Label Printers Information

Label Printers  Label Printers 

Image Credit: Acme Scale Systems | New Pig Corporation


Label printers are used to print labels or adhesive stamps. Most label printers are capable of printing bar codes.


Performance Specifications

Printing width, printing rate, resolution, colors, and interface are important performance specifications to consider.


  • Printing or marking width is the width of the characters produced by the label printer.
  • Printing rate is the linear rate at which ink jet printers and other marking equipment can perform.
  • Printer resolution is the number of dots per square inch (dpi) a printer can output. Generally, label printers with a higher dpi have a higher resolution.
  • Some label printers can output multiple colors.
  • Others feature a serial, digital, network, or fieldbus interface.
  • Maximum paper length, maximum paper width, and maximum paper thickness are additional considerations when selecting label printers.
  • In terms of media handling, label printers can print on general-purpose paper, single sheets, fan-fold or continuous stock, webs or rolls, glass or ceramics, metals, plastics, semiconductors or electronics, textiles or composites, wood or corrugated paper, or irregular surfaces.  

Types of Label Printers

There are many different types of label printers.


  • Daisy-wheel printers use a small wheel with a single pin for each character. The wheel is rotated to the correct pin when marking each character on a page.
  • Direct thermal printers output sharp, clear text and graphics. They use heat to set images on non-curling, smudge-proof, heavy-stock thermal paper.
  • Dot matrix printers produce characters and illustrations by striking pins against an ink ribbon to print closely-spaced dots in the appropriate shape. Dot matrix printers can print multi-page forms (carbon copies).
  • Ink jet printers spray ink droplets through a nozzle onto the page. There are two basic types of ink jet printers: thermal and piezo.
  • Laser label printers use a laser beam to produce an image on a drum. The light of the laser alters the electrical charge on the drum, and the drum is then rolled through a reservoir of toner. In turn, the toner is picked up by the charged portions of the drum. Finally, the toner is transferred to the paper through a combination of heat and pressure.   


Label printers use a variety of technologies.


  • LED printers and LCD printers are similar to a laser printers, but uses light-emitting diodes (LED) or liquid crystal displays (LCD) to produce an image on the drum.
  • Letterpress printers are simple printing presses that use a die with raised type to press text onto the page.
  • Line printers contain a chain of characters or pins that print an entire line at one time.
  • Flexographic printers are often used to print on plastic, paper or cardboard.
  • Hot stamping machines use heat and pressure to apply an image onto a surface from a film that carries a thin leaf of color.
  • Offset printers use a rubber cylinder to transfer an inked image from a printing plate to paper or other media.
  • Pad printers use silicone pads to print on contoured or difficult plastic surfaces. They are used for relatively small images, text and graphics.
  • Plotters use a pen to produce line art and images on paper or other media.
  • Rotary presses are similar to letterpresses, but place the raised type on a roller instead of a flat die.
  • Rotogravure printers use photography to produce the plate used for printing.
  • Screen printers transfers an image onto a mesh screen by blocking out the surrounding area or areas.
  • Thermal transfer label printers use heat and pressure to transfer resin-based ink from tiny ribbons directly onto the paper. 




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