A thermal printer is used to print on things like t-shirts, tags, tickets, shipping or packaging stuff or even receipts. When buying the best thermal printer, you have to consider many things that can help you in the entire process and to buy the one that fits your needs. We personally have tried and tested most of the products mentioned here because we also run a shopify store where we sell printer T-shirts.
If you are looking for a thermal printer but feel overwhelmed by your choices, look no further. There are so many different models available, each promising to complete different tasks. Here, we have compiled a list of all of the best thermal printers of 2020. This list also includes information on the capabilities of each printer, so that you can be sure that it meets your purpose. You will also find a number rating for the print quality of each thermal printer.
If you are an accountant then we understand the need of printers to print huge data sheets and excel sheet, a while back we also write a guide on the best laptops for quickbooks which you should read.
Best Thermal label printers of 2020
1. Brother QL-1100 –Best Cheap High-Resolution Printer
This thermal printer is one of the most cost-effective thermal label printers available. At $179.99, you are going to struggle to find something of this quality, for a lower price. Brother is a well-known and trusted brand, and this item doesn’t disappoint. No matter what kind of label you need, this printer can create it.
This thermal printer has a wide range of capabilities. It can print on labels that are up to 4 inches wide, and up to three feet long (with the serial print function), or 9.8 feet long (with the USB host function). The USB host function allows you to connect it to another device such as a scanner, to receive the information needed to print.
When it comes to the quality of the printing, you will not be let down. it is fully capable of printing up to 69 labels per minute, with a resolution of 300 dpi.
- Rapid printing speed – can print up to 69 labels per minute
- 3-year warranty
- Does not need software to become compatible with your computer or laptop
- This is not a wireless printer, which some may find inconvenient
- Limited range of generic label prints for this printer
- Resolution of only 300 dpi (there are other models with a much greater resolution)
2. ROLLO Label Printer –Fast Shipping Label Printer
ROLLO thermal printer was designed for commercial use, so you can trust it to withstand heavy amounts of printing. The main draw to this specific printer is the fact that it has such a diverse range of printing options. Whatever you need barcodes, identification labels or mailing labels, this printer has you covered. It can provide labels that meet the standards for a number of companies, including UPS, DHL, and FedEx. Whether you need a label that’s 1.57 inches wide, 4.1 inches or anything in between, the ROLLO can provide what you need.
This printer is capable of working at 150mm per second. This is great for commercial jobs with a lot of printing to get through, the printer will just work through them. They also try and offer incredibly low prices for their labels – UPS labels are even free. The cost of printing can rack up pretty fast, especially in a commercial enterprise, so the more that you use it, the more that you save. The printer itself only costs $169.99, a great bargain for anyone looking for quality.
- Flexibility provides labels of all sizes
- Compatible with all computers and laptop operating systems
- Comes with an automatic label identification system
- Setup instructions are limited (this can create difficulties for those who are inexperienced with thermal printer setup)
- Can print at speeds of 150mm per second (this is nowhere near the fastest on the market)
3. Zebra GK420d Monochrome – Powerful Label Printer
This is definitely one of the pricier options for thermal printers, but for those who can afford it, these printers are worth it. At $336.73, it might be out of many people’s budgets. But for those who are willing to splurge on a machine that will last, you can’t go wrong with this one.
For starters, this model is one of the fastest on the market, capable of printing at speeds of 5 inches per second. This is great for getting through vast quantities of printing, without compromising on quality. The printer also has a reflective sensor, to make sure that all labels are printed accurately.
This label printer is an incredibly versatile model. Not only can it print a range of different mailing labels according to your specifications, but it can also be used for wristbands, nametags, and receipts.
The printer can be connected to your computer via serial, parallel or USB, so you can work with whatever is easiest for you. This added convenience means that it can easily integrate with your existing setup.
This model is a great environmental choice, as far as thermal printers go. It is energy star-approved, and you can also print exact quantities with this model so that you don’t have to waste resources with unnecessary extras.
- Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux
- Very high speeds – 5 inches per second
- Has a resolution of 203 dpi – there are other models with far higher resolutions
Are you also a gamer? Check out: Best Mouse Bungee
4. Epson TM T20II Direct Thermal Printer – Best Wristband or Small Label Printer
If you are looking for a printer primarily to print receipts, then this might be the product that is right for you. This is one of the cheaper models on the list, at $138.35. If you know that you aren’t going to require a diverse range of printing styles, then there is no reason to pay extra for a thermal printer that can provide these services.
It prints at speeds of 200mm per second. This is not the fastest machine available, however it is fast enough for most jobs. You can use this in a commercial setting and have no issues. This thermal printer also has print options that can limit the amount of paper that is used. This is great for businesses that strive to be as eco-friendly as possible.
For first time users of thermal printers, this is a great option. It’s designed for ease of use, and very easy to set up and maintain. You will easily get the hang of it, and integrating it into your work will swiftly become second nature.
- Fast printing speed – 200mm per second
- Great for printing receipts
- Serial and USB connectivity options
- Usability is quite limited, mostly just to receipts
This thermal printer costs $142.35, which is relatively average for the price, but it is above average in terms of quality. If you need a small and compact printer for your business, then you should strongly consider this one.
Although it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the quality of the printing, this model is the most aesthetically pleasing. It sits easily on any desk without becoming an eyesore. This model is also a lot more compact than others, perfect for little jobs, without taking up too much space. It fits right into any office setting and works purposefully. It’s also great if you need a printer that is easily transportable, as this one is also pretty lightweight.
