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Black Only vs Color Barcode Label Printers

Black Only vs Color Barcode Label Printers

Posted by Jim on 29th Aug 2020

Close your eyes and imagine a barcode label. What does it look like? If you’re like most people, you’re probably imagining a rectangular block of black lines printed on a white label. After all, that’s what most barcodes look like. But, if you’re an out-of-the-box thinker, you might be imagining a more colorful label with branding elements surrounding, or even within, the barcode.

Barcode labels have long been printed on thermal black-only printers purpose built for barcoding, shipping labels, retail tags, and other industrial labels. These thermal printers are tried-and-true, easy to operate, and affordable. However, color label printers have entered this market, making it possible to create eye-catching labels and barcodes at a comparable price and with the advantage of color.

What Types of Barcode Printers Print Black-Only?

In most cases, black-only barcode printers refer to thermal transfer printers which use heat and a black ink-coated ribbon to create the printed barcode. Colored thermal transfer ribbons are available, but they still produce a monochrome image. Other monochrome printers, such as laser printers and tape-based label printers, can be used to print black-only barcodes but thermal transfer barcode label printers tend to be the most popular printer type for this use case.

What Type of Barcode Printers Print in Color?

Color inkjet label printers such as the Epson TM-C7500, Epson ColorWorks C6000A, and Epson ColorWorks C6500A color label printer are often used to print full color carton and product labels with included barcodes. Virtually any color inkjet label printer can be used to print barcodes, especially when you have label and barcode design software.

Which Barcode Printer Type is Best for Printing Barcodes?

There’s really no right or wrong answer as each printer type serves a purpose and have their own advantages. For example,

-Black-only thermal transfer printers are cheap, fast, and easy. If you just need to print plain barcodes and shipping labels, a thermal transfer printer could be an excellent choice.

-Color barcode label printers allow you to add color but may be more expensive, though this isn’t always the case. With a color label printer, you may find yourself printing all kinds of labels rather than strictly barcode labels because they are so versatile.

If you’re not sure which printer type is right for your specific application, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you understand the options available to you.