Labels are very useful tools when a business is considered, as they are very important in many industries and sectors. Labeling comes in handy as they are a way to relate crucial information to people. There are a variety of things to label in a company, from product labeling, asset labeling, shipping labels, barcodes, specimen marketing, and many more.

Label Printers

The production of large volumes of labels and customized labels can be eased by using a label printer, which, as a bonus, is cost-effective. The label printers come at different sizes and prices and use a common technology known as direct thermal or thermal transfer printing. Some label printers are designed for fast and bulk printing, while others are designed for detailed and high-definition prints. How well a label printer prints is highly dependent on the type of label roll being used, the best label printers will still not print accurately and clearly if the type of label roll used is of a very low quality. Generally, the purchase of a label printer comes hand in hand with purchasing a label roll as they are considered to complement each other.

Label Rolls

Label rolls are simply the materials printed on by the label printer. Label rolls come in specific sizes, generally measured in diameter since label printers are designed in different sizes. So there is a specifically sized label roll for a type of label printer. Also, the variety of label printers depends on the printing technology of the label printer and the application of the label.

The selection of a good label roll will depend on the label printer specification, size (in diameter) of the label roll, the required durability of the label rolls, the color of the material, and your budget. Generally, label rolls are usually made of paper or plastic mixes; other materials may include foils, films, thermal stock, and adhesive.

Types of Label Rolls

There are several types of label rolls, and they are classified according to the printing technology used, the end-use application, and the type of label printer. Here is a list of general types of label rolls:

  • Direct thermal labels
  • Thermal transfer labels
  • Laser labels
  • Tags
  • Retail labels
  • Freight/ shipping labels

The Two Main Types of Labels You Should Know

The two main types of labels one should know are:

1. Direct Thermal Labels

As earlier said, the sales of label printers go hand in hand with the label rolls. Direct thermal labels are used with direct thermal printers; they are heat-sensitive labels. Direct thermal labels do not use ink, ribbons, or even tonners, making them very cost-efficient as there will be no need to buy those. Direct thermal labels are best suited for retail and other indoor environments with low heat and moisture levels due to their heat sensitivity. Also, due to their short shelf life, direct thermal labels are ideal for short-term prints and best suited for bulk printing, making them suitable for coupons, visitor passes, name tags, event tickets, dispatches, etc.

In summary, direct thermal labels are a good choice because:

  • They are cost-effective.
  • They are also time-saving.
  • They are suitable for bulk printing.
  • There is no wrinkling since ribbons are not involved.
  • They come in a variety of sizes.
  • There is no need for ribbons, ink, and others.

2. Thermal Transfer Labels

Compared to direct thermal labels, thermal transfer labels last longer and are more durable, and they are to be used with thermal transfer printers. Unlike the direct thermal label, the thermal transfer labels use ribbon or ink. Since they use ribbons or ink, high-resolution printing can be done with multiple colors in less than no time.

Thermal transfer labels are not heated sensitive, making them suitable for high temperatures and harsh conditions in outdoor environments. The durability of thermal transfer labels is dependent on the compatibility of ribbons and the label rolls, and stronger compatibility removes the option of adding protective laminates.

Due to how long they can last and the fact that they can be used outside (outdoors environment), they are mostly used for bar code printing, product identification, lab specimen, outdoors labeling, etc.

In summary, thermal transfer labels are a good choice because:

  • They have durable prints.
  • They are very clear with high resolution.
  • They are ideal for colored printing.
  • They can last very long and withstand extreme temperatures.

How to Measure Label Roll Sizes?

The measurement of a label roll size is something that requires a few technicalities, which will be explained below in detail;

  1. Label width: The label width refers to the width of the label roll when wound out of the hollow tube.
  2. Label length: The label width refers to the length of the label roll when wound out of the hollow tube.
  3. Finished web width refers to the maximum label roll that a specific label printer can carry.
  4. Gap: The gap is the space in the hollow tube.
  5. Corner radius refers to the length (radius) of the label roll when wrapped, from the hollow tube to the other extreme of the label.
  6. Core size: Generally, the core is the hollow tube on which the labels are wrapped. The size of the core varies and depends on the label printer but ranges from 25mm diameter core size and above.
  7. Label roll diameter: The label roll diameter refers to the length of one extreme to another while still wrapped on the core.
  8. Label shape: label a circular shape with an empty center (hollow space).
  9. Wound direction: This is used to wrap the label roll on the hollow tube. It is either clockwise or not.
  10. The difference between “labels” and “stickers”:
    • Stickers are about 4 times thicker than labels.
    • Stickers are made of premium thick vinyl, while labels are made of BOPP.
    • Labels peel faster compared to stickers.
    • Labels are used for product identification, while stickers are often used for brand promotion.
    • Labels provide information while the user determines the use of stickers.