Updated on 9 January 2023
Winner of the IF Design Award 2019 in its category, this model is ideal for office use. In addition to being efficient and functional, it features an LCD that allows you to preview the fonts (10), symbols (253), decorative frames (15) and writing styles you select. It has a QWERTY keyboard, and numeric keys and is powered by 6 AAA batteries (not included) or an AC adapter. In our tests, we liked the quality of the labels created, especially when it came to printing – by the way! It is compatible with labels from 3.5 to 12 mm and allows the possibility of printing several in a row before cutting the tape manually.
A labelling machine is a useful tool for the more organised. Some labellers are limited in the width of the ribbons, so choose a model that suits your needs. Whether the keyboard is circular or rectangular, it should be easy to type your chosen word. Some models have simplified ergonomics to suit children's hands.
A labelling machine is a useful tool for the more organised.
Some labellers are limited in the width of the ribbons, so choose a model that suits your needs.
Whether the keyboard is circular or rectangular, it should be easy to type your chosen word.
Some models have simplified ergonomics to suit children's hands.
This 9 mm model manages to compete with the rest thanks to its excellent price/performance ratio. Although it has no keyboard or display, this has little impact on the overall performance of the device. It is easy to use, thanks to its “turn and click” system and does not require batteries to operate. It is very intuitive, even the smallest children can use it without any problems. However, during our tests, we found it unfortunate that not all the letters were aligned on the ribbon and that you had to press very hard to get the print to print correctly.
In addition to its spectacular display, this labeller has a rechargeable battery and an efficient ergonomic keypad. Despite this, its compact size means it can be used with just one hand, even when on the move. But while these features are commendable, it’s the PC and Mac compatibility that is most surprising: it gives you access to a wide range of fonts and a more familiar interface for creating your labels. While this feature gives the 420P a chance to stand out from its rivals, it’s still not perfect, which is a shame considering its price.
This model has an ABC keypad with keys numbered A to J and can encode 195 distinct symbols. It works with 12mm labels and stands out from its rivals for its ability to print on coloured, transparent and even metallised ribbons and for its automatic power-off function to save energy. Our tests revealed that it needs 4 AA batteries to operate. On the other hand, we appreciate its label memory function (up to 9 labels), as well as the possibility to write on two lines (even if this makes everything appear very tight on the label and therefore less legible). Cutting is done manually and was not always very clean. Finally, changing the label is very easy.
|Our choice, Best mid-range||Best budget||Best high-end||Mid-range alternative|
|Brother PT-H110||Dymo Omega S0717930||Dymo LabelManager 420P||Dymo LetraTag LT100H|
|In addition to its durable labels, it has a proven international reputation. It is the portable labeller with the largest possible number of settings.||This model offers good value for money. It is used by simply turning the wheel to place the letter to be engraved and then simply pressing.||This label maker stands out from the crowd thanks to its compatibility with PC and Mac. It's a pity, however, that the latter needs a slight improvement...||It is the only one in this selection that can print on both metallic and transparent labels and has an automatic shut-off function for maximum battery saving.|
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How did we do the testing?
To test the label makers, we first checked whether it was possible to use them directly or whether they needed to be prepared beforehand (installation of the software, roll of labels or batteries to be inserted, etc.). Then we judged their ergonomics and ease of use (type of keyboard, buttons or wheel to turn before pressing a notch, automatic or mechanical cut-off…).
In addition, we evaluate the results of printing and cutting (sharp, clean, aligned, and straight…). For this, we differentiated between “relief” type printing (which rather engraves the symbols on a thicker plastic label and whose quality seemed to us to be lower) and thermal or ink printing (more similar to that of a printer). Finally, when the labels were plastic, we checked that they were dishwasher-proof, in case you want to mark pots and pans or other kitchen utensils.
How to choose a label maker?
If you’re looking for a label maker, you probably already have a good idea of how you’re going to use it. So whether you decide to use it to organise your home or to optimise your workspace, this tool will save you time and the stress that often comes with sorting or cleaning.
As the market is full of models of all kinds, we have listed some criteria to consider to make a considered and useful choice:
- The keyboard: the usability of the keyboard, whether circular or rectangular, is an important element for the fast and error-free composition of the chosen word(s). Large keys and good legibility of letters are essential.
- The display (if any): for the characters to be visible, the display must be large enough. Although some labellers have a screen capable of displaying 3 to 5 lines of text, most only display one.
- The type of power supply: although the cheaper models are usually battery-operated, the vast majority have a rechargeable battery or are plugged directly into the mains. Which do you prefer? A portable battery-powered model or a static battery-powered model?
- Consumables: some label makers are limited by the width of the ribbons they can use. So remember to choose your machine and labels according to your wishes and, above all, your needs.
- Compatibility: many of these devices are compatible with PCs and/or smartphones. In addition to allowing you to use a familiar interface, this compatibility also ensures a wider variety of fonts and characters.
Other models we recommend
Brother PT-H107 (£41.00 upon publication): another mid-range option. Similar to “Our Choice”, this model proved to be a little less ergonomic and complete during our tests. It integrates an ABC keyboard instead of an AZERTY keyboard, so it offers fewer options (177 symbols and 9 text styles, but only one font). On the other hand, it remains simple and instinctive to use.
Brother QL-700 (£89.63 upon publication): a more complete model, but also complex. This Plug&Play model has no screen, as it simply connects to your computer to create and print your labels. Capable of editing your texts on tapes and labels of different widths, it has a high printing speed (150 mm/sec) and offers automatic cutting. Unfortunately, it takes between 5 and 10 minutes to install, unlike the handheld models, which can be used straight away. In addition, the software is not very intuitive.
Other models we have tested
Dymo Junior S0717900 (£13.58 upon publication): an inexpensive label maker, but there is room for improvement. When we tried it out, we didn’t like the fact that the part that allows the tape to be pressed into place came off the main block (it happened a couple of times). Therefore, we had to “play” a bit with the roll to make it fit again. Also, as with the Dymo Omega, you have to press quite hard on the mechanism to get the print correct, and the letters don’t all line up.
Translated by Ramsés El Hajje