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The 6 Best Label Makers of 2023

We tested label makers from DYMO, Brother, Brady, Phomemo, Epson, and more to find the best models
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Best Label Maker Review (We've tested the best label makers available today side-by-side.)
We've tested the best label makers available today side-by-side.
Credit: Alex Glades
By Ross Patton and Alex Glades  ⋅  May 9, 2024

The Best Label Makers for 2023


Our team of home office experts researched the best label makers on the market before purchasing the top 14 models to compare side-by-side. We carefully unpackaged, set up, installed, and printed with each of these label makers until we thoroughly understood each device's strengths and weaknesses. Our product testers broke the assessment down into three key metrics — ease of setup, ease of use, and features and settings. Our in-depth testing and analysis helped us determine which ones are best for different applications, and to pass that buying advice onto you with this comprehensive review.

Whether it's labeling the storage bins in your garage, some mason jars in your pantry, or printing shipping labels, having the right tools at hand helps you better run your home or small business. Our tech experts have reviewed tons of products to help you dial in your office gear. Whether you're looking for a new photo printer or something as simple as a pencil sharpener, our in-depth reviews have you covered.

Editor's Note: We updated this review on May 9, 2024, to add information about our testing and provide readers with a section on buying advice.

Top 14 Label Makers - Test Results

Displaying 6 - 10 of 14
 
Awards Top Pick Award   Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $120 List
$110.64 at Amazon
$25 List
$24.99 at Amazon
$48 List
$39.45 at Amazon
$20.00 List$50 List
$26.99 at Amazon
Overall Score
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75
73
Star Rating
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Pros Trade work presets, built to last, large fontsInexpensive, cutter button, decorative options, large keyboardEasy to use, no setup time, Qwerty keyboardNo setup, time stamp function, integrated keyboardUser-friendly app, lots of templates & stickers, no registration, great cutting button
Cons Cumbersome, no computer connection, requires batteriesTakes time to learn, no mobile app or software option, limited fontsSingle font, cannot print barcodesPrints slowly, lacking featuresLimited tape sizes, not ideal for professional use
Bottom Line A durable device that can withstand the wear and tear of everyday dutiesAn average performing label maker with a large keyboard and simple featuresA fantastic standalone model that is ready to go as soon as it's powered upEasy label creation at an affordable priceAn affordable Bluetooth model that works well and is easy to use
Rating Categories Brady BMP21-PLUS Brother PT-M95 DYMO Label Manager 160 Brother P-Touch PT70BM MakeID Label Maker
Ease of Use (45%)
8.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Settings and Features (35%) Sort Icon
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Ease of Setup (20%)
9.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Specs Brady BMP21-PLUS Brother PT-M95 DYMO Label Manager 160 Brother P-Touch PT70BM MakeID Label Maker
Dimensions 4.5 x 2.5 x 9.5 in 5.7 x 4.5 x 2.5 in 2.6 x 6.3 x 10.4 in 6.6 x 4.3 x 2.3 in 1.6 x 0.8 x 1.6 in
Weight 1.6 lbs 8.7 oz 13.7 oz 8.0 oz 7.1 oz
Bluetooth No No No No Yes
Power Source 6 AA Batteries 4 AAA Batteries 6 AAA Batteries 4 AAA Batteries Integrated Battery
Keyboard Qwerty Qwerty Qwerty Qwerty Smartphone
Print Size 1/4" to 3/4" 0.35" to 0.47" 1/4" to 1/2" 1/2" 16 mm
System Integrated Integrated Integrated Integrated Smartphone App
Printing Technology Thermal Thermal Thermal Thermal Thermal


