Choosing a Barcode Printer

Posted by PointOfSale POS on

How to Choose a Barcode Printer

With so many options available, finding the right barcode label printer for your business can be a challenge. Defining how you will be using the printer, and understanding the different barcode printing technologies available is your first step in making an informed decision.

  • Why type and size of barcodes do you want to print?
  • Where will you be sticking them?
  • How frequently will you be printing?
  • How long do you want them to last?

The two main types of printing technology used in barcode printing, direct thermal, and thermal transfer.

  • Direct Thermal
    • Direct Thermal printers apply heat to a special label to activate the ink, producing the image on the label. The ink is usually black, but a second color is possible. Durable printers, not requiring ink, or ribbons, this is a cost-effective method of printing. However, creating labels with only heat has a down-side, exposure to sunlight, high heat or humidity can make your labels illegible. While this is not an issue for most businesses, it is a consideration if you need your labels to last in non-standard conditions.
  • Thermal Transfer
    • Thermal Transfer printers apply heat to a printer ribbon that is coated in wax or resin (or both), which melts the coating, transferring the image to the label. Thermal Transfer printers can print in a variety of colors, onto a variety of materials, including polyester and polypropylene. While Thermal Transfer printers are significantly more expensive than Direct Thermal, the barcodes can withstand extreme temperatures and last up to 20 years in average warehouse conditions.

Now that you have a better understanding of the printing methods available, there are several other factors to consider:

  • Print Resolution
    • Barcodes need to be clear so that the barcode scanner can relay the information to the computer to be read. Print resolution is the number of dots per inch (dpi) the printer is able to produce. The higher the resolution, the clearer the barcode. Typically barcode printers have a resolution of either 203 dpi or 300 dpi. 203 dpi is typically adequate for standard size barcode labels, but if you need to print small labels, or high density 2D barcodes, you may want to consider a higher resolution printer.
  • Label (Media) Size
    • Different printers handle different label sizes. The printing width is the maximum width range that a barcode printer can print. A printer with a large width can print smaller labels, but obviously a small width printer can not print larger labels.
  • Connectivity
    • How do you expect your barcode printer to communicate with your computer? Barcode printers generally have USB, parallel, serial, and Ethernet port, but not all in the same models. If you require printing via a specific interface, ensure your model has what is required.


Get Expert Advice

With so many options available, it may seem hard to choose the best one for your business, and for your budget. has the expertise and experience to help you choose the barcode printer that will bring you the most return on investment. is committed to supporting your POS system needs. We take care of your POS, so you can take care of your customers.

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