7 Best Color Thermal Label Printer [Reviewed & Buyer’s Guide]

Owning a color label printer can be both fun and convenient.

Many would go as far as to say that these are the best substitute for desktop printers – and a lot more affordable too. But why would you need a color label printer?

Not only does it save you a lot of time, energy, and money, but your business will look a lot more professional to your clients. And for that to happen, you would need to have an exceptional color thermal label printer. But before we explore this further, letā€™s take a look at the different factors you need to consider.

Having the freedom to print your label at your convenience the way you want can do wonders. But for this to happen, you have to ensure that your label printer is portable, functional, and user-friendly.

Which color thermal label printer is the best pick for you? Find out!

Best Color Thermal Label Printers

Our Top PickOur Top PickArchilb-table__imageBrother VC500W
  • Versatile printing - photos, labels, stickers, and more
  • Connects to and prints directly from your notes, social media, and camera
  • Get creative by connecting to other color label editor apps
Archilb-table__imagePolono Label Printer
  • Supports multiple systems
  • Auto-learns your paper size
  • Can be widely used for various shipping and selling platforms
Archilb-table__imageMFLABEL White Color Thermal Printer
  • Accommodates labels up toĀ 108mm(4.25" inches) wide, including 4 x 6 inches
  • Compatible with Windows (XP and newer)
  • Multi-functional label printing
Archilb-table__imagePrimera LX500
  • Label options in over 20 materials
  • Prints various label sizes up to 4 x 24 inches
Archilb-table__imageEpson TM-C3500
  • Robust design for commercial use
  • Supports all major applications
  • Rare-feed capability for large rolls and fan fold
Archilb-table__imagePrimera LX900 Color Label Printer
  • Creates label print width vary from 0.75 inches to 8.25 inches
  • Compatible with various systems
Archilb-table__imageEpson TM-C7500
  • 12" per second print speed
  • Low cost of labeling

Best color thermal label printer

1. Brother VC500W

Who wouldn’t want to make their brand stand out by using colorful labels? Printing labels makes it easier for our brand to stand out on the market.Ā  Not only do you get to create labels and customize them, but you also get to personalize invitations, gifts, and more without breaking the bank.

Brother - ColAura Color Photo and Label Printer (Packaging May Vary),...
  • PRINT WITHOUT INK: ColAura uses ZINK Zero Ink...

Why Did We Like It?

There are various things to consider when looking for the best color label printer. One of them is how conveniently easy it is to use.

Now, you’d often have to be in the vicinity to create and print labels, which wasn’t the most feasible approach. However, this is an ideal label printer for small businesses due to how you can wirelessly print from anywhere virtually by sharing a network on your tablets or smartphones.

Another major concern would be running out of ink cartridges or not having the kind you need. But you don’t have to worry about that with this compact label printer. Why? Well, due to the ZINK zero ink technology, you wouldn’t need any ink.

Moreover, the paper is smudge and water tear-resistant, making it incredibly easy to work with. These Brother CK and CZ label rolls have a built-in automatic cutter and adhesive backing, further enhancing the label quality.

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What Could’ve Been Better?

One of the many highlights of this label printer is how quickly and efficiently it will print labels. However, what we’ve come to notice is that not only does it take a little longer to print it, but it gets buggy after struggling to print a few labels.

  • Easy to use and connect
  • No ink required to print
  • Durable adhesive-backed paper
  • Built-in automatic cutter
  • Not as quick and efficient as advertised

2. Polono Label Printer

Printing labels for your small business can be a huge task, especially when the amount you need is considerably low. So, to make the process a lot more cost-efficient, it is always best to have quality label printers at your disposal. And this thermal label printer is just what you need.

POLONO Shipping Label Printer, PL60 4x6 Label Printer for Shipping...
  • 怐High-Speed Printing怑 Supported high-speed...
  • 怐Easy Installment怑 One minute to set up, Time...

Why Did We Like It?

It is incredibly hard to find a sustainable shipping label printer, and this product is astonishingly eco-friendly. How? Well, due to the advanced direct thermal technology, this product completely eradicates the need for ink cartridges. It instead uses thermal paper and can print an extraordinary amount of retail labels.

Another issue with some label printers is that the product labels you print aren’t of good print quality. But the Polono label printer has an automatic label identification feature that not only has an intelligent paper return function but will also bring a lot of convenience to your small business.