Best Overall Label Maker


DYMO Label Manager 420P


90
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Use 9.0
  • Settings and Features 9.0
  • Ease of Setup 9.0
REASONS TO BUY
Effortless setup
User-friendly
Works seamlessly with desktop software
REASONS TO AVOID
Lacks Bluetooth connectivity
Relatively small label width
SPECIFICATIONS
Weight 2.1 lbs
Dimensions 7.4 x 3.9 x 9.8 in
Bluetooth No
Power Source Integrated Battery
Keyboard Qwerty or PC/Mac
The DYMO Label Manager 420P is impressively versatile. At face value, it works similarly to other models with integrated keyboards — once it's powered up and turned on, you simply type what you'd like and press “print.” With an internal lithium-ion battery, this model is ideal for stores, laboratories, warehouses, and offices where you need to be mobile while creating labels. Where the 420P stands apart from the other transportable versions is that it is also designed to connect to a computer as the printer for DYMO Connect label-making software. Once linked via the desktop software, this seemingly generic label maker can print labels using any font on your computer. It can print other essentials, too, including shipping labels, barcodes, and QR codes.

The DYMO Label Manager 420P does have a few small drawbacks. Many models — like the equally powerful Brother P-Touch Cube Plus — use Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to create labels on a smartphone or tablet and wirelessly print them with your device. But with the DYMO 420P, you will either need to use the keyboard or connect it directly to your computer with the included USB cable. The label width is limited to ¾", so you'll need to choose a different model if you want to print larger labels, like name tags, badges, or larger shipping labels. Minor flaws aside, the 420P is still the best choice for folks looking for a great all-around label maker.

label maker - the dymo label manager 420p works on its own, or it can be connected...
The DYMO Label Manager 420P works on its own, or it can be connected to unlock a plethora of extra functions.
Credit: Ross Patton

Best Bluetooth Label Maker


Brother P-Touch Cube Plus PT-P710BT


86
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Use 9.0
  • Settings and Features 9.0
  • Ease of Setup 7.0
REASONS TO BUY
Bluetooth technology
Great computer and smartphone programs
USB charging
REASONS TO AVOID
Requires app
Limited width
SPECIFICATIONS
Weight 1.4 lbs
Dimensions 5.0 x 5.0 x 2.6 in
Bluetooth Yes
Power Source Integrated Battery
Keyboard Smartphone
The Brother P-Touch Cube Plus is easily our favorite Bluetooth label maker. This device wirelessly links to a smartphone or tablet using the Brother P-touch Design&Print 2 app. The newly revamped version of the app is vibrant, easy to use, and offers a ton of templates. But what if you'd like to connect your label maker to a computer? In that case, the Brother P-touch Editor provides even more features and templates than the smartphone app, ranging from retail to hobby applications, to health warnings and kitchen organization.

The downside to Bluetooth technology is that it requires a third-party device to interface with the label maker. If you want a model with a keyboard on the maker itself, you're better suited to the DYMO 420P. Unfortunately, the P-Touch Cube Plus is also not designed to print wider label types, such as shipping labels for larger packages or nutritional information stickers. Despite these small shortcomings, this model is still a great choice if you're in the market for a Bluetooth label maker with a huge variety of tape colors and templates.

label maker - the brother p-touch cube plus can use an array of tapes with...
The Brother P-Touch Cube Plus can use an array of tapes with virtually endless fonts.
Credit: Laura Casner

Best Bang for the Buck


Brother P-Touch PT70BM


75
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Use 8.0
  • Settings and Features 6.0
  • Ease of Setup 9.0
REASONS TO BUY
Qwerty keyboard
Time and date button
No setup
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited functions
Slow
SPECIFICATIONS
Weight 8.0 oz
Dimensions 6.6 x 4.3 x 2.3 in
Bluetooth No
Power Source 4 AAA Batteries
Keyboard Qwerty
We recommend the Brother P-touch PT70BM if you're shopping for a digital label maker on a budget. This device is preprogrammed and ready to print right out of the package — slap some batteries in, and it's ready to go. We've noticed that qwerty keyboards, such as the one on this model, are more natural to use than those with buttons in alphabetical order. The PT70BM has a button dedicated to a time and date stamp, which can be very handy for keeping things organized.

