We’ve seen a lot of businesses pick a lot of label printers. Many get it right, but some get it wrong. The impact of getting it wrong is the increased cost and time of having to replace a printer more frequently.

Here are the three most frequent mistakes:

1. Not picking the right printer for the volume of labels/print speed

Label printers come in three main formats/sizes, with each type designed for a different daily volume of labels:

• Portable printers, designed for use on the move, on the shop floor or out with the public, can handle up to 1,000 labels a day. Labels are usually printed one at a time; speed is not a major factor.

• Desktop printers are designed to print between 500 and 1,000 labels a day in an office environment. They all use flathead print heads, so have lower speeds.

• Industrial printers can handle 2,000 labels a day and are much more resilient to an environment with dust, dirt and vibration. With an industrial printers, there is choice between a flathead or a near edge print head – which offers faster printing speeds.

The impact of getting the wrong printer for the number of labels needed to be printed each day is that you can significantly shorten the life of the motor.

We’ve seen businesses think they will save on the cost of an industrial printer by running 1,500 labels a day through their desktop. But it’s a false economy as the motor in the overworked desktop printer is likely to die well before its normal life expectancy.

The better approach for volumes over 1,000 would be to buy an industrial printer or two desktop printers.

For those who get it right, we’ve seen printers last well over 10 years, with just a change of print head when needed and a motor that keeps running strong.

Getting the speed equation wrong can have a big impact on the processes that rely on label production, extending the printing window and every process downstream of it.

2. Purchasing the wrong printer for the operating environment

The environment in which a printer operates has an impact on its performance and life expectancy. Desktop printers are built to operate in an office environment – clean, air-conditioned, and with low noise and vibration.

Industrial printers, on the other hand, can cope with the dust, dirt and vibrations of machinery or vehicles. They have a tougher casing and will operate as happily as anything in a factory, warehouse, temporary site office or on a ship or truck.

Put a desktop printer in those conditions and, again it’s a false economy leading to a shorter life because it simply isn’t built to withstand them.

3. Not having the right print head warranty

The only hardware part that needs regular replacement in a label printer is the print head.

Print head usage is directly related to the volume of labels printed, measured in inches. The warranty offered is a good indication of the quality and expected life of your print head. A good desktop printer will offer 1 million linear inches warranty and a good industrial printer 300 million linear inches.