Most commercial color label printers aren’t the easiest to set up and install. But with this one, all you need is one minute, a quick startup guide along with a flash drive containing the rest of the process, and you print quality shipping labels. The high printing speed also reduces time wastage by printing up to 72 color labels per minute.

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What Couldā€™ve Been Better?

The color label printer wasn’t even out of the box long, and it looked like it would malfunction soon. Not only did it have a red light going off constantly, but it also was quite noisy. It would continue to jam up and make a jarring grinding sound.

  • Advanced direct thermal technology
  • Automatic label identification
  • Easy installation and set up
  • High printing speed
  • Jams up and makes a grinding noise

3. MFLABEL White Color Thermal Printer

Many small businesses overlook purchasing label printers due to the misconception of them being inconvenient and not as cost-efficient. And even though getting them mass-produced from some vendor seems convenient, you end up spending a lot more money. However, this mass color label printer is compact and can print everything from labels to bar codes.

MFLABEL 4x6 Direct Thermal Printer, White Commercial Direct Thermal...
  • No paper jam and stuck, no ink/TTR ribbon...
  • Unbeatable Fast Printing Speed & Stable

Why Did We Like It?

One of the most common occurrences with every printer is successfully running out of ink cartridges right in the middle of something incredibly important – sale, big order, presentation, or more.

But with shipping label printers such as this one, you wouldn’t have anything to worry about. Why? Because this thermal color label printer doesn’t have an ink or TRR requirement. This means there would be little to no ink wastage and only receive high-quality prints.

Paper jamming can also be an issue, especially when all your sticky labels get backed up in the middle of your color label printer. This also means that the labels printed come out or happen to be smeared, making them pretty unusable. But this thermal printer guarantees no paper jams and will produce high-quality prints with ease.

You will end up saving a lot of money with this color label printer because it prints durable full-color labels, shipping labels, ID labels, and even barcodes!

What Couldā€™ve Been Better?

One of the many expectations we had with this particular thermal printer is how easy it would be to install and use. While this printer does come with an instruction manual, CD, and a USB wire, the instructions aren’t well written and make the experience slightly unpleasant.

  • No ink cartridges
  • No paper jamming
  • High-quality prints
  • Print labels that work across everything
  • Not as easy to install as advertised

4. Primera LX500

Up until now, we’ve only talked about color label printers that don’t require you to use an ink cartridge, but this standalone label printer offers you just that and so much more. So, if you’re a small business with various products and need to create labels accordingly, then this model would be ideal for you.

PrimeraĀ® LX500 Color Label Printer 74275 4800 DPI Printer with...
  • Prints labels up to 4" wide x 24" long
  • 4800 DPI full-color photo-quality printing

Why Did We Like It?

This color label offers the option of printing over 20 materials ranging from paper labels, polyester to even clear glossy labels. So, it’s fair to assume that the print resolution and quality will be just as good. And this is because a color label printer provides full-color, photo-quality print labels – perfect for things like food packaging, promotional products, retail labels, and more.

Many label printers don’t give you the option of printing labels in whatever shape or size you require or desire. But not only does this color label printer offer label sizes ranging from the smallest to the largest, but it also has a built-in label cutter that allows you to print quality labels in any particular shape you want.

And despite the set-up of this model being slightly tougher compared to the other products in this list, once you’ve got the hang of it, the printing speed and print resolution of the color labels make it worth it.

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What Couldā€™ve Been Better?

One of our only complaints with this color label printer would be the ink cartridges. You have to purchase them separately, which usually wouldn’t be much of an issue. However, with how quickly the ink cartridges get used up, you’ll end up spending more than anticipated on just this.

  • Great print resolution
  • Multi-functional label printing
  • In-built label cutter
  • Great printing speed
  • Eats up ink a lot faster, and ink cartridges are sold separately

5. Epson TM-C3500

Labels often help determine and define a business for their respective clients. And it doesn’t matter if you’re looking to print commercial labels, tags, or more because you would require color label printers that can deliver quality product labels. The Epson TM – C3500 prints labels quickly and makes it seem effortless.

Epson TM-C3500 ColorWorks C31CD54011 4-Color Printer
  • Whether you're printing labels, tickets or tags,...
  • Ethernet and USB connectivity

Why Did We Like It?

The process of manufacturing labels when you’re a small business can often be taxing due to how expensive it can be. This also depends on how many color labels you get every purchase. Regardless of the number, the constant back and forth can get a little tedious pretty quickly.