The PT70BM has a few shortcomings. There are very few options for letter sizing, fonts, and symbols, and it can't print barcodes. If you're after greater functionality at an affordable price point, consider the Bluetooth-capable Phomemo D30. We also weren't thrilled that you need to press a shift key on the P-Touch PT70BM to switch between letters and numbers — other models have buttons dedicated to numbers that make typing faster and easier. There is also a slight lag between when characters are entered and when they appear on the screen. Lastly, when it comes to printing, this device is outright slow. However, the PT70BM handles most tasks at a fraction of the cost of many other label makers.

label maker - if you want a digital label maker and you're shopping on a budget...
If you want a digital label maker and you're shopping on a budget, the Brother P-touch PT70BM is a great choice.
Credit: Laura Casner

An Affordable Bluetooth Model


Phomemo D30


77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Use 6.5
  • Settings and Features 9.0
  • Ease of Setup 8.0

REASONS TO BUY
Minimalist design
Feature-packed app
Quick-print option
Printable barcodes and QR codes
REASONS TO AVOID
No cutter button
Single size label
SPECIFICATIONS
Weight 5.7 oz
Dimensions 5.3 x 3 x 1.1 in
Bluetooth Yes
Power Source Integrated Battery
Keyboard Smartphone
The simple yet powerful Phomemo D30 label maker is jam-packed with advanced features, all for a price that's hard to beat. This machine connects to the Print Master mobile app through Bluetooth, where you'll find loads of templates, icons, fonts, and more. The menu also has a large selection of quick-print labels that include commonly used items like spices, medications, and cleaning supplies. The labels are straightforward to create, with the option to view and resize the label prior to printing. The D30 is one of the few price point models that print QR codes, barcodes, and data tables. For casual use around the house or office, this minimalist label maker is a breeze to use. And once you've run out of labels, you can easily order more through the app.

Of course, the Phomemo isn't without its faults. The machine only accepts one label size, so don't expect to create shipping labels. Fortunately, the app keeps track of your previous prints, so it's no trouble to reprint labels. But it doesn't feature a cutter, so you'll need to rip the label off when you want to remove it — we definitely tore a few labels before we got the hang of this. If that sounds annoying, consider the MakeID Label Maker, another reasonably priced Bluetooth model that comes with a cut button. Although the Phomemo includes a unique feature to print photos, we found this capability practically useless. The photos are so small and washed out that you can't distinguish the original picture. However, for the casual user, this label maker is an excellent choice and is offered at a price that will keep your wallet happy.

The one-click print feature of the Phomemo D30 label maker makes it easy to quickly print commonly used items.
Credit: Alex Glades

Best for Professional Use


Brother QL-800


80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Use 8.0
  • Settings and Features 9.0
  • Ease of Setup 6.0

REASONS TO BUY
Lightning fast
Software works great
Prints postage
App senses roll size
REASONS TO AVOID
No keyboard or Bluetooth
Non-portable
SPECIFICATIONS
Weight 2.5 lbs
Dimensions 8.4 x 4.9 x 5.6 in
Bluetooth No
Power Source AC Cord or 6 AAA Batteries
Keyboard PC/Mac
If you're looking for a desktop label maker that prints incredibly quickly, it's hard to top the Brother QL-800. This model prints a ridiculous 97 standard address labels per minute, so if you've got a lot of parcels to send, you will not be waiting on this machine. Brother's newest version of their P-touch software is nothing short of awesome. It has templates for all kinds of labels, including ID badges, barcodes, hobby uses, and even wine bottles. If you can't find a template you like, the software also allows you to import files or create labels from scratch. One of our favorite features that sets this label maker apart from similar models is that it automatically senses the size of label tape you have loaded into the machine. The QL-800 is also postage-ready — just pay for your postage online, download the file, print a sticker, and you're ready to send.

