What are the Different Types of Barcode Printers

There are four different types of barcode printers. The printing quality of a barcode printer determines its scannability and readability. These four types of printers produce varied results because of the different technology powering each.

The print technologies that categorize the different types of barcode printers are as follows:

  • Thermal printers
  • Laser printers
  • Inkjet printers
  • Dot-matrix printers

Each of these types varies in terms of printing quality, size, and speed. Dot matrix printers for example, have a very limited capacity for size and speed. You will find these printers slower than the others in printing and they’re also incapable of printing smaller barcodes.

Then you have the inkjet and laser printers who promise a far better print quality. However, they typically print the barcode as an image which could decrease the printing speed and memory. You will also find these printers typically producing entire sheets of labels rather than printing just one at a time.

With inkjet and laser printers, you have access to a limited amount of label facestocks on which you can print. Next, you have thermal printers that can produce high-quality graphics, text, and barcodes. The best advantage with these is that your printing speed does not falter because the barcode fonts are right inside the printer.

Because of the many desirable features of thermal printers, they are the more popular choice for commercial and business applications. The ability of these printers to produce any amount of labels, from an entire roll to one at a time comes in quite handy.

Besides, they also print high density and tiny barcodes on a wide variety of facestocks and label sizes.

You can get as much as twelve inches at a second. Let’s take a look at the various barcode printer types below in further detail.

1. Mid-Range Barcode Printers

We also refer to these barcode printers as light industrial or mid-range. These printers have a great capacity to tackle various media sizes, including the tiny serial barcode labels you see on mobile phone components.

At the same time, these printers are also quite efficient at very large barcode labels, such as the ones you see on chemical drums. The versatility of these printers with an assorted array of media types makes these a top choice when business needs barcode printers.

They can handle a range of printing projects, from the basic barcode labels of paper to even synthetic ones. You will also see them wrapping flexibly around vials and holding their appearance even under severe weather elements.

With light industrial barcodes, you can print up to a thousand synthetic labels or paper labels in a day. They have built-in memory and fast processors that make them competent for complex barcode projects. These printers also perform faster than a desktop barcode printer.

However, if you have a very demanding environment for barcode printing, you may need an even more complex model than mid-range printers.

2. Desktop Barcode Printers

These barcode printers are perfect for budget-friendly and limited space needs. If you have a printing environment that requires less than a hundred paper labels in a day, then a desktop barcode printer would be a great choice for you.

They feature a very compact design and can fit snugly into your POS station, countertop, or your desk. They’re not ideal for large-scale printing operations but can do a great job with paper tags and labels larger than 0.5 x 1.5.

You can also use other synthetic materials for printing with a desktop barcode printer, but you will only achieve a limited quantity. We would recommend this printer as an ideal choice for businesses like vinyl jewelry and others.

3. Mobile Barcode Printers

Just like their name suggests, mobile barcode printers are those that accompany you on the go. If your work includes immediate labeling needs, like workers in the field or in factories, you will find these a handy option.

They’re portable and handheld but can help boost the efficiency and productivity of workers. Due to the portability of these printers, you can carry them wherever you need without much hassle. You can virtually relocate and transport these printers from one location to another effortlessly.

They do not require cabling and also do not feature the complicated infrastructure of a wired network. Their mode of communication is through radio frequency and now the advanced models come with Bluetooth connectivity.

With mobile barcode printers, you can get around two or four inches of print widths. Ideally, these models work best for receiving and shipping docs, assembly lines, retail checkouts, patient bedsides and workplaces where you need information on the go.

4. Industrial Barcode Printers

Manufacturing facilities, large warehouses, and bigger operational facilities need large-scale printing tools. Industrial barcode printers meet that definition and can create hundreds and even thousands of labels in a day for such organizations.

For those businesses whose printing needs rely on durability and reliability, industrial barcode printers are their best choice. They are heavy-duty units that can produce synthetic and paper labels 24.7 for businesses.

These models also feature a larger range of sizes and widths for label printing. You can easily print very small to very big label sizes. Not just that, these printers also have detailed graphics, higher resolution heads for printing, and tiny fonts and barcodes.

As we said, heavy-duty printers are tougher, more robust, and  durable even under extreme working environments.

Final Thoughts

There are various types of barcode printers with various printing sizes, speed, and label type options. Each of the barcode printers you will find come with certain advantages and limitations. It all depends on your business application and needs to determine the type of printer your business requires.

Before you make a purchasing decision, it is best to weigh the volume of printing requirements your daily operations will have. Certain barcode printers even come with different types of equipment such as rubber cylinders, water-based inks, hot stamping machines, etc.

Hence, it is important to weigh how much printing your business operations will include daily and pick a model that effortlessly meets your needs. It is also a great idea to factor in the cost of additional items you will require to run your printer daily.