This printer is compatible with Windows devices and is one of the easiest printers to set up and use. It requires very little maintenance and unlike some printers, this one is incredibly quiet. This HILLPOW thermal printer provides a USB port for easy connection, easily setting it up for use with the rest of your system.
- Easy usability
- It can be used for bills, receipts, and tickets.
- Small and lightweight
- Not as versatile as some of the other thermal printers on the market
- Not compatible with Mac devices
6. DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo Thermal Label Printer – Best Cheap Label Printer
DYMO is another brand that has developed a reputable standing in the printing industry – you can’t go wrong with any of their products. This printer can create USPS-approved postage stickers. You can also reduce waste by printing the exact quantity that you need, without having unwanted extras.
This printer aims to make it as easy as possible to use. You can utilize existing programs on your computer such as Word or Mac Address Book, to print directly. This helps you to create customized labels, and they immediately print them. Not only is this convenient, but it helps to speed up the printing process, something that becomes more and more important, the more printing that you need to do. This is also helped by the fact that it is capable of printing 71 4-line address labels per minute. No matter how big or small your business is, the DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo is a great investment.
- Is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems
- Fast printing times can generate an output of 71 labels per minute
- Limited sizing options (the maximum width for a label from this printer is 2.2 inches)
7. DYMO LABELWRITER 450 Thermal Label Writer – Best Large Label Printer
One of the benefits of this model is that while it’s slightly less powerful than the DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo, it’s also slightly cheaper. It is still commercial-grade, making it perfect for less intensive jobs, where it may be needed less frequently. Using it is incredibly easy, and even the process of changing the roll of paper is simple, so it is always ready to go.
This thermal printer is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers, allowing you to easily set it up with whatever system you have. Just like the other DYMO models, you can easily print directly from computer programs you already have such as Mac Address Book and Word, providing easy customization.
You can easily print the exact quantity of whatever you need, whether it’s addresses, labels or barcodes. This machine is capable of printing up to 51 labels per minute. Each label promises to be clear and accurate, leaving you with a ready to go print. These labels have a dpi of 600 x 300 dpi, which is relatively good considering some of the other models available.
- Excellent quality printing
- Vast customization options for labels
- High resolution (600 x 300 dpi)
- Can only print at a speed of 51 labels per minute (this is relatively fast, however, there are other models that are faster)
Interesting Read: Best motherboard for i7 8700k
Due to the fact that this is the third DYMO model on the list, it becomes very clear that the brand is frontrunners in the thermal printer industry. What sets this model apart is the fact that it can print labels that are up to 4 inches wide (the previous two models were significantly smaller). It can also print on labels as small as ½ inch by 1 inch. A printer of this size is used best for shipping labels and can print directly from a range of commercial retailers such as Etsy and eBay. It is also able to create USPS-approved postage labels, giving you an indication of its versatility and usability. It’s a one of the best thermal printers for shipping labels.
At $179.99, this is not necessarily one of the cheapest models available, rather it is somewhat middle of the range. This makes it great for any commercial purpose, as well as the fact that it is fully capable of printing up to 53 standard, 4-line address labels per minute, or 129 high-capacity 4-line addresses per minute. These speeds will help you to move through vast amounts of work quickly.
- Fast printing speed (53 standard address labels per minute, or 129 high capacity labels per minute)
- Relatively low dpi (300 dpi)
- Requires batteries to function
If all you need is a small printer that is capable of printing receipts, then this is the thermal printer for you. At $119.98, this is one of the cheapest receipt printers or quality available. One of the major benefits of this machine is how compact it is. This can easily be moved around and used wherever and whenever you need it. It also has two hanging holes at the bottom, for even easier storage when not in use.
This printer is designed to be used with any Windows software for ESC/POS command. It can be used on any device including phones or tablets, making this a great mobile option. It does require downloading the corresponding software, but this can be found on the website. Unfortunately, it is not compatible with Mac products, which is a drawback to this printer for some people.
As a receipt printer, it doesn’t need to be extremely versatile. It works on paper 3 ⅛ inches thick and constantly delivers quality printing results fast (at 300mm per second). All these qualities make it ones of the best thermal printers available.
- Very fast – 300 mm per second
- Small and easy to move around
- Various connection options (USB, RS-232)
- Not compatible with iOS operating system (Apple products)
- Not very versatile (designed to print receipts only)
10. EPSON READYPRINT T20 DIRECT THERMAL PRINTER – Best Receipt Printer
Although this is number 10 on the list, this does not mean that it is the worst. This is another printer designed specifically for printing receipts, making it very functional and purposeful. It also offers incredibly high-quality services, so that you get the results you are looking for, each time.
Compared to other receipt printers, this one is not as fast. It only prints at speeds of 150mm per second. This may not be the right model for you if you need to get through large amounts of printing fast, but it is still good enough to get through most jobs relatively quickly.
This machine is one of the easiest to set up and use. It is also compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems, making this a viable choice for all business owners. It offers two different sized printing options – standard and 42 column mode. Businesses can decide what works best for them, and easily make the necessary changes.
This printer comes with everything it needs to run, including the necessary cables and adaptors. It also provides wall brackets, so you can easily mount the printer securely.
- Easy to set up and maintain
- Compatible with Windows and Mac devices
- Relatively slow printing (only 150mm per second)
- Not versatile
Check out: Best laptops for game development
Now that you know which are the best thermal printers, you should go through the print quality of each printer to be able to finally make your purchase decision. From our perspective, we think you should first get clarity on how things are going to work at your end. Will you be using it for printing T-shirts or you will be using it for printing labels on carry bags. If you want, reach out to us personally and we will help you choose the best.