Unlike mobile models or hybrids, like the Brother P-Touch Cub Plus, the QL-800 is meant to stay in place. It needs to be connected to a computer via USB and an AC power source to function. It lacks a keyboard and does not offer Bluetooth connectivity, so the only way to create a label is with Brother's desktop software. However, for those in the market for a professional desktop label maker, it's tough to beat the speed and capabilities of the QL-800.

label maker - the brother ql-800 can crank out nearly 100 shipping labels per...
The Brother QL-800 can crank out nearly 100 shipping labels per minute.
Credit: Ross Patton

Best for Trade Workers and Job Sites


Brady BMP21-PLUS


79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Use 8.0
  • Settings and Features 7.0
  • Ease of Setup 9.0

REASONS TO BUY
Durable
Presets for trade work
Many font sizes
REASONS TO AVOID
Pricey
Bulky
SPECIFICATIONS
Weight 1.6 lbs
Dimensions 4.5 x 2.5 x 9.5 in
Bluetooth No
Power Source 6 AA Batteries
Keyboard Qwerty
New Version Available — June 2023
This specific model has been discontinued and replaced by the Brady M210, which Brady states has very similar performance. The M210 has nearly identical specs and features, but there are almost double the characters available on the updated version. We're linking to the updated model in our review, but be aware that our review text only pertains to our experience with the BMP21-PLUS.

We recommend the Brady BMP21-PLUS if you're looking for a label maker built to survive the everyday conditions of a job site. This device has passed military standard shock and vibration testing to 810G standards, so it can take some physical abuse. The BMP21-PLUS has several presets for applications in the fields of video and communications, sound, and electrical, and it can print barcodes. If you want to print extra large lettering, then this label maker is the way to go — it can print up to a size 40 font.

The BMP21-PLUS isn't exactly compact. This model weighs 1.6 pounds and measures more than 9 inches long, 4 inches wide, and 3 inches thick. If you're looking for a label maker that can easily slip into a desk drawer, we recommend looking at a smaller, lighter model, like the DYMO Label Manager 160. The BMP21-PLUS is also a bit on the pricey side for the capabilities that it offers. Despite its flaws, it's the perfect option for outdoor job sites and industrial applications.

label maker - despite its equal aptitude for the office, we really recommend the...
Despite its equal aptitude for the office, we really recommend the Brady BMP21-PLUS for trade workers, electricians, and others who will create labels in the field.
Credit: Laura Casner

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
90
DYMO Label Manager 420P
Best Overall Label Maker
$190
Editors' Choice Award
86
Brother P-Touch Cube Plus PT-P710BT
Best Bluetooth Label Maker
$100
Editors' Choice Award
80
Brother QL-800
Best for Professional Use
$110
Top Pick Award
80
DYMO Label Manager 160
$48
79
Brady BMP21-PLUS
Best for Trade Workers and Job Sites
$120
Top Pick Award
77
Phomemo D30
An Affordable Bluetooth Model
$30
Best Buy Award
75
Brother P-Touch PT70BM
Best Bang for the Buck
$20
Best Buy Award
74
Epson Labelworks LW-PX400
$185
73
MakeID Label Maker
$50
Best Buy Award
70
Brother PT-M95
$25
67
Phomemo M220
$99
66
DYMO LetraTag LT-100H
$50
51
DYMO Organizer Xpress Pro
$17
47
NIIMBOT D110
$36

label maker - we purchase every product from the same retailers as our readers for...
We purchase every product from the same retailers as our readers for hands-on, side-by-side analysis.
Credit: Laura Casner

How We Test Label Makers


Over the past few years, we have made it our mission to find the best label makers available. During our extended testing period, we printed hundreds of labels, and noted how simple it was to create and use them. Additionally, we assessed the features and setup, including the user-friendliness of mobile apps. We tallied the scores after our intensive test cycle to determine the best models for particular applications.

Our label maker testing is divided into three rating metrics:
  • Ease of Use (45% of overall score weighting)
  • Settings and Features (35% weighting)
  • Ease of Setup (20% weighting)

Why Trust GearLab


To tackle the task of comparing label makers, we called upon review editor Alex Glades. Alex has a formal background in the sciences as a Physical Therapist. He brings his analytical eye and passion for exploration to thoroughly test every product that crosses his path. With the support of his team's extensive experience and knowledge about these products, you can rest assured that they put these label makers through the wringer.

