Thermal Printer Review: Which One Should I Get? (May 2017)

Thermal Printer 

Have you been looking for that perfect printer that can print either shipping labels or receipts with low upkeep costs?

If that is true of you, you’re missing out if thermal printers aren’t on your list of receipt printers and shipping label printers to research. Here at Startups Genius we understand what it’s like to have a small business that requires printing of shipping labels and receipts at a significant volume. Inkjet and laser printers print quality labels, but they aren’t ideal for churning out a ton of labels at a time. Not only that, but high printing volume means that you’ll be going through ink and toner faster than your wallet would allow.

This understanding has brought us to the conclusion that thermal printers are the prime solution to most label printing needs. As we realized this, it became apparent that for some reason there isn’t a lot of easily-accessible information about thermal printers online. Most of the top results for a search for ‘thermal printer’ search on Google are marketplaces, which is completely fine! However, we value comprehensive review guides that help us to know which product suits our needs best and know you do, too. So we went ahead and put together a concise guide to the best of the best when it comes to thermal printers that can put out either shipping labels or receipts.

What Are Thermal Printers?

A thermal printer is a unique device that many people aren’t aware of. Unlike your standard inkjet or laser printer which uses ink or toner, a thermal printer uses heat to produce an image on paper. Thermal printers push pins heated by electricity against heat-sensitive paper to generate an image. Most of the best thermal printers can print at a faster rate than laser and inkjet printers. The printing head of a thermal printer creates images in milliseconds which enables faster printing and labeling for shipping and customer receipts. Considering the fact that thermal printers are inkless, they produce images without the use of ribbons and cartridges which reduces the cost of printing compared to laser printers. The only consumable needed for thermal printing is the paper used, this will help you save money on supplies. Thermal printers also contain very few moving parts compared to laser printers. Repairs and service required will be less which will beat down the cost of maintenance of thermal printers. Thermal printers are known to produce higher quality and more durable images than laser printers and other types of printers. The images produced are very legible with no ink to smudge. These images are always clear, long-lasting with more resistance to oil, climate, UV rays, etc. compared to other types of printers. With all these features in mind, let’s dive into the guide. Here are the best thermal printers of 2017!


DYMO LabelWriter 4XL Thermal Label Printer
ROLLO Thermal Label Heavy-Duty Printer
Epson TM-T88V Thermal Receipt Printer
Zebra ZP 450 Thermal Label Printer

Label Printer

Label Printer

Receipt Printer

Label Printer

Pros: One of the most affordable; compact size; easy to set-up

Pros: Legendary customer support; easily syncs with major shipping services such as UPS and Shipstation; fast printing speeds

Pros: 4 year warranty; energy-saving features; fast print speed of 300mm/second

Pros: Prints up to 5inches/second; best printer for UPS labels; extremely compact

Cons: Not ideal for high volume label printing; proprietary label rolls can be expensive

Cons: Need label roller which costs extra to get perfect print every time; won't offer Mac support until early 2017

Cons: Software user experience could be improved

Cons: Not as much of a workhorse as other models; user manual lacks enough detail

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The Dymo LabelWriter 4XL can be used to print wider thermal labels than most office label printers without occupying too much desk space. It uses thermal printing technology without the need for expensive ink or toner.

The 4XL possesses one of the most capable and easy to use labeling software programs available. It has a high-speed, wide-format label maker, prints thermal labels up to 4.16" wide, which includes shipping labels, warehouse labels, barcode and ID labels, bulk mailing labels and more.

It can be used to create custom thermal printing labels from 60+ label styles and layouts. It prints sharp barcodes, text and graphics with resolution up to 300 dpi.

Individual mailing on Dymo LabelWriter 4XL could take about 3.1 seconds each. For a 50 label print job, it takes about 60 seconds, which is 50 labels per minute (lpm).  For a 4.16-by-6.275-inch shipping label, which is the size of the typical UPS label, the Dymo LabelWriter 4XL could be used to print a 20 label print job in 76 seconds which is 3.8 seconds each or 15.8 lpm for shipping label.

The Dymo LabelWriter 4XL is the best choice for printing a moderate number of shipping labels. Therefore, it is a great thermal printer choice if you have a small business. Click click HERE for more information about this shipping label printer.

Pros

  1. One of the most affordable thermal label printers on the market
  2. Compared to some of the other models, the software on the printer is very easy to get up and running
  3. It’s compact size is beneficial for those who limited space and/or limited to using a small desk for printing
  4. Prints labels up to 4.16 inches wide, making it ideal for printing standard 4x6 shipping labels

Cons

  1. The proprietary thermal printer labels can be very expensive. However, quality rolls manufactured by a third-party are available elsewhere
  2. Not ideal if you are looking at printing 1000+ labels a day

ROLLO Thermal Label Heavy-Duty Printer- Editor’s Choice for Shipping Label Printer

The ROLLO Thermal Label Heavy-Duty Printer will help you save money on the cost of labels due to the fact that it works with Thermal Direct Labels. This includes free UPS thermal labels. This will prevent you from having to spend a fortune on proprietary labels. So consider the ROLLO if you specifically need a UPS label printer.


