Online Shipping Labels: Which Printers Are Best? | ShippingEasy

Online Shipping Labels—Which Printers Are Best?

By Rob Zaleski
Oct 9, 2018
online shipping labels printers to use

Running a successful business means accounting for lots of little things which end up having a significant impact on your company. The need to print online shipping labels is one of those seemingly insignificant things that carry a whole lot of weight when it comes to successfully sending out a package.

Think about all the information contained on that small piece of real estate and its importance in making sure the package arrives safe and sound. If it doesn’t, you end up losing packages, which leads to unhappy customers and bad reviews for your business. The one place you definitely shouldn’t be looking to cut corners is in your shipping label printer investment.

So what companies make the best printers for e-commerce business purposes? We came up with our list of top companies after a thorough review of common printers used in the industry. These companies put out consistent, high-quality products that aren’t likely to fail when you need them most.

DYMO LabelWriter 4XL

DYMO produces some different label printers capable of supporting the shipping needs of e-commerce businesses. We like the consistency you find in quality even with the lower-priced options they offer. That’s good for smaller businesses who need to print online shipping labels but may not have the budget to afford one of the more expensive printers.

Our favorite of their offerings is the DYMO LabelWriter 4XL. This thermal-heat printer’s capable of supporting the needs of both small and large businesses. We’ve rarely come across any issues reading labels created by this printer, and it’s one of the printers that works best for ShippingEasy customers.

online shipping labels DYMO printer

Setup and Software

The printer connects using a USB, meaning you’re ready to go as soon as you plug it in and turn it on. The print driver lets you work with other computer software programs like Excel, Word, and Card Scan. You’ll need to use plug-ins to work with Excel, which available for any version up through 2010.

Working With Labels

The 4XL allows you to print broader labels than most other office printers. We’ve found that label rolls, even wider ones, tear off easily despite lacking an automatic cutter. It’s also versatile in that you can use it to create labels for other items in your office like folders, badges, or markers. For shipping labels, we recommend the 4×6 labels.

The device uses 300 dpi and creates crystal clear text for your labels. You should have no issues creating any barcodes or other symbols required for your shipping needs.

Additional Features

  • Handles batches of 20 shipping labels at around 15.8 lpm
  • Allows storage of different label formats for future reference
  • Comes with an easy-to-read instruction manual

Zebra GC420D Direct Thermal Printer

This 32-bit thermal desktop printer comes in at a higher price range than the Dymo LabelWriter 4XL. It comes with 8MB of SDRAM memory along with 8MB of flash memory, giving you access to extensive graphics storage capabilities and lots of speed operating the software.

One nice thing about this printer is how quiet it is, meaning you won’t be bothering anyone else in the office too much when you’ve got a lot of online shipping labels to print. It’s also capable of continuously printing out one 39-inch roll, allowing you to get a lot done in one sitting.

Setup and Software

The GC420D also uses USB for connectivity. It comes with parallel and serial ports for those with the need to connect to older hardware. You can purchase an Ethernet upgrade for an additional $149. You can use this to create a network allowing everyone in the office to access the printer.

There’s no control panel on the printer itself. You’ll have to operate everything from the screen of your computer. That’s something to keep in mind if you end up having some computer issue. There will be little you can do to operate things directly from the printer.

One interesting feature about the Zebra GC420D is that it comes with its scripting language. You can use this to create custom hooks into printing applications not supported out of the box. The drivers and software don’t install automatically. You’ll need to look on the Zebra website to find the versions you need.

Online shipping labels zebra printer

Working With Labels

We’ve already noted the capability of the printer to print a continuous 39-inch roll of labels. It prints out at 203 dpi, not quite as sharp as the 4XL but sufficient for most shipping needs. One nice feature is a transmissive sensor letting you know when you’re out of paper.

Additional Features

  • Monochrome output type
  • Holds rolls up to 4.25 inches in size
  • Comes with a 12-month warranty

Brother TD-4000

We’ve included this on the list because of its durability and the number of convenient features it offers if you’re doing a lot of e-commerce shipping. The Brother TD-4000’s capable of handling 4-inch wide rolls and is designed for heavy-duty use. It’s not something you want to invest in if you don’t do a whole lot of daily shipping.

Setup and Software

The TD-4000 is fully compatible with all Windows operating systems up through Windows 10. That makes it useful for the most advanced offices and those still stuck using older hardware systems. It uses a USB connection like the other printers on our list.

The printer comes with a software application called PT-Editor 5. It’s capable of creating barcodes, curves, lines, and pretty much any other type of graphic. You can type it out by hand or connect to many data sources, including SQL databases, Access databases, and CSV and Excel files. That makes this a great choice if your company need to connect to a variety of data sources.

Another great feature is the capability of the Windows print driver to adapt itself to any number of different Windows-based applications. Your company could continue using any proprietary Windows application already in use.

online shipping labels brother td-4000 printer

Working With Labels

One of our favorite things about this printer is how easy it is to swap out rolls, which can be a struggle with other types of printers. Its speed also compares favorably to the other printers, capable of getting through 100 labels at 176.5 lpm.

It also has an automatic cutter and lets you load two different types of rolls at a time. You can then switch back and forth between the two depending on your current needs.

Additional Features

  • Works with thermal rolls from other print manufacturers
  • Leaves a small footprint
  • Allows you to create P-Touch shortcuts in software like Word and Excel

Make the Best Choice for Your Online Shipping Labels

We hope this overview helps if you’re in the market for a printer capable of printing online shipping labels and needed some insight. Look at your current business needs and just how much firepower will be required to handle them. When you use ConnectEasy from ShippingEasy and some automation rules, you can even put your online shipping labels on autopilot, making printing truly hands-free.

Want more ways to save money and make the most of your label printing? Read our answers to 4 common questions about shipping labels from e-commerce sellers by clicking below!

Read More

The following two tabs change content below.

Rob Zaleski

Content Marketing Manager at ShippingEasy
I'm a digital content and social media nerd with a passion for telling stories, helping connect people, and finding joy in the details.