Senior review editor Ross Patton laid the groundwork for this review. Ross has a long list of technical, electronic product reviews under his belt, including deep dives into products as varied as WiFi extenders, battery-powered chainsaws, and the best trail cameras on the market.

We printed piles of labels in order to inspect their quality.
We printed piles of labels in order to inspect their quality.
The Phomemo D30 is an easy-to-use, Bluetooth-powered label maker at...
The Phomemo D30 is an easy-to-use, Bluetooth-powered label maker at an affordable price point.
Some models, like the DYMO 420P, are able to print any font that you...
Some models, like the DYMO 420P, are able to print any font that you have on your computer.

How to Pick the Best Label Maker


Between the connection type, label widths, and the different functions, finding the right label maker can feel overwhelming. To make the process a bit easier, we've come up with four key buying considerations to help narrow down your selection process.

How Often Do You Make Labels?


While some people are looking for a label maker to operate in a fast-paced work setting to help create shipping and product labels, others may need a label maker for occasional use and for at-home projects. Looking for label makers that are meant to excel in professional/office use is important for those who need the extra performance, while folks who only need occasional use out of their label maker can find cheaper and simpler options.

label maker - choosing the right label maker is largely dependent on the setting...
Choosing the right label maker is largely dependent on the setting you plan to use it in, whether that's at home, in the office, or at a warehouse.
Credit: Laura Casner

Do You Need Custom Labels?


If you have complex labels and more sophisticated text or numbers, you'll want to seek a label maker with a wide range of templates, presets, and fonts. Models that offer desktop connection will allow for more customization, such as importing fonts and files. Consider the complexity of your labels and decide if spending a bit more for a label maker with the option for customization is worth it.

label maker - smartphone-oriented label makers excel in home settings where...
Smartphone-oriented label makers excel in home settings where customization is key.
Credit: Alex Glades

Keyboard vs Digital?


While most people are familiar with the traditional interface of a label maker with a built-in keyboard, digital models with smartphone connectivity are also fantastic options. These are great for operating in home and office settings where you might prioritize features and portability over speed and having a dedicated space for a larger label maker. If you prefer the feeling and setup of a physical keyboard, there are plenty of options, but if you don't mind the digital interface on a smartphone or computer and want to utilize more functions and features, then a digital maker is the right choice.

What About Label Width?


Label makers offer different widths and sizes, from small single-size labels to industrial-size labels meant for packaging and shipping. If you need to print larger labels, consider options with the ability to adjust label width and those that can accommodate bigger widths.

label maker - label makers come in a wide range of widths, so it's important to...
Label makers come in a wide range of widths, so it's important to consider options that will work best for your intended use.
Credit: Alex Glades

Analysis and Test Results


To kick off our search for the best label makers, we thoroughly researched the market to narrow our options down to only the top models. We then purchased these products for hands-on, side-by-side evaluation. Our testing procedure breaks the total score down into three weighted performance metrics: Ease of Use, Settings and Features, and Ease of Setup. In the following sections, we discuss each of these metrics in detail and highlight the top scorers within the context of these key buying considerations.


Value


The application for which you plan to use your label maker will largely affect how much you'll need to spend. If you're looking for a basic label maker, in many instances, the Brother PT70BM will get the job done — though it doesn't offer wireless connectivity. For those looking to organize a workshop, a kitchen, or a home office, and nothing more, there's no reason to buy anything pricier than the Phomemo D30, which is our first choice for an affordable Bluetooth label maker.

