bulk labelling
Honeywell PM45d or 45c

Honeywell PM45d or 45c

Today’s businesses confront rising challenges in terms of manufacturing flexibility, inventory turnover, and cost management. The Honeywell PM45 industrial printer is a big and robust printer for intense industrial environments.

The PM45d or 45c printer supports variable network protocols and many print languages to allow for simple integration into your system, whether it’s on a local server or in the cloud.

  • Print Speed: 350mm/s
  • Print Resolution: 203 – 600 dpi
  • Operating System: Windows and Mac
  • Best for: High-production efficiency and supply chain transparency in food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, warehouse, and distribution centre operations.

Best alternatives

Datamax E-Class MK III

Datamax E-Class MK III (soon to be discontinued by manufacturer)

The E-Class Mark III is a family of small desktop thermal printers designed for a wide range of industries and applications that need a dependable and cost-effective barcode printer. Datamax E-Class MK III is an entry-level printer with the functions and dependability typically found in more costly machines.

This printer is easy to use and has many great features.

Both the Datamax E-Class MK III 4205a and Datamax E-Class MK III 4204b are robust options that fit almost all offices that operate under Windows, at a good price point.

The Datamax E-Class MK III 4204b can print via USB, whereas the Datamax E-Class MK III 4205a is network compatible and costs roughly an additional $100 NZD.

  • Print Speed: 152 mm/s
  • Print Resolution: 203 -300 dpi (dots per minute)
  • Operating System: Windows
Best alternative printing label Zebra ZD220D

Zebra ZD220D

The Zebra ZD220D is a medium-cost direct thermal label printer. The design allows you to quickly load labels and clean the label path, making it easier to maintain and clean. Although it prints slower than more expensive models, 102mm per second is still a sufficiently fast print speed for most use cases.

The only connection available on this model is USB, and there are no WiFi, network, or serial options. No user-installable options are available for this printer. The user-replaceable printhead and platen roller are excellent features.

Ideal for Mac users, the Zebra ZD220D is a low-cost option that is very simple to set up.

  • Print Speed: 102mm/s
  • Print Resolution: 203 dpi
  • Operating System: Mac

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Don’t have any of these printers?

These printers are the models officially supported and supplied by New Zealand Couriers labelling applications. If you have a printer you wish to use which is not on this list, it unfortunately will not be compatible with our labelling applications.

If you already have any of these printers listed or are looking to source one, great! Use our guiding questions above to help you analyse what’s right for you. For more information, contact your Account Manager or get in touch with us today.