A barcode printer (also known as a bar code printer, barcode label printer, or label printer) is a computer peripheral used to print barcode labels and barcode tags. .
There are many different types of barcode printers and many different features a user needs to pay attention to when selecting the correct barcode printer. A great start off point to selecting the right barcode printer for you is to determine the type of environment. There are three categories that a barcode printer can be classified:
- Industrial barcode printers: A barcode printer that will require medium to high speed printing, have high duty cycles, and will usually have heavy duty housing (exterior case) to protect it from industrial environments, such as a warehouse.
- Desktop barcode printers:A desktop barcode printer is usually the best value barcode printer. Where desk space is limited and a user is a beginner in the barcode label printing world, a desktop barcode printer is the perfect solution.
- Mobile barcode printers: A mobile barcode printer is perfect for solutions that require on the go barcode label printing and require wireless connectivity. Some useful applications that would utilize mobile barcode printers include route accounting, sales orders, inventory management and more.
From that point, more barcode printer features to choose from will arise. These features include:
- Barcode label width: The width of the barcode label that a barcode printer is able to print on. Common barcode label widths include 2 inches, 3 inches, 4 inches, 6 inches and 8 inches.
- Barcode label DPI: DPI means "Dots per inch". The higher the DPI, the higher the quality of the barcode label. Common barcode label DPI include 203 dpi (printing text/barcodes), 300 dpi (printing text/barcodes and pictures), and 600 dpi (printing high quality text/barcode and/or pictures .
- Barcode label printing technology: A barcode printer will print in one of two ways. The first barcode label printing technology is direct thermal barcode label printing. With direct thermal barcode printing, the barcode printer will use heat from a print head to print directly onto media that has a special chemical on it. Direct thermal labels are meant to be for temporary applications, such as shipping labels. The direct thermal barcode labels should not be exposed to high temperatures or direct sunlight, since the direct thermal barcode labels will blacken. The second barcode label printing technology is thermal transfer barcode label printing. With thermal transfer barcode label printing, a printhead applies heat to a ribbon which in turn melts the ink from the ribbon onto the label media. Thermal transfer labels are ideal for higher image quality and when labels need to last more than six months.
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