The Brother P-Touch Cube Plus is another Bluetooth model that costs significantly more than the Phomemo D30, but offers substantially more functions for professional applications, including shipping label printing. For tradespeople who need a label maker for industrial applications such as labeling wire panels and circuit boards, the Brady BMP21-PLUS is well worth the investment. If you want a handheld label maker with an integrated keyboard that also connects to a computer for creating shipping labels, barcodes, QR codes, and more, then we recommend the dynamic DYMO 420P.

label maker - for everyday labeling tasks, the phomemo d30 presents and incredible...
For everyday labeling tasks, the Phomemo D30 presents and incredible value.
Credit: Alex Glades

Ease of Use


For this section, we subjectively judged how difficult each device was to use for everyday applications. We also carefully examined the tape cartridges and assessed how difficult they were to install or remove. It is important to note that this metric covers user-friendliness only once a label maker is unboxed and powered on, and all necessary Bluetooth connections, drivers, and applications are installed — we will cover Ease of Setup in a later discussion.


For the models that require a phone app, the Brother Cube Plus stands out as incredibly intuitive. The tape cartridges are simple to install, and the freshly updated Brother Design&Print 2 app offers a seamless user interface for iOS and Android devices. If you're looking for a more affordable Bluetooth model that is still relatively easy to use, the apps featured on the MakeID Label Maker and Phomemo D30 are the way to go.

label maker - the various smartphone apps have drastic variations in their...
The various smartphone apps have drastic variations in their approach to user-interface.
Credit: Ross Patton

The P-Touch Cube Plus and the ​​Brother QL-800 both use the Brother computer app called P-touch Editor, which is our favorite label editing software that we've seen to date. This program is incredibly user-friendly and offers a ton of templates, from laboratory and industrial labels to office and craft uses.

label maker - the brother ql-800 requires you to install the p-touch editor in...
The Brother QL-800 requires you to install the P-touch Editor in order to print labels.
Credit: Ross Patton

The Brother PT70BM and DYMO 420P both have qwerty keyboards that are intuitively designed. We love the extra-large buttons with elementary symbols on the 420P, while the PT70BM has a time and date shortcut button for keeping tabs on those details. The label cartridges for both models only require a moderate amount of know-how and effort to install.

label maker - qwerty keyboards are a bit easier to use than those that have...
Qwerty keyboards are a bit easier to use than those that have letters in alphabetical order.
Credit: Ross Patton

If you choose to connect the DYMO 420P to a computer to get the most functionality out of the device, you'll need to download the DYMO Connect software and a driver. But once installed, this program was one of our favorite desktop applications.

label maker - dymo connect is a computer program that allows you to print...
DYMO Connect is a computer program that allows you to print barcodes, price tags, or customize labels for the LabelManager 420P.
Credit: Ross Patton

The Brady BMP21-PLUS tape cartridge snaps right into place on the front of the device, which makes the process of changing tape super simple. We found that the rubber jacketing surrounding this device's body, combined with its handy lanyard, makes it incredibly easy to transport and hold onto — traits that make it ideal for use in a warehouse or on a job site.

label maker - the lanyard on the bmp21-plus helps ensure you don't drop your...
The lanyard on the BMP21-Plus helps ensure you don't drop your investment.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Brother PT-M95 doesn't offer the same software bells and whistles, but that might be a nice reprieve for those who prefer a minimalistic take. With this model, simply pop in some batteries, and you're ready to go. The large keyboard is easy to use, and a cutter button creates clean labels. The machine does include font modifications and decorations, so you can still get creative with your labels.

The Brother PT-M95 prints a clean-looking label with its easy-cut button.
Credit: Alex Glades

Settings and Features


If you're looking for a simple label maker to keep things organized in the garage, you may only need a very basic label maker. On the flip side, if you're looking for a label maker for arts and crafts or to use at the office, it might make sense to get a model that offers a variety of fonts or Bluetooth connectivity. If you're looking to organize products or a warehouse, it'd be wise to get an industrial model with barcode printing capabilities. For this section, we examined each model's features and settings, and how those features make some models preferable to others for specific applications.