But getting this label printer for small businesses is ideal because it works for an incredibly long time and prints quality labels quickly and effortlessly.

This color label printer is versatile when it comes to paper feed. And this allows you to print labels varying from postal labels, commercial labels, color labels, to even tags. It is specifically designed to aid your small business due to its high-quality print speeds of up to 103mm/sec.

Furthermore, you would be able to do a lot of label printing before it gives out – we’ve consistently been using it, and it hasn’t malfunctioned yet.

What Couldā€™ve Been Better?

Despite selling the ink cartridges separately, we were willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. This label printer comes along with four individual ink cartridges to ensure efficient use of ink, and while the colors don’t come out as bright or accurate, the print quality is good, and it doesn’t bleed.

  • Extremely versatile concerning paper feed
  • High-quality print speeds up to 103 mm/sec
  • Cost-efficient
  • Ideal for long-time use
  • Ink quality isn’t the best

6. Primera LX900 Color Label Printer

Many label printers often tend to print labels that are colorful and catch your eye but will wither at the slightest touch of any liquid. This usually isn’t much of an issue, but the entire point of having concise color labels is that people can determine who your brand is.

Primera LX900 Color Label Printer, USB 2.0, Up to 4800 dpi
  • Prints full-color labels up tat up to 4.5" per...
  • Individual CMYK ink cartridges with dye or pigment...

Why Did We Like It?

This color label printer has great print quality because the labels turn out to be full-color images that are highly scratch and water-resistant. Not only are they high-quality prints, but they make your business look incredibly professional. And while we could’ve purchased a bulk order from someplace else, printing this in-house made it a lot more convenient. It’s also quicker seeing how the print speed is up to 4.5 inches per second.

But if you have multiple labels ranging from different shapes and sizes, this color label printer will easily accommodate you. This also works on a variety of materials, only if the company provides it to you. To ensure that your labels achieve a professional look, you might have to realign your printer more often than you’d like.

This label printer comes along with individual CMYK ink cartridges, and it will continue to print labels even when you run out.

What Couldā€™ve Been Better?

Despite the amazing printing speed and quality ink, the only drawback about this color label printer is that it tends to waste a few labels every time we change the ink cartridge, align for new label sizes, or even start a new project. Itā€™s not the most cost-efficient.

  • Highly scratch and water-resistant labels
  • Print speed of up to 4.5 inches per second
  • Produces color labels of multiple shapes and sizes
  • Comes with individual CMYK ink cartridges
  • Tends to waste labels upon every use

7. Epson TM-C7500

Sometimes, all you need is simple desktop label printers. And this compact Epson C7500 is the ideal color label printer due to how compact and conveniently easy it is to use. It is also a production-type color label printer, making it perfect for you and your small business.

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Why Did We Like It?

A conventional printer is often clunky, jams a little too easily, and takes forever to do what it’s meant to do. But this color label printer is a compact, efficiently quick product that’s not only easy to use but is apt for mass-production and label printing.

It always helps ease workload when you have a high-speed on-demand color label printer that can speed through multiple labels with data up to 11.8 inches per second. And this creates durable labels that won’t smear, fade or smudge. With thermal printers like this, you can print labels be it postal labels, bar codes, marketing labels, and more. The image quality delivers ultra-sharp text and precise barcodes.

After taking a look at all of this, you’re probably wondering if you’d have to spend a lot to maintain and own this, but not only does the rugged design mean minimal maintenance, it means it is ideal for on-demand and busy environments.

What Couldā€™ve Been Better?

The ink cartridges are advertised to be easier to change and cause less waste. However, we soon realized that this color label printer eats up a lot of the ink, making it a very messy or incomplete label. As such, it makes for a very unpleasant experience.

  • Compact, efficient label printing
  • Printing speed up to 11.8 inches per second
  • Crisp image quality
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Ink cartridges don’t last long

Color thermal label printer buying guide

Color Thermal Label Printer Buying GuideĀ 

We’ve continuously mentioned in this list that there are a lot of factors to consider before purchasing the ideal color label printer for you and your small business.

As you know, it is extremely convenient to have a label printer as you get to customize and create your color labels. Plus, you can print them as and when needed without going through the expenses of hiring a manufacturing company to do it for you.

And seeing how there are multiple options to pick from, it is understandable if you’re still unsure about what the best color label printer is for you. However, knowing what to consider will aid you in making the decision.

