Heavy Duty Industrial Barcode Label Printers: What to Look For

Barcode Label Printers

Industrial barcode label printers are an essential tool for many manufacturing, warehouse, and logistics operations. When choosing a heavy duty industrial barcode label printer, there are several key factors to consider to ensure you select the right model for your specific needs.

In this article, we’ll explore the capabilities to look for when investing in a rugged, reliable thermal barcode label printer for industrial use.

Print Resolution 

One of the most important specifications of an industrial barcode label printer is its print resolution. Print resolution determines how crisp and clear the printed labels will look. For barcodes that need to scan accurately, a higher resolution is better. 

Industrial barcode label printers should have a minimum print resolution of 203 dpi (dots per inch). However, 300 dpi or higher is recommended for optimum barcode scannability and printed image quality. At 300 dpi or greater, barcodes and small text will look sharper.

Higher resolution models, such as 600 dpi thermal printers, are ideal for printing very small barcodes or labels with fine detail. But they come at a higher cost. For most industrial barcode labeling needs, 300 dpi delivers excellent clarity while balancing cost.

Print Speed

Another key factor is print speed. Industrial facilities usually need to print high volumes of barcode labels throughout the day.  

When evaluating industrial barcode label printers, look for models with a print speed of at least 6 inches per second. Higher print speeds of 8 to 14 ips are even better for high volume label printing.

Faster print speeds result in greater label throughput for the printer over the course of a shift. For context, a printer with a 6 inch per second speed can print approximately 36 4×6 inch labels per minute.

Printer Durability and Ruggedness

Barcode labeling operations in industrial environments can be tough on printers. Labels may need to be printed on the production floor, in the warehouse, or out in the yard.

Look for heavy duty printers constructed with durable ABS plastic housing that can withstand more bumps and drops. Metal case printers offer the highest level of ruggedness for more extreme conditions.

Industrial printers also need to be durable against things like dust, moisture, and static. Check for industrial barcode printers with ratings of IP43 or higher for dust and moisture ingress protection.

Media Handling Capabilities

Consider what types of label media you need to print on. Standard thermal barcode printers use direct thermal media. This consists of label rolls pre-coated with a chemical coating that reacts to heat.

Direct thermal labels work well for short term indoor use. However, the image can fade over time, especially when exposed to heat or sunlight.  

For more durable labels, look for a thermal transfer printer. Thermal transfer printers use ribbons to transfer printed images onto the label. This creates abrasion, chemical, and UV resistant labels suitable for long term use in harsh conditions.

Industrial printers should have adjustable arms to hold large media rolls. Look for models that can flexibly handle roll diameters over 8 inches so you don’t have to change media as frequently.

Connectivity and Communication

Today’s industrial facilities need printers that can integrate into existing infrastructure and connect with other devices.

Look for barcode label printers with multiple connectivity options. Ethernet and USB ports allow wired connections to computers and networks. 

Wireless connectivity like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth give flexibility for connecting mobile devices.  

Most printers also support serial ports for interfacing with other equipment. Field-installable connectivity cards can further expand options.

Many modern printers also offer built-in support for popular printer command languages like ZPL, EPL, and DPL. This allows easy integration with Zebra, Epson, and Datamax barcode software.

Ease of Use 

Even rugged industrial barcode printers should have features that make them easy to use day-to-day:

  • – Intuitive display screens to navigate printer menus and settings
  • – Simple label design software for creating barcodes
  • – Easy access to the printhead for maintenance and cleaning
  • – Quick loading of label rolls with drop-in loading features
  • – Clear printer status lights that make it easy to address issues

Look for printers with these usability enhancements to support more efficient operation.


When investing in new thermal barcode printers for industrial facilities, keep these key factors in mind:

  • – Look for higher print resolutions of 300 dpi or greater for clarity. 
  • – Favor faster print speeds of at least 6 inches per second or greater.
  • – Seek durable construction to withstand industrial conditions.
  • – Support for both direct thermal and thermal transfer printing.  
  • – Flexible connectivity and communication options.
  • – Features that improve general usability and convenience.

Selecting the right heavy duty industrial barcode label printer for your environment and workload will provide you with years of reliable performance. With thermal barcode printers meeting these criteria, your operation can efficiently generate high quality labels and barcodes for assets and inventory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using this site, you agree to our Website Privacy Policy.