The ROLLO Thermal Label Heavy-Duty Printer works at a very high printing speed of 150mm/s, which is almost twice as fast as its closest competitor. This thermal label printer is compatible with all major shipping platforms, including UPS, Fedex, USPS, ShipStation etc, and most marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, Etsy and others. It’s also compatible with the Windows operating service.

Honestly though, the best feature of this thermal printer might not even be the printer itself. The company that manufactures the ROLLO possesses a incredibly responsive,  U.S.-based customer service department that can be reached via either email, remote-desktop, and phone. So if you are having issues with your printer, which is bound to happen no matter what brand of thermal printer it is, you can be guaranteed to have your solution resolved in a timely and reliable manner. It’s easy to forget that when you pay for a product you’re also paying for the support.

Another great aspect of their customer support are the training videos they have provided. This makes learning the ropes of the thermal printer software simple and less time-consuming. 

Because of ROLLO customer service alone we are confident recommending this thermal printer. Click HERE to view more features of this device.

Pros

  1. Legendary customer support (do an online search for ROLLO customer support if you don’t take our word for it!)
  2. Prints at 150mm/second, which is 2x as fast as its average competitor
  3. Compatible with any kind of Thermal Direct Label; this means you will save hundreds of dollars each year because you won’t have to buy expensive proprietary labels
  4. Easily integrated with major shipping label services and marketplaces, including Fedex, UPS, and Shipstation, and Amazon and Ebay, etc.

Cons

  1. Without the label roll holder, which costs extra, the receipts and labels might not print perfectly every time
  2. Currently only offers Windows support; however Mac support should be rolled out in February 2017

Epson TM-T88V Thermal Receipt Printer - Editor’s Choice for Receipt Printer

This next one actually only prints receipts. You won’t be able to use it for shipping labels. But if you’re looking for a receipt printer workhouse, this Epson will blow your mind. That’s why we decided to include it here. The Epson TM-T88V Thermal Receipt Printer is a true breakthrough in the development of POS (point-of-sale) receipt printers. It is highly reliable and comes with new ease-of-use features such as a dual interface. 

Now here’s what makes this Epson a fantastic tool:

First, the Epson TM-T88V Thermal Receipt Printer has an impressive print speed of 300mm per second for both text and graphics.

Second, it has multiple grey scale printing which leads to a better representation of logos and graphic images. This could best be noticed with the paper reduction function which reduces cost and offers print options that reduce paper usage up to 30 percent.

Third, The Epson TM-T88V POS thermal printer is very system-interchangeable, considering the fact that it comes with a in-built USB which will make migration to USB in the future very easy.

Fourth, this device is also known to significantly reduce electricity usage, which will help save you energy and money.

Finally, the fact that it is a thermal printer ensures that you will save a significant amount of money by not having to buy ink and toner.

With all these things in mind, it is safe to say that the Epson would be a wise receipt printer purchase. Click HERE to view this device.

Pros

  1. Fast printing at 300mm/second
  2. It’s 4 year warranty is the best in the thermal printer industry
  3. Comes with a built-in USB
  4. Cost-saving, intelligent power usage features
  5. Is compatible with 80mm or 58mm size rolls
  6. Features a user-friendly dual interface

Cons

  1. Software is not very user-friendly
  2. Only prints receipts

The Zebra ZP 450 Thermal Label Printer was engineered specifically for label printing. This device doesn’t use toner or ribbons and has a fixed media width optimized for label printing.

The compact sleek design and double-walled construction makes this desktop printer ideal for crowded work environments. Connectivity interfaces for this device are USB and Serial.

The economical ZP 450 integrates easily into a variety of low-volume label printing environments, including outgoing freight receiving areas, light manufacturing, offices and retail. It also offers unparalleled ease-of-use features and at 5 ips, it is one of the fastest direct thermal printers in its class.

Any small business looking for a shipping label printer would be served well by this great thermal printer. Click HERE to view this device.

Pros

  1. Prints up to 5in/second
  2. The thermal printer driver is easily discovered by Windows
  3. Able to print labels as large as 4x6
  4. It is extremely compact
  5. Works great with UPS shipping labels

Cons

  1. Doesn’t have built-in wi-fi connection
  2. User manual that comes with the thermal label printer isn’t very detailed

Final Thoughts

Have you figured out yet which thermal printer serves your needs best? If not, we hope that our thermal printer guide has helped you along in your search. We realize that thermal printers can be rather pricey. However, the upfront cost will prove to be a smart investment as time goes on and shipping labels or receipts get churned out. Do you think there’s a thermal printer that we should have reviewed? If so, contact us and we’ll see what we can do. Here at Startups Genius, we are always reviewing our content to see what needs to be updated. We would also love to hear feedback and comments in the comment section below. As always, thanks again for visiting Startups Genius!


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