Once you’re aware of the different printing technologies and the pros and cons each one offers, here are some helpful tips for identifying which tabletop label printer fits your application needs.
If you’re unsure which print technology is right for you, you can find more detailed information on that here.
I understand the different printing technologies and their pros & cons, now how do I buy a tabletop label printer that fits my needs?
Now that you’re aware of the three key technologies available in a desktop format for printing color labels, how do you go about selecting the right printing technology and model for your unique application?
Start by looking at your product:
Consider its container size(s) and your favorite look and colors. Do you prefer your labels to have a shiny, glossy look, or perhaps a semi-gloss or a matte look is more appropriate? Will printing colors on white label substrate do the job, or does your product require you to print on clear or colored substrates of different textures? Nobody else knows your product or your branding requirements like you do, so only you can make that decision. This will ultimately help you arrive at the necessary label sizes that you’ll need and the vital elements of your label artwork.
Decide on your product packaging, transportation, and storage through its journey from the manufacturing location to the end-consumer:
Are there any special environmental conditions to consider? For example, does your product need refrigeration requiring labels that must withstand water droplets due to condensation? Will the product labels need to withstand prolonged exposure to moisture or sunlight? Do the labels need to withstand exposure to certain chemicals that perhaps make up part of your product? In addition to helping you select the right printing technology, these choices may influence your material preference and the adhesive backing.
Estimate Print Volumes:
Based on the sales forecast of all your SKUs, estimate your daily, weekly, or monthly print volumes by label size. Also, consider what a typical print run would be like. For example, let’s say you print 1000 labels of 4×3 in four separate print jobs on almost a daily basis. That is useful information.
Consider Variable Data:
Do you need your tabletop color label printer to print variable data information on your labels, i.e., serial numbers, dates, lot codes, etc.? If so, you’ll want your vendor to provide labeling software that’ll help you meet these specific requirements.
How will you be applying labels?
Will you be applying labels to your product(s) by hand, or by using an automatic label applicator? Which is the most efficient option for your labeling and production needs?
Once you’ve given the above questions a thought, you’re ready to shop around for an appropriate label printer as an educated buyer. Some tips as you browse websites for printer specifications and contact label printer manufacturers or distributors:
Do they carry printers based on a single technology or different technologies?
Printer manufacturers/distributors who only carry one printing technology are more likely to push for their technology/product than look out for your needs.
Do they offer a total solution, for instance, label material supplies, software, and technical support along with the printers and ink?
If they do, they are more likely to ensure that the right printer is selected for your needs, and is functional so they can earn revenues from inks and materials. Like document printers, label printers are a very competitive segment, and hardware sales are typically made at very thin margins. By ensuring the printers, the inks, and the labels are engineered and tested for compatibility will ensure a longer lifetime of your investment.
Do they offer free remote web-based support?
Think of your label printer as a production machine that will invariably require some periodic maintenance and upkeep. Search for available support videos on the company’s website or YouTube channel, or sometimes it may be easier to call, email, chat, or have a live web-based conference call. Do they offer the kind of support you’re looking for?
Does the printer company provide labeling software as well?
If you have any special or unique software requirements now or in the future, consider how much easier it’ll be for you to deal with a single vendor to ensure software and hardware are compatible.
Questions? Let us know, we’re here to help!
At AstroNova, we offer a total labeling solution. We provide the tools you need to integrate production efficiencies into your business and keep up with industry demands from a wide variety of label printers, materials, technical support, training, and a library of support videos. Contact us to schedule a free, web-based demonstration and to speak with one of our specialists!