I have a label printer – a USB-connected device that prints out large labels for tool boxes, organizers, and other such things. I bought my Brother QL-700 10 years ago, and it has served me reasonably well since then. But, my needs have changed.
At the time, I didn’t like the limitations of handheld label printers, or the smaller labeling capabilities of the models I was looking at.
But now, I need a versatile handheld printer.
After sorting through a couple of different options by Dymo, I found Epson’s PX series of handheld Labelworks label printers.
The Epson handheld label makers look to check off a lot of boxes for me, and offer added features and capabilities that further sold me on the brand’s models.
I was originally looking for a heatshrink printer, and this can do it. From their marketing materials, Epson has a wider range of sizes and colors than other brands.
It can also print to a range of label sizes. I have organizers with hundreds of removable bins. In some of those, only a slip of paper inside gives indication as to the contents. Being able to add 1/4″ labels seems convenient.
And, it can also print to self-laminating strips, where there’s black-on-white text and a clear wrapper that allows for easy cable identification. This avoids the need for pricier large-size heatshrink labels that can go over bulky pre-terminated end connectors.
I’m sold on the idea. I placed my order today, but wanted to see what you guys think about this type of product.
Epson also offers Bluetooth-connected and semi-stationary models, but I started to see the benefits in having a handheld unit.
There are two industrial models with built-in keyboards, and they both look to have similar graphics and symbols libraries. There’s the LW-PX700, and the LW-PX900. The main difference, from what I can tell, is that the PX900 can print to higher DPI and can work with a wider range of labels – up to 1.5″ as opposed to 1″ for the PX700.
Each model has two options – just the label maker with an AC adapter and starter label cartridge, or a “full kit” that adds in a rechargeable battery and carrying case.
- LW-PX700 – $129
- LW-PX700PCD Kit – $205
- LW-PX900 – $319
- LW-PX900PCD Kit – $399
At the time of this posting, Amazon has a $50 coupon on the “lite” kit version, bringing that price down to $269.
One of the things that helped me almost immediately dismiss other brands is Epson’s attention to customer education.
What are the differences between PX700 and PX900 models? There’s a video for that:
What exactly is self-laminating tape?
They show this clearly in a product brochure page on the Epson website.
There are other features I found appealing, such as the ability to self-rewind labels to help eliminate blank margin space.
It looks like the newer PX700 can save up to 5 image files to the device, but the PX900 can’t do that.
I went with the PX900 for its higher DPI printing and larger size printing capabilities. If ToolGuyd wasn’t footing the bill, the PX700 is much more attractively priced.
A label printer isn’t necessary – I’ve been using masking tape, taped-over paper, and small slips of paper for years. But for me, this looks like a problem-solver and a way to eliminate common frustrations.
If all goes well, I’ll be using it maybe 40% for parts bins, bags, and drawers, 40% for project wiring and cables, and 20% for misc workshop and supply labeling needs.
Prior to learning about the Epson printers, I had been considering the Dymo Rhino 4200 (~$67-$80) and 5200 (~$133-$155) models.
For personal use, the Dymo 4200 seems like it would have been a good fit. It has a QWERTY keyboard, unlike the 5200, and is reasonably priced at just under $67 at the time of this posting. The Rhino 4200 is limited to 3/4″ max label width.
A lot of little things pushed me from the Dymo to the Epson, such as the Epson’s automatic cutter, greater heat shrink tubing color options, printing speed, and PC software option. Once I thought about how much manual labeling I do, and how labeling will be required for an upcoming project, the added expense seemed justified.