Last Updated: 18/03/2022

Barcode Printers

Barcode printer is a printing device that is used to print barcode labels, tags, coupons, barcode rolls, ribbons and other paper materials. Barcode printers are commonly used to print labels, retail products and cartons before their shipment.

Barcode printers used in all small to large business organizations to print the barcode labels and most commonly used in shipping industry to label shipping products.The direct thermal printing technique does not uses ribbons to print the barcodes while the thermal transfer printing technique uses ribbons to print the barcode labels. The color and other characteristics of the barcode labels that are printed by thermal transfer printing technique can be changed by changing the ribbons.

There are so many types of barcode printers. Some of the commonly used barcode printers are:

  • Dot Matrix Printer
  • Laser Printer
  • Ink Jet Printer
  • Thermal Printer
  • Desktop Printer
  • Mid-Range Printer
  • Industrial Printer
  • Specialty Printer
  • Portable Printer
  • Commercial Printer
  • High Performance Printer

Barcode printers uses two different types of barcodes printing techniques to print the barcodes. These printing techniques are:

Direct Thermal Printing

Direct thermal printing method is an older printing technology that is use in copier and fax machines. Direct thermal printing uses chemically coated paper. Direct thermal printing consists of long, linear array of tiny resistive heating elements that are arranged perpendicular to paper. Each printed element heats an area directly on the paper. The image is produced by rows of dots.

Advantages of direct thermal printing:

  • Barcode images printed by thermal printing are sharp and have great scan ability.
  • Does not require ink, toner to print barcode labels.
  • Direct thermal printing technique is inexpensive and simple to maintain.
Thermal Transfer Printing

Thermal Transfer barcodes printing technology is same as the direct thermal printing, but replaces chemically coated paper with non-sensitized face stock and special inked ribbon. A durable, polyester ribbon film coated with dry thermal transfer ink is placed between the thermal printhead and label. The thermal printhead transfers the ink onto the label surface, where it cools and anchors to the media surface. The polyester ribbon is then peeled away, leaving behind a stable, passive image.

Advantages of Thermal Transfer Printing:

  • Images printed by thermal transfer printing have high durability.
  • Barcodes label printed through thermal transfer printing has long life scan ability.
Dot Matrix Printer
Dot Matrix Printer

Dot Matrix printer (also known as impact matrix printer) is one of the commonly used barcode printer which is used to print the barcode labels. Dot matrix printer produce barcode images of hundreds of dots printed in matrix to make the series of lines and spaces.

Dot matrix printer or impact matrix printer is a type of computer printer with print head that runs back and forth, or in an up and down motion, on the paper and prints by impact, striking an ink-soaked cloth ribbon against the paper.

While printing barcode labels with dot matrix printing device, a low resolution or density provides the best printing results. Some of the 24 pin dot matrix printers can print acceptable medium density barcode images.

Advantages of dot matrix printers:

  • Dot matrix printers are easily accessible and less expensive.
  • Dot matrix printer uses multi-pass ribbons, which reduces overall cost for ribbons and label materials.
  • Dot matrix printers can print any type of forms, checks, documents and wide web, multi part (carbon) forms.

Dot matrix printers can vary in two important characteristics:

Printing Speed

Based on characters per second (cps), the speed of dot matrix printer can vary from about 50 to over 500 cps. Most of the dot matrix printers offer different speeds depending on the quality of printing desired.

Printing Quality

Determined by the number of pins (the mechanisms that print the dots), dot matrix printers can vary from 9 to 24 pins. The dot matrix printers (24 pins) can produce better quality printing.

Laser Printer
Laser Printer

Laser printer is a common type of barcode printer that produces high resolution barcode images on plain paper. Laser printers can print high quality barcode labels with variety of barcode fonts. Most of the laser printers come with basic set of fonts, called as internal or resident fonts.

Laser printer uses laser beam to print barcode labels on drum. The light of the laser alters the electrical charge on the drum wherever it hits. The drum is then rolled through reservoir of toner, which is picked up by the charged portions of the drum. Finally, the toner is transferred to the paper through combination of heat and pressure. Since an entire page is transmitted to drum before the toner is applied, laser printers are sometimes called page printers.

Because the laser printers are non impact printing device they are much faster than the other barcode printers. The speed of laser printers ranges from 4 to 20 pages of text per minute (ppm). A typical rate of laser printer is 6 ppm that is equivalent to 40 characters per second (cps).

One of the main characteristics of laser printer is its resolution i.e. how many dots per inch (dpi) they lay down. The resolution range of laser printer is from 300 dpi at the low end to 1,200 dpi at the high end. Some of the laser printers achieve higher resolutions with special techniques known as resolution enhancement.