As top-of-the-line professional options, the Dymo 420P, Brother Cube Plus, and Brother QL-800 all offer an unprecedented array of settings and options for label types and fonts. These devices are compatible with most Google and Apple font libraries, there are tons of templates, and they print several types of barcodes. Thanks to the ability to use various types of tape — including bright colors and even glitter — they're also great for crafts or creating labels for gift packs, wedding seating placements, or point-of-purchase retail.

label maker - the phomemo d30 is one of the few that create qr codes. simply type...
The Phomemo D30 is one of the few that create QR codes. Simply type in the URL and click print.
Credit: Alex Glades

Alternatively, the Phomemo D30 and Make ID offer some of the best features around at a budget-friendly price. Neither of these machines has a screen, so you'll be doing most of the work on your smartphone. The Phomemo's preloaded content library makes printing easy with just a few clicks.

The Phomemo mobile app has a large selection of fonts that can be...
The Phomemo mobile app has a large selection of fonts that can be resized prior to printing.
The Phomemo D30 has a one-click print menu option that has commonly...
The Phomemo D30 has a one-click print menu option that has commonly used items for a quick label.

For those in the trade industries, the Brady BMP21-PLUS offers several attractive features, including many presets for electricians, scientists, and AV specialists. This device can also print barcodes for those working in a warehouse or retail setting.

label maker - the brady bmp21-plus is great for the workplace, office or otherwise.
The Brady BMP21-PLUS is great for the workplace, office or otherwise.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Setup


For this section, we considered how long it takes for each model to go from unboxing to print-ready. Surprisingly, we discovered large differences in the setup process for each label maker. Some require software installation on a desktop or a laptop computer, others require a smartphone app, some require charging or installing batteries, while others are ready to go right out of the box. Keep in mind — a model that takes longer for initial setup may ultimately save time and increase efficiency in the long run.


We recommend the DYMO Organizer Xpress Pro if you are looking for a model that is ready to go directly out of the package — this fully manual option doesn't even require batteries. The label maker even comes with preloaded tape, so you can start creating tags in a matter of seconds.

label maker - the dymo organizer xpress pro prints labels in seconds without the...
The DYMO Organizer Xpress Pro prints labels in seconds without the use of batteries or software.
Credit: Laura Casner

A few of our favorite models come pre-programmed and only require you to put in batteries and take a glance through the instruction booklet before they are ready to go. The top options in this class include the DYMO Label Manager 160 and LetraTag LT-100H, the Brother PT70BM, and the industrial Brady BMP21-PLUS.

label maker - the dymo label manager 420p is ready to print as soon as you install...
The DYMO Label Manager 420P is ready to print as soon as you install a printer cartridge and turn it on.
Credit: Ross Patton

Bluetooth models — like the Brother Cube Plus and Phomemo D30 — require installing an app on a smartphone, tablet, or computer before you can print labels. You'll also need to pair the device to the label maker, which can be a bit of a pain sometimes, and don't forget that the lithium-ion battery needs to be charged before using most Bluetooth models.

label maker - the makeid label maker requires a bluetooth connection to a...
The MakeID Label Maker requires a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone or tablet in order to operate.
Credit: Ross Patton

The models that were the most difficult to set up are those that require you to download and install software on a computer. Unlike smartphone apps, computer apps are larger files that take longer to download. These types of label makers also require a USB connection to print, and some require plug-in AC power. Out of all of the desktop models we tested, setting up the Brother QL-800 was the easiest, thanks to the seamless integration of the Brother P-Touch software. If you'd like to utilize the DYMO Connect app for the Label Manager 420P, be sure to download the appropriate driver to unlock the desktop capabilities of this model.

label maker - the brother ql-800 need to be plugged into the wall as well as your...
The Brother QL-800 need to be plugged into the wall as well as your computer in order to print labels.
Credit: Ross Patton

Conclusion


The primary goal at GearLab is to guide our readers to the perfect products for their needs and budget. During our in-depth assessment, we thoughtfully examined each label maker to provide you with the most accurate information. After reading this article, we hope you now have the knowledge and information you need to buy the ideal label maker for yourself or your business.

For other supplies for your home office, we've tested everything from the best WiFi mesh systems to the best printers and scanners, and can offer our expert recommendations for the top standing desk converters and our favorite paper shredders.

Ross Patton and Alex Glades