Moreover, a label printer for small businesses is a modest yet valuable investment and we want to help you narrow down your options. So, here is what’s important and why you should consider the following:

1. The Printing Speed Of The Label PrinterĀ 

For obvious reasons, printing speed plays a pivotal role when considering to purchase color label printers. However, you also have to consider various other factors that result in completing your tasks efficiently.

This would include processing time, how long the label printer takes to load, maintenance and what goes into it, and lastly, the manual/automatic operation. Once you consider the additional factors, you will understand how long the entire label printing process would take.

It is essential to know that the best color label printer will not only optimize all of these processes but will also reduce the printing speed while production is in process.

2. Test Them Out Before You Make Your PurchaseĀ 

The best color label printer can differ from person to person, so to make this choice easier, you would have to consider the brand of the color label printer. Not many brands would allow you to try the product out before purchasing it. But when you find the ideal brand, there are various factors to consider.

Your priority would be to check the quality of your color labels. Why? Because this will give you a better idea of how they come out if there are any technical issues to tackle, and whether the color label printer functions as efficiently as it’s advertised.

So, how do you determine which of these would be the best color label printer for you? You would have to look at and understand how good the color matching is on your label template and whether you receive a high-quality print with the label printer functioning effortlessly.

3. Compatibility And SupportĀ 

One of the many things people often overlook is the support provided by the manufacturer. Why is this important? Because if you happen to hit a wall while using the label printer and the manufacturer fails to assist you efficiently, even minuscule issues would seem like the end of the world.

Not only is it important to make sure that they’re reliable, but it also helps if you’re well-versed with how the warranty works along with the terms and conditions. There’s nothing worse than having your color label printer slow down or completely stop working just after a couple of uses.

Another factor to check is whether you can upgrade the software and its functions and how compatible it is with various external devices. All of these factors put together will come in handy when the time comes to print full-color labels. While all of this would increase it massively, if they aren’t as equipped as you’d hoped for, you must ensure it doesn’t put your things in your small business on hold.

4. Printing CostsĀ 

Costing should be a very important factor for you to consider. Regardless of how big or small your production of personalized labels is, you would have to factor in how much you invest in printing inks and blank labels. While your prime focus would be to keep these costs as minimal as possible, it is always best to know how big of a hole this would burn in your wallet. Because the best color label printer will ensure that the label quality stays high while your costs stay reasonably low.

5. Multiple Printing OptionsĀ 

Different situations ask for different printing labels. And it is very important to have a versatile label printer to achieve this. You’d also require a color label printer that offers the sizes, layouts, and formats to efficiently create these particular labels when needed. So, it’s safe to say that not only should the best color label printer take care of an extensive amount of these requirements, but it should also perform optimally while offering these.

6. Determine Printer OptimizationĀ 

It is essential to determine whether your printing devices are optimized, which minimizes the impact on your business and reduces unwanted running costs. How do you do that? You must ensure that the amount of dabs while producing colorful print labels is lesser or equal to a certain number. So, you would have to look into printers with the highest specks per inch because the thickness of your labels is a prime factor.

7. Durability Is keyĀ 

Not every product can deal with unusual levels of moisture, but if your business is prone to products that will be exposed to factors leading to this, you might want to find a printer that can produce color labels. It also isn’t always water damage, and there are so many other situations and factors that could make your products look beat up or of poor quality. The best color label printer would create labels that are abrasion-resistant and UV resistant.

8. Is It User-Friendly?Ā 

With so many other factors to consider, there are chances that the color label printer you’ve laid your eyes on could be extremely difficult to work with. Does that mean you shouldn’t look for what could be the best for you?

No, because depending on what it can offer and how complex that might be, color label printers can have varying levels of user-friendliness. Sure, it is essential to find a product that is very easy to use. However, you’d want to make sure that the color label printer you pick offers a lot more than the ability to use it easily.

You can ensure that the manufacturer you purchase it from will allow you to test it out. This way, you will know how the printer works, what it offers, and whether you will be able to work with it.

9. Materials It UsesĀ 

The entire point of looking to purchase the ideal color label printer is so you can design and print your labels. Would the model you’re going for limit you when it comes to using the kind of ink you want? Would you have to spend a fortune on cartridges, or will it even accept the kind you specifically need?

You would also have to consider if the label printer can manage the label material or stock paper you require. The ideal color label printer for you would accommodate all of this and optimize your label-making experience, especially if you’re a small business and don’t want to go over your budget.