You can also add additional fonts to laser printer in one of the two ways:

  • Font Cartridges: Every laser printer has slots in which you can insert font cartridges, ROM boards on which fonts have been recorded. The advantage of font cartridges is that they use none of the printer's memory.
  • Soft Fonts: All of the laser printers come with certain amount of RAM memory and you can usually increase the amount of memory by adding memory boards in the printer's expansion slots. You can then copy fonts from a disk to the printer's RAM. This is called fonts downloading. A font that has been downloaded is often referred to as soft font. More RAM on laser printer allows you to download more fonts at a time.
Ink Jet Printer
Ink Jet Printer

Ink jet printer is type of barcode printer that is used in many business organizations to print barcode labels. A typical ink jet barcode printer provides resolution of 300 dots per inch, however some of the newer ink jet barcode printers offer higher resolutions.

Ink jet printer is one of the most widely used barcode printer that print high quality barcode images by propelling droplets of ink onto the paper. Ink jet printer is available since 1980s but come in use significantly in 1990s. They are affordable and produce high quality barcode images.

Ink jet printer can print barcode images with resolution of at least 300 dots per inch (dpi). Some of the ink jet printers can print colorful barcode labels with resolution of 600 dpi or more.

In ink jet printing device, the print head has several tiny nozzles (also called as jets). As the paper moves, the nozzles spray ink on it. An ink jet printer can print 100 to several hundred pages at a time.

Ink jet printer uses two types of printing techniques i.e. continuous (CIJ) and Drop-on-Demand (DOD) printing technique. Drop-on-demand is further divided into two sub categories, thermal DOD and piezoelectric DOD printing techniques.

Advantages of ink jet printers:

  • Ink jet printers are cheaper than the other barcode printers.
  • Ink jet printers print high quality barcode labels due to the use of stochastic or FM screening.
  • The ink cartridges of ink jet printers can be refilled. Many ink companies offer systems that allows you to use larger amount of ink with your printer at a time. Thus saves your valuable time and money.
Thermal Printer
Thermal Printer

Thermal printer is one of the most widely used barcode printer that is used to print barcode labels of different shapes and sizes. Due to their speed and lack of paper jams, thermal printer does not require toner or ink and thus reduces the cost of printing high volume barcode labels.

Thermal printing device uses heated pins to "burn" images onto heat sensitive paper. This paper has a coating that changes to black color when exposed to heat over a period of time. The printing speed of thermal printer is relatively fast and they can print high quality bulk barcode images at a time.

There are two types of thermal printers i.e. thermal wax transfer printer and direct thermal printer.

Thermal Wax Transfer Printer:

  • Thermal wax transfer printer adhere wax based ink onto paper. A thermal print head melts wax based ink from the transfer ribbon onto the paper. Thermal printer uses an equivalent panel of ink to print barcode images.

Direct Thermal Printer:

  • Direct thermal printer prints barcode labels by applying heat onto the coated paper.

Advantages of thermal printer:

  • Thermal printer is cost effective and does not require toners to print the barcode images.
  • Thermal printer can print large volume of barcode images at a time.
  • The printing speed of thermal printer is faster than other barcode printers.
Desktop Printer
Desktop Printer

Desktop printer is the type of barcode printer that is used to print barcode images for different commercial organization. Desktop printer is smaller, more compact and lower volume barcode printer than the other barcode printers.

A barcode printer that is used to print barcode labels for different business organizations is usually dot matrix, ink jet, laser or desktop printer. Desktop printer fits on a desk or table. The typical desktop printer is laser printer or ink jet printer used to print barcode images. Most of the desktop printers are also multifunction or all-in-one printers that combine scanning/copying and sometimes faxing with desktop printing.

Desktop printer come in variety of different methods to put ink on paper. Desktop printing device converts pixels to drops of ink on a page. These printers create many colors from just a few inks by putting the inks very close to each other.

Areas of application of desktop printers:

  • Healthcare sector
  • Transport industry
  • Courier services
  • Retail business and other commercial sectors.
Mid-Range Printer
Mid-Range Printer

Mid-range barcode printer is one of the most widely used printer that is used to print barcode labels. Mid-range printer can print high resolution bulk barcode images of different shapes for many commercial organizations.

Mid-range printing devices are available with WiFi- and CCX-Certification. These printers can print high volume bulk barcode labels at a time and ensure optimized performance. Mid-range printers help to maintain wireless network integrity and reduce configuration time. Mid-range printers can host stand-alone applications and streamline operational process.

Mid-range barcode printers can print variety of barcode labels like from very small serial barcode labels (on cell phone components) to very large chemical drum barcode labels. Mid-range printers also print wide variety of barcode labels from basic paper barcode labels to synthetic barcode labels.

Mid-range barcode printers can be used in different IT infrastructures to print large volume barcode labels. Mid-range printer can print 1000 paper or synthetic labels a day.

Advantages of Mid-range Printer:

  • Mid-range printers are cost effective.
  • Mid-range printers can print multiple numbers of barcode images at a time.
  • Mid–range printers offer flexible connectivity solution for printing bulk barcode images.
Industrial Printer
Industrial Printer

Industrial printer can print high volume barcode labels of different shapes. This printng device is used in warehousing and manufacturing industry to print barcode images. Barcode industrial printer uses both direct thermal and thermal transfer printing methods to print the barcode labels.

