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Label Printers: Laser and Thermal Barcode Printers

Label Printers: Laser and Thermal Barcode Printers

Types of Barcode Label Printers

Label printers enable you to generate barcodes and print them on to paper or plastic labels. The wide range of barcode label printers on the market can be used in a variety of different applications from CD cases to the backs of books - in fact virtually anything.

Many label printing kits include everything you need to print barcodes and have standard features such as direct thermal and thermal transfer printing options, which enable you to peel and tear off the barcodes as you go.


The cheapest way to print labels is the direct thermal method of printing, which requires the use of only one label roll. The image of the barcode is burnt directly on to the labels. The more expensive option, and the method that produces the best-quality printed barcodes, requires two different rolls. One roll of film has the image burnt into it first, and the film is then pressed on to the roll of labels. This method is ideal for CD and DVD labelling.

Advantages of barcode label printers

Although it is possible to print barcodes on normal laser printers there are a number of disadvantages and the results are often sub-standard. If you print with a normal laser printer you have to print a whole sheet at a time, while with a desktop label printer you can print as many or as few as you wish, saving you time and money.

Barcode printers are able to print at much higher speeds and in retail and logistics applications this is a clear advantage. Barcodes that have been printed on thermal transfer printers are of a much higher quality and are generally much more robust. They also have a better scan rate and can be read more efficiently.

Some popular barcode label printers

There are currently a wide variety of color printers available on the market and models to suit every possible application, whether you're printing at your desk from your computer or you require something sturdier for an industrial environment.

The Citizen CLP521, which is a direct thermal label printer, is an example of a high-performance color printer ideal as an entry-level option, whereas the Zebra Z4Mplus is good for printing large volumes of labels.

These two examples are only a few in a marketplace that also includes Sato, WASP Barcode Technology, Intermec, Datamax and Birch, to name but a few.