If you are thinking about purchasing an in-house label printer, you are taking steps to put yourself on the path to be more independent and have more control of your business. This control will allow you to show more versatility with the labels that you create and have better control over your label printing budget. There are a lot of challenges that come with using an outside printing company. Reprints, delayed shipments, and wasted expenses are going to be a thing of the past after you purchase your own label printer.
Still, there are a number of questions that you might want to ask before choosing the right label printer for your business needs. For example, what type of material are you going to print on? This will influence the printer that you purchase. Many printers are not used to print on Tyvek material, and since it’s completely waterproof, most inks designed to be used on paper won’t adsorb into Tyvek.
Think about the Label Sizes You Are Going to Print
Printers have different characteristics, including the width of labels they can print. You would not get to the same style of printer to print on a pack of playing cards as you would for a jug of cleaning solution. This means that you have to know what type of labels you are planning on creating and the maximum and minimum width you will require.
Will the Labels You Print Have FDA Regulations?
Depending on they type of label you are creating, there may be requirements that your labels will need to meet. There are requirements for products supervised by the FDA as well as for medical products. If these label requirements are not met, the products cannot be distributed.
It can feel intimidating to try to meet the FDA regulations for nutrition panels. The FDA is restrictive when it comes to the fonts that can be used and the size of these labels. However, adhering to these regulations avoids unwanted and expensive recalls and allows you to give your customers the transparency and the quality they have come to expect from packaging that is regulated by the FDA.
Thankfully, there are a number of label printers that have the ability to create labels with 1200 dpi resolution. This guarantees that all of the intricate details and small text on your labels are printed perfectly each time. Many of these printers allow you to control in-house compliance by giving you the ability to customize and oversee every part of the design and printing.
Will You Need Barcodes?
Here’s another question that you will need to consider, especially if you are printing labels for food, clothing, or other items that are going to be purchased. If you are going to print barcodes, do you need them to be 200 dpi or 600 dpi? Choosing the more expensive 600 dpi label printer comes with obvious benefits. They are designed to make the best use of space, and the crisper image make it easier for barcodes to be scanned. The downside is that they cost a considerable amount more than a 200 dpi barcode printer.
The higher resolution printer is best if you need to print a lot of text and want to take advantage of the space on your labels. The 200 dpi printer does a great job with text, numbers, and codes. The only problem is that the larger you print, the more pixilated the image may appear. If your budget limits you to a 200 dpi barcode label printer, that’s fine. You can make up for this by making the barcode a little bit larger on your label if you have the space for it.
Where Will You Keep the Products?
This is a question that people often overlook. This can lead to unattractive products and wasted label stock. For example, if you are creating a label for a product that is going to be stored in the freezer, you need to have durable freeze-resistant labeling. Your printer will need to print on the specific label material designed to remain adhesive to your product in subzero temperatures.
If you don’t have the right printer, frozen food labels may wrinkle as a result of condensation. The UV store lights may cause the images to fade away, or they can lose their adhesion and fall off because of the low temperatures.
This also applies to UV resistance, water resistance, abrasion resistance, and chemical resistance. This is why when you are buying an in-house label printer, you need to look at it carefully to make sure that it has all of the traits that you need.
How Complicated Are Your Labels?
If you are printing barcodes and that’s all you are going to print, then you will likely need nothing more than a 600 dpi barcode printer. It lets you make labels using small text, and you have clean lines and smooth curves. However, if you need high-quality resolution for commercial labels, then you may want to look at a 1200 dpi or higher labeler. It’s going to cost you more, but for the product that you are selling, the extra quality is worth it. This will require you to know in advance the level of imagery required for your product prior to purchasing the printer.
There is a lot more that goes into purchasing a label printer than most people think. It is worth it for you to take the time to do your due diligence and learn about not only the labels that you are preparing but also the product they are going to be used on, any government regulations that would affect the type of labels you create, and where the product is going to be stored, which will impact the type of material the label is printed on.
We hope this article gave you a clear idea of what you are going to need or at least a place to start when it comes to asking questions before buying a label printer. If you have any tips that you would like to pass on, we would love to hear them. Leave them for us in the comments section below.