Suggestions for Cheap Color Label Printers and Stickers

If you are looking to purchase cheap labels and stickers for your product, there are a variety of options available on the market. Colourful vibrant labels can shine and standout from the competition, making your products look attractive. Durable labels are great for shipping while being resistant to all weather conditions. Depending on the use case for your labels, it’s important to know what they will be used for to narrow down which printers are good for you.

Quantity of Labels

It’s important to determine how many labels the project requires to produce. It doesn’t make sense to buy a premium high volume color label printer if only a couple hundred of labels are consumed each month. It’s also not feasible to rely on inkjet sheet printers to print thousand of labels only to hand apply them to your wine bottle. The higher volume of labels you produce, it’s important to carefully select the right printer and if it’s compatible with an applicator system to apply on to your product.

If you are printing lots of short-run prints or printing multiple designs per month, the best choice is to purchase a entry level color label printer that can create your design on demand. Compared to other print companies, you won’t be required to print large rolls and won’t be left with any overstock. This is a great option if your product has specific ingredients or label design is constantly being modified with a much newer design.

For projects with larger label quantity requirements, consider color label printers in the mid to high production points. It’s important to consider the print speed, ink costs and label compatibility for each printer. Printers that print pigment ink cannot print on glossy polyester labels, while dye ink prints are more attractive and bring out the color more, it is more prone to being faded.

Print Technology – Inkjet: Dye or Pigment?

The majority of inkjet printers used by businesses use inks that are dye or pigment based. Dye-based inks use a color that is dissolved in a liquid. Pigment ink, color comes from very fine solid particles that are suspended in the fluid.

Dye inks offer better color and performance compared to pigment inks using the same number of colors. Dye inks will not offer the same fade resistance and in some cases can begin to fade quite rapidly, where as pigments ink doesn’t fade as easily compared to dye.

It’s important to evaluate how your labels will be used and determine the type of printer and label you will be purchases for your business.

Ink Costs

Another thing to consider is the price of ink cartridges into the cost of your label production. Tri-color ink cartridges are not ideal for label printing because as soon as one of the primary colors run out, the entire ink cartridge is not useable. This isn’t ideal especially if your label design is primary one color and uses up one of the main colors. It’s best to narrow down your choice for printers with individual ink cartridges.

Label Compatibility

When printing on labels, one must factor in the print technology used for the type of label to be printed on. Glossy Polyester labels doesn’t work well with pigment printers and are more prone to smudging. Dye ink work well with glossy based labels while pigment ink work with matte based labels. If your labels and products will be in contact with food and condensation from being in a refrigerator, you may want to consider glossy polyester labels for your product.

Printers

Primera: LX500

LX500c
The difference between the LX500 and LX500c is the built in label cutter

This LX500 is the cheapest selling printer on the market. The low price makes it affordable and attractive for many small business to make the jump to inkjet label printers.

It uses a tri-color ink cartridge, which means the ink cartridge will need to be changed if any of the colors run out. This doesn’t make it very ideal if your labels are high coverage (uses a lot of one color) with primary color inks.

The Primera LX500 uses labels on a 2 Inch core with a maximum diameter of 5 Inches. Any label rolls larger than that won’t fit into the printer and the cover won’t close. You may prefer to get the volume pricing on large label rolls, only to discover that they don’t fit in their printer. One work around this is to purchase an external label holder.

PrinterPrimera LX500
Price$1125 USD
Print Speed2″ Per Second
Print WidthUp to 4.25 Inches
Ink CostsStarting at $54.95

Epson: TM-C3500

Epson ColorWorks C3500
The TM-C3500 has the lowest ink cost compared to the other two printers

The Epson ColorWorks C3500 is a great entry level printer for many different uses. It prints pigment ink making it great for all types of matte labels. Another thing about the Epson ColorWorks C3500 is that it uses separate ink cartridges for each color. If your primary design is majority one color (like blue for example), the ink saving alone makes it worth it.

The built in cutter for this machine makes it easy to use with continuous labels. Instead of ordering a few rolls of a specific size, you’re able to cut on demand and maximize the usage of the label rolls leaving behind no overstock.

The TM-C3500 accepts label rolls up to 4 inches in outer diameter. There are no core holders in the printer, so there are no restrictions for label core. If you have label rolls larger than 4 Inches, you can purchase an external label holder and feed the label through the back of the printer.

PrinterEpson TM-C3500
Price$1850 USD
Print Speed4 Inches Per Second
Print Width4.1″ Print Width
Ink CostsStarts at $19.50 USD

Afinia Label: L301

The L301 produces the highest quality images com

The Afinia L301 is a high resolution printer that prints high quality labels. It prints the best quality out of the three reviewed. It is also able to print up to 6 inches wide making it ideal for large color labels.

The Afinia L301 color label printer utilizes two separate ink cartridges (tricolor and a black pigment ink cartridge) to produce vivid colors. Using a two-cartridge system reduces your ink price per label when compared to one tri-color ink cartridge.

One disadvantage about this printer is that, it prints significantly slower compared to the other two printers. The quality is outstanding, but the trade-of of print speed may hold back your projects.

PrinterAfinia Label L301
Price$1595 USD
Print Speed1.8 Inches Per Second
Print Width6″ Print Width
Ink CostsStarting at $49.95

Summary

If you require less than a couple hundred of black and white labels a month, you best bet is to stick with sheet labels on a laser or inkjet printer. If you need more labels, it’s recommend to use thermal labels as they are more economical.

If you need less than a few hundred labels a month, the Primera LX500 is a good option to product color labels. Color labels with lots of ink coverage with about 500+ labels a month, the Epson TM-C3500 is the best value. If you require extremely high quality labels at an entry level price point, the Afinia L301 is a good choice.