10. Size Of The PrinterĀ 

Most of the time, when someone thinks of a printer, they think of something clunky and takes up a lot of space. And this wouldn’t probably be appropriate for you if you have a small business and are looking to purchase something compact for you. Does that mean you would have to give up on a lot of the other features because you’re opting for a smaller label printer? No. And lucky for you, we’ve mentioned quite a few compact color label printers in our list.

Color Thermal Label Printer FAQĀ 

Q1. What material is ideal for a label printer?Ā 

There is no definite answer for this particular question, solely because it varies and depends on the kind of labels you intend to print. However, the most common materials many use are paper varieties like polyester, vinyl, and more.

Q2. What would the best color label printer for small businesses be?Ā 

There is an abundance of label color printers for small businesses, but there are various factors you should consider before you invest in one. You would have to look into a label printer that not only fulfills your preferences and needs. But it should also be compact, print high-quality prints, and durable. Regardless of whatever model or product you pick, it will provide the exact result you need.

Q3. How much do color label printers cost?Ā 

This would vary based on the features, amenities, and brand. It would also depend on how recent the model you’re looking to purchase is. But you must also consider the possibility of a model being expensive without offering all of the features you require. Just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it’s the ideal color label printer for you.

Q4. What can color label printers do for my small business?Ā 

A good label can do wonders for you and your business. Yes, design is a prime factor, but if your label quality isn’t better than subpar, it could affect how people view your business. But reaching out to a manufacturer for a few color labels wouldn’t be economically the best.

However, purchasing a color label printer that’s compact, durable, can handle the material and ink you want to use. And there is a large number of color label printers that would be ideal for your small business in the market.

Q5. Why should I test out a color label printer before purchasing it?Ā 

It’s never easy to determine what a product would be like, especially when you’re purchasing it online. And not every color label printer is going to be the perfect match for you. You wouldn’t know what the print quality, color quality, durability of the label and ink is like without testing it out. However, not every brand will offer you the opportunity to do this, so if you do find the ideal color label printer and can’t test it out, you’re left with a difficult choice to make.

Q6. Does it give you the option to customize your labels?Ā 

If you want to invest in a color label printer for your small business, you must find one that is flexible enough to make every type of label you want – the shape, size, or even material of the label. However, if you have an incredibly intricate pattern or something complex, chances are that no matter how good the color label printer is, you might still face some difficulties.

Q7. Does the size of the color label printer matter?Ā 

Due to a large majority of printers being huge and clunky, many assume that anything different wouldn’t be as good. However, the size of your color label printer doesn’t matter when it comes to productivity. But if you’re purchasing one to use in your small workspace, then it would be a lot better to get something compact.

Q8. Are Wi-Fi color label printers better?Ā 

There are a bunch of Wi-Fi label printers that you can easily access from your laptop or phone regardless of where you are. These wireless models allow you to access the soft copies on your phone – you can even access an app if the label printer allows it.

This doesn’t necessarily make them better than the printers that come with a wire, but it makes it a lot more convenient for you. Not only do you get to design and connect from a remote location, but you will also receive the labels you created in a couple of hours!

Q9. Should the extra cost of ink cartridges determine how good a label printer is?Ā 

Some label printers eradicate the need of using cartridges and instead utilize rolls. And while this shouldn’t determine how good or bad a color label printer is, it does help put things into perspective. You would typically spend a lot more on printers that require ink cartridges because of two factors –

They sell those separately, and you would have to purchase one every time you run out
They tend to waste a few cards every time you put in a new cartridge.

Not only do both of these options sound like a waste of money and resources, but it also sounds very inconvenient.

Label sticker printer with paper retail beside cash drawer on business shop counter in technology concept

Final VerdictĀ 

Printers have always played a pivotal role regardless of what you do. Various digital artists, architects, and other industries have invested in quality printers to help elevate their businesses. Social media was taken by storm, with few artists posting their work with the help of 3D printers.

Similarly, investing in the best color label printer can do wonders for you and your small business, and this finding the ideal label printer for you is crucial.

We enjoy the Brother VC500WĀ compact color printer because of the zero ink requirement – compact and cost-efficient. The second best would have to be the MFLABEL thermal printer because it offers multi-functional label printing. And lastly, the Polono label printer because of its automatic label identification.

The market has so much to offer when it comes to label printers, but with this list, we wanted to highlight the best and help narrow it down so that you can find the best option for you. So, which of these label printers do you think is the best? Let us know in the comments.

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