Printing has become an essential part of modern business. Without clear, well-printed labels, eCommerce purchases won’t get to where they need to be, when they need to be there – and your business will be looking at bad feedback. Elsewhere, in warehouses and depots, labels are also crucial; they identify products, clearly displaying details like item numbers, item descriptions and commodity codes. In office environments, labels allow your company and employees to present an organised, professional image that inspires confidence. Thermal printers can quickly produce documents like invoices and receipts. Even in retail, compact receipt printers make keeping track of records easier than ever. But how do you produce high-quality prints without ink and printer maintenance costs eating into your profits? The answer is a thermal printer. We’ve reviewed hundreds of thermal printers to find you our top five recommendations for small businesses in 2022.
Product Comparison Table: Best Thermal Printer for Small Business
Best in class
Best label maker
Best receipt printer
Best A4 printer
Best industrial printer
Best shipping label printer
The Phomemo-M110 Portable Bluetooth Label Maker is perfect for making any kind of organisational label you can think of: address labels, folder labels, price labels, inventory labels and more. Even in retail or end-user focussed businesses, this machine is perfect for quickly creating professional looking clothing, jewellery and gift box labels. All these templates can be accessed via the Phomemo app, to print on rolls up to 48mm wide. This app also facilitates connection with the printer from your smartphone, or any Bluetooth enabled device within 33ft range. As for printing function, an adjustable paper holder and automatic label detection instantly calibrate the printer to avoid paper jams and deviations. In turn, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in-app can recognise text in 4 seconds, converting it from photo to editable text instantly so you can easily reproduce your labels.
- Bluetooth wireless connectivity
- Automatic features (cutter, OCR)
- Compact, portable design
- Can’t print wider than 48mm
For printing organisational labels, you won’t find a better option than the Phomemo-M110 Portable Bluetooth Label Maker. There’s nothing worse when you’re trying to sort out a big heap of files than being tripped by trailing wires – with this machine, you won’t have those problems. The value price also makes it very workable to buy multiple units for use throughout your business, even in temporary workspaces.
The Star Micronics TSP143IIILAN Thermal Receipt Printer has an extremely high printing speed of 250 mm/s – enough to print 43 receipts per minute, or almost one and a half per second. This isn’t the only feature designed to save businesses and customers time, however; the “drop-in and print” clamshell design means paper rolls are foolproof to install, while patented “De-Curl” technology ensures that receipts never emerge rolled or crumpled. Connection with the printer is available by Ethernet, meaning multiple devices can be connected at once, reliably without drops or issues. Although, if issues do occur, the software includes an error reporting feature and real time alerts so you can resolve things fast. Lastly, Star Micronics futurePRNT Software allows you to customise receipts with logos, coupons, word-triggered advertising and more.
- Simple, reliable Ethernet connection
- Efficient design, fast print speed
- Comes with futurePRNT design software
- Can’t withstand hot environments
The Star Micronics TSP143IIILAN Thermal Receipt Printer is a perfect fit for retail and food service workspaces, providing efficient and reliable function with a lot of nifty features included. A small business could really get a lot out of customisable receipts. However, being a thermal printer, the machine already relies on a steady temperature to work; being near kitchens or other sources of external heat can impede its function.
The HPRT MT800 2.0 Thermal Transfer Printer is small and compact, at about twice the size of a smartphone. This makes it entirely portable, allowing you to print a range of A4 documents on the go, such as invoices, contracts and other business papers. It is compatible with iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth connection, as well as Mac, Linux and Windows via USB. In fact, the only operating system it doesn’t support is Chromebook. Setup takes as little as five minutes from unpacking to first print, as a result of the streamlined connectivity options. As for print quality, the HPRT M800 is capable of producing strong blacks and waterproof finishes, even on glossy thermal direct papers (which the company provides from their online store). Printing is relatively slow compared to a conventional printer, however, as you can only feed one sheet at a time.
- Print A4 size sheets with thermal technology
- Compact, portable design
- Wide range of connectivity options
- Only feeds one sheet at a time
Thermal transfer printing is usually associated with receipts, shipping labels and other small-scale paper products, yet it can also be an excellent solution for businesses that need to print a large number of black and white documents. If you’re printing invoices, for example, the HPRT MT800 2.0 Thermal Transfer Printer could be a great way to save your small business some vital pennies on papers and inks.
Zebra is one of the most trusted brands in the thermal printing world, and for good reason; anybody who’s used one of their label printers (like the universally lauded Zebra GK420d) will know that the company’s name is a mark of quality. The Zebra ZT411 Thermal Industrial Printer is no different. Built in enterprise grade quality, this printer can pump out 14 inches per second as 203dpi resolution. Considering that this is not far off the resolution of most office monochrome laser printers, prints made by this machine will always be clear and precise. The construction is sturdy with a metal frame, and it is Energy Star approved to save your electricity costs. The drum supports thermal transfer rolls with a 3 inch core and an 8 inch diameter. Lastly, connection is available via USB, Serial or Ethernet, including Zebra’s LinkOS system for remote control and simultaneous maintenance.
- Fast printing speed and high quality
- Sturdy construction
- Great connectivity options and LinkOS
- Very expensive
If your business is going from small to medium and you’re looking to invest in a more advanced thermal printer, the Zebra ZT411 Thermal Industrial Printer is the perfect one for you. Although the extremely high cost might put it out of the reach of some enterprise, this big beast of a machine offers serious efficiency, quality and reliability for high-volume printing. The LinkOS feature is also indispensable for companies looking to run and maintain multiple machines at the same time.
The ROLLO Commercial Grade Shipping Label Printer is made specifically to churn out reams of 4×6 shipping labels, the most common kind used in eCommerce. Supporting this label type makes the ROLLO compatible with all major shipping and eCommerce platforms, including Shopify, eBay, Amazon FBA, USPS, UPS and FedEx, among others. It can print other sizes too, however, between 1.57 to 4.1 inches wide; this makes it perfect for warehouse labels, barcode stickers and ID labels too. Best of all, it works with any generic thermal direct roll, saving you money in the long term. Print speeds reach as high as 150 mm/s, or one label per second. Connection is only available via USB, yet it is compatible with Windows XP and newer, and all Mac OSs beyond 10.9. Lastly, Rollo offers US-based customer service on demand, included on purchase.
- Prints 4×6 and other labels
- Supports generic thermal direct rolls
- Fast printing speed
- Free customer service included
- Only connects via USB
Thermal printers are often used by small businesses to create shipping labels. If you are sending a large number of packages – say if you are an eCommerce business selling through a website or third-party platform – it can become expensive to use a conventional ink printer, and waste your time on sticking and cutting. The ROLLO Commercial Grade Shipping Label Printer will do all this for you, more quickly and efficiently than many other options on the market. That’s why the ROLLO is our choice for the best thermal shipping label printer for small businesses.