Industrial barcode printer is specially designed to print high resolution barcode labels for different business organization. Industrial barcode printer can print barcode labels at higher resolutions. Industrial barcode printing devices are most often used in warehouses and manufacturing industry to print thousands of barcode coupons. Industrial barcode printer print barcode images of different sizes (from very large to small or vice versa).

Industrial barcode printers can print number of barcode labels at a time. Industrial barcode printer has rugged durability, outstanding print quality and fast printing speed.

Areas of application:

  • Warehousing industry
  • Manufacturing industry
  • Distribution organization and other commercial sectors.
Specialty Printer
Specialty Printer

Specialty barcode printers are high-versatility printers. Specialty printers are suitable for printing small labels for electronic components, printed circuit boards, test tubes etc.

There are many barcode printers are available to print the barcode labels. The barcode printers used by different commercial organizations are dependent on each business application needs. Every barcode printer have its own specific advantages.

Specialty printer is the type of barcode printer that is used to print small barcode coupons for some products. Specialty printers are reliable and high performance barcode printers that print bulk number of barcode images of different size.

Specialty barcode printers used in small to large business organizations to print bulk number of barcode labels at a time. Specialty barcode printer uses both direct thermal and thermal transfer printing methods to print the barcode coupons.

Specialty barcode printing devices are used to print barcode labels which can be attached to other objects. These printers increase label placement accuracy and productivity in demanding environment and printing applications.

Some of the key features of specialty barcode printer are:

  • Barcode specialty printer can easily print bulk number of barcode images of different sizes for different business organizations.
  • Specialty barcode printer helps to increase productivity and label placement accuracy.
  • Barcode specialty printers are RFID ready.
High Performance Printer
High Performance Printer

High performance printer is one of the smartest barcode printer that is used to print barcode labels. This barcode printer is flexible and programmable, thus allows users to optimize and expedite printing operations.

High performance printer instantly print bulk number of barcode labels of different sizes. This printer delivers outstanding performance from first label to the last barcode label.

High performance printer delivers precision barcode labeling to both i.e. barcode font and printing speed. High performance printing device improves efficiency and decrease infrastructure costs and complexity. High performance printer has fast printing speed and can print numerous barcode coupons at a time.

High performance printer can print barcode images at 50 pages-per-minute. The image quality of high performance printing device is up to 600 x 600 dpi. High performance printer provides high-powered 533 MHz controller and standard 256 MB of RAM. High performance printer supports wireless printing.

Some of the key aspects of high performance printers are:

  • Easy to operate
  • Provides high Printing speed
  • Print barccode labels of any width (according to your requirement)
  • Print bulk number of barcode labels at a time etc.
Commercial Printer
Commercial Printer

Commercial barcode printer is one of the most widely used barcode printer that is used to print barcode images. Commercial printers are user-friendly as they are equipped with simple one button operation. Commercial printer provides best printing mechanism to print bulk number of barcode coupons at a time. This barcode printer is specially constructed for demanding and medium duty application.

Commercial barcode printers are also programmable printers like high performance and mid-range printers. Commercial printer eliminates the need for PC and other control devices which make it more efficient than the other barcode printers.

Commercial barcode printers are used in warehousing, production companies and distribution centers, where high volume of barcode labels printing is needed. This printing device is specially designed for commercial environment and equipped with robust construction.

Features of commercial barcode printer:

  • Barcode commercial printer uses both direct thermal and thermal transfer printing techniques.
  • The printing resolution of commercial printer is 203 dpi (8 dots/mm).
  • The printing speed of commercial printer is 2 ~ 4 ips (51~102 mm/S).
  • Commercial barcode printers reduce downtime and minimize maintenance costs.
Portable Printer
Portable Printer

Portable barcode printer is one of the most widely used barcode printer that is used to print barcode labels. Portable barcode printer increases efficiency and productivity and print barcode labels on demand wherever they are required.

Portable barcode printer is a type of barcode printer that print bulk number of barcode labels at a time. These printers can be used anywhere and relocated in minutes as they are free from cabling and wired network infrastructure.

Barcode portable printer can communicate through radio frequency or Bluetooth technology, and provides standard cable connectivity. The width of barcode images (printed through portable barcode printer) ranges between 2 to 4 inches. Portable barcode printer prints barcode labels on assembly lines.

Portable barcode printers are generally used for mobile applications like shelf labeling, bin labeling, inventory control and route accounting. They may also be used in mobile point-of-sale systems, which save your valuable time and process customers more efficiently. Portable barcode printer is used to print labels (with or without barcodes) or tags that can be attached to products.

Portable barcode printer is lightweight printing device that prints barcode image at anywhere whenever needed. Portable barcode printer allow you to print barcode labels on go. Barcode portable printer is fast and lightweight printer that can print multiple number of barcode coupons at a time.