Choosing a label maker

6 April 2015

What to look for in a label maker

Labels are an important step in the organizing process. They help you establish a place for everything. They help you identify categories. They help you remember.

Most organizers I know have a label maker of some sort. They’re not required certainly. There are many ways to make labels, some of them less cumbersome than using a label maker. (There are some ideas in this post).

But I do love my label makers. (I have two.) I love their ease of use. And I love the professional-looking, tidy, uniform labels they create. I’m sometimes asked what to look for in a label maker, so I thought I’d share my suggestions.

First, I’ve always had Brother P-Touch label makers. I know that Dymo makes good label makers too. (And I have fond memories of my handheld turn-the-wheel-and-squeeze Dymo label maker of my youth.) But Brother’s P-Touch label makers have always been more than satisfactory to me.

I have the PT-2030, which I think is a terrific label maker. I see that it’s been discontinued, unfortunately. I’m sure ones with similar features are available. I also have a ten-year-old (or perhaps even older) PT-1800, also discontinued. (In case you’re wondering why I have two, one lives in my organizing bag that I take to clients. The other lives in my office for use there.)

The PT-2030 has the ability to do fancy frames and also has some pre-loaded labels. Frankly, I rarely use those features. The PT-1980 is more of a no-frills workhorse. It has just the right number of features as far as I’m concerned.

Size is important to me. I’m a bit of a Goldilocks when it comes to label makers. I think they should neither too big nor too small. Mine are just right. My size requirements mean that I buy desktop, not handheld models.

Here’s what I look for in a label maker:

  • Full QWERTY keyboard
  • A keyboard large enough to type on with two hands
  • Device small enough to hold with one hand while hunting and pecking with the other, when necessary
  • Adjustable font size
  • Adjustable tape margin size
  • Ability to use different width tape cartridges
  • Easy to switch fonts and sizes
  • Easy-to-read screen

Here are features of a label maker that would make me reject it:

  • A keyboard that’s arranged alphabetically (so time-consuming for me to use!)
  • Non-laminated labels
  • Multiple steps to change the font or font size

The thing that amazes me is how many different models there are and how different they are from one another, even within the Brother P-Touch brand. On a team job, I like all the labels my team makes to match. Even though virtually all my team members carry label makers with them, each different device seems to print a slightly different label. The solution to that is to use one label maker, which sometimes is inefficient.

As I said, you don’t need a label maker, because there are all sorts of other ways to create labels. But if you want one (and you have a use for it), I hope that these suggestions will help you choose one.

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Comments

Great must haves in a label maker and I agree, the Brothers P-Touch is the brand to go with when deciding on a new label maker.

Mark 04/06/2015 03:46 PM

Great must haves in a label maker and I agree, the Brothers P-Touch is the brand to go with when deciding on a new label maker.

OrganizeMindfully.com 04/06/2015 03:47 PM

Image Supply offers Brother Label Makers starting at $24.95 http://imagesupply.com/collections/under-25-labeling-machines

Mike Grandstaff 10/26/2015 04:35 PM

Great article.

Samuel njenga 02/20/2017 09:15 AM

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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