Choosing the best desktop barcode printer (thermal transfer or direct transfer) for your business is an important decision. This will affect operational effectiveness and efficiency for years to come. Having the right printer will improve your process and the productivity of your team. Carefully consider your needs and the specific application before beginning the selection process. The questions given below area must ask if you are looking for a quality printer.
- How are barcode labels used?
- Where is the printer located exactly?
- What environmental factors (extreme temperatures, vibrations, humidity, chemicals/fumes) are the printer exposed to?
- What will the duty cycle (print volume) be?
- Is speed an important requirement? If so, what is the speed?
- What are the dimensions of a printed poster?
- Will the label specifications change? How many times?
- Is your brand exposed to unique environmental challenges (temperature, friction/abrasion, moisture, chemicals)?
- Will the printer be connected to a network or a stand-alone terminal?
- What is your current budget for printers?
Here are some important factors to consider:
Some desktop barcode printers are specifically designed for harsh industrial environments. These units have sealed cabinets/lids to prevent debris and dust from interfering with proper operation. This type of “durable” printer might be a smart choice for some industrial and commercial applications. They perform exceptionally well in tough industrial environments.
Daily Print Volume
Some high-performance printers are designed to run continuously. This includes peak cycles and 24-hour non-stop cycles. However, other printers are good for intermittent low volume use. Also consider the print speed (see below). Definitely necessary to meet the printing volume requirements.
Average Print Speed
Print speed is very important if you use a large number of labels per day or during regular peak cycles. It is important to note that printing speed is not only related to printing time but also to label data processing/formatting time. This time is required to convert the input data into actual label images. Complex label designs may require advanced printers that can quickly format these labels to avoid slowing down printing.
Over time, your typing speed will have a huge impact on your productivity and efficiency. Paying more for speed may pay off in the long run. Barcode printers are an important part of any barcode system. Choosing the right desktop barcode printer will keep your system working reliably and efficiently. Using the wrong printer can be slow, inefficient, and frustrating.
Some applications may require a higher print resolution (dpi). For example, reading barcodes and text on small labels requires higher resolution. Labels used in the medical, electronic, and pharmaceutical industries often fall into this category. As you can imagine, unread labels can have serious consequences. The higher the resolution, the more clear and detailed information can be printed without affecting the readability of the barcode scanner.
Determining the width of the printed label is another important consideration. If you need to print widescreen labels, you need a widescreen label printer with a print width of at least 6 inches. Labels such as shipping labels, complex bills, or bulk or cylinder labels may fall into this category. Also, identify any future applications and consider label size issues.
Printer Function Option
Unique features and desktop barcode printer options can also influence your decision-making process. Options allow you to operate your printer more efficiently and cost-effectively. These options can help increase the ROI of your printer investment. Examples of useful feature options are:
Special printing modes for cutting, peeling, slicing and rewinding
- Clock function to print time, date, etc.
- An alert or a counter informing the operator when to replace the print head or perform preventive or maintenance service.
- Memory options such as flash memory and dynamic memory that are easily upgradeable.
- Font options for international characters and other special font combinations
- Wired Or Wireless Options
The factors discussed in this article provide a solid foundation for your selection process. The bottom line is that you need to carefully analyze your processes and your barcode printing needs. You can specify additional criteria that must be included.
Also, keep in mind that a high-quality desktop barcode printer may require additional capital investment initially. However, the long-term return on investment in increased productivity and efficiency can more than justify the additional costs.