In the world of thermal printers, there are lots of different options available to choose from. From the small and compact to the large and complex, choosing the right printer is no easy feat.
It’s important to understand all the details about each type of printer, so you can determine which one best fits your needs and budget.
With this in mind, we’ve collected the top 5 best ones available today to help you find the one that’s perfect for your home or office.
This includes printers that are both easy to use, affordable, and have good print quality.
We have compared a lot of thermal printers based on their features, print quality, functionality, and price, and have come up with the 5 best thermal printers for shipping labels and barcodes.
What is a Thermal Printer?
A thermal printer is a type of printer that uses heat to produce a print. It heats a special type of ink and transfers it to a material you are printing on. Unlike conventional inkjet printers, thermal printers can print on a variety of materials, including cardboard, plastic, vinyl, paper, textiles, and glass.
There are two types of thermal printers: direct thermal printers and thermal transfer printers.
People use thermal printers in many industries, but most likely you will see them getting used to printing shipping labels and barcodes.
Top 5 Best Rated Thermal Printers for 2022
While thermal printers have been around since the 1970s, they don’t look all the same nowadays. Thermal printers have advanced a lot in recent times; the quality of prints, and durability has drastically improved.
Competition is fierce in 2022, and there are a ton of thermal printers on the market, but we’ve made a list of the 5 best ones that will suit your needs.
1. ROLLO Shipping Label Printer
One of the most popular thermal printers on the market is the ROLLO Shipping Label printer. The ROLLO label printer creates labels that can be used for packages that range from mail-order catalogs to small shipments.
An easy setup, compact design, affordable price, and great output quality are the main selling points of this printer. This is quite a compact printer with a very nice, sharp design.
What we liked about the ROLLO Shipping Label printer is the setup. Very straightforward, allowing you to print in no time.
However, its flaw is the lack of Wi-Fi connectivity, something that may represent an issue for some people. But, our opinion is that the fast printing speeds along with the fantastic output quality more than make up for that flaw.
Overall, this is an affordable yet powerful label printer that will surely come in handy when you need to print labels for your shipping needs.
2. Brother QL-1100
A more expensive option than the ROLLO Shipping Label Printer comes from Brother, a brand that needs no introduction. The QL-1100 is packed with useful features that will make the job of printing barcodes and labels easy.
One of the most helpful features that this printer has is surely the automatic cutting. There is a button with scissors on it found on the front of the printer which activates this feature, which is a huge timesaver when you need to print a lot of labels.
Let’s move on to connectivity options. The Brother QL-1100 has USB connectivity like the ROLLO Shipping Label Printer, but there is another Brother thermal printer (Brother QL-1110NWB) which is like this one but has Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity options, albeit for a higher price.
Brother QL-1100’s strong point is that it can print wide formats up to 4″, and for a wide-body thermal printer, the price of it is pretty affordable. Another strong point is the Plug & Play feature, which lets you print from the moment you connect the cable to your PC or Mac, removing the need for installing software in order to print.
While not as compact as the ROLLO Shipping Label printer, the QL-1100 is still a small and lightweight device that won’t take up a lot of space on your desk. For those who need a thermal printer for wide formats, this is the one that you should seriously consider.
3. ZEBRA GK420d Direct Thermal Desktop Printer
ZEBRA GK420d is a printer that uses direct thermal printing technology for producing sharp prints. Not the most nice-looking thermal printer that you can get, but it is a blazing fast one.
That is the feature that we liked the most about this compact printer. While speed is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a thermal printer, we like the ZEBRA GK420d because it brings a lot of features to the table.
The ZEBRA GK420d, because of its use of direct thermal printing technology, produces prints at a very low cost. While the printer itself is one of the most expensive on this list, in the long run, it is economic.
GK420d by Zebra is a reliable printer that produces high-quality use and is a superb choice for small businesses and home use.
If you are interested in another ZEBRA high-quality printer, feel free to check out our review of the ZEBRA GX430t review here.
4. MUNBYN Shipping Label Printer
One of the best bangs for the buck options on the market for home offices is the MUNBYN Shipping Label Printer. With a compact design, easy setup, and a great price, it’s truly easy to see why.
This printer is made to be reliable, fast, and easy to use. In order to print, just connect it to your device, open the lid, place the paper inside and you are good to go.
While the output quality is not as good as some more expensive options, it’s good enough for most small businesses that urgently need a small thermal printer. The maximum paper size that this printer supports is 4.3″ wide, and it has an Automatic Label Identification feature that recognizes the paper size when you put it in the printer.
MUNBYN Shipping Label Printer supports most shipping platforms, and for this price, it’s one of the best options if you are stepping into the world of thermal label printers.
5. Epson TM-T20II Direct Thermal Printer
Last but not least, we have the Epson TM-T20II, a printer made by one of the most recognizable printer manufacturers in the world. The TM-T20II is one of their most popular thermal printers, and all for the right reasons.
The second model in the family of TM-T20 printers, this printer has a couple of upgrades over its predecessor. This one has a pretty fast printing speed and is one of the most economical options on the market.
While it’s an older model, it still works like a charm, especially when you consider its low price. But, since it’s an older model, there are no Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity options, and if you want a printer to have those, you should look elsewhere.
For those who don’t see a problem in that, this is one dependable barcode printer that has an easy setup, needs no ink replacement, and is fast.