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The Best Thermal Shipping Label Printer for UPS Labels

Five fast, efficient UPS-compatible label machines

 UPS Labels are professional grade labels, providing address validations that make sure your parcels get to where they need to be, at the time they need to be there. Printed in monochrome, they usually have a large amount of small-point text, and compex barcodes that need to be reproduced exactly to be easily read by a scanner. The easiest way to achieve this level of print quality is with a thermal printer, which applies heat to pre-made dye impregnated papers to create legible stickers without inks or toners. These are often also used for printing receipts and labels in shops. But which is the best thermal printer for you? We’ve looked across the market and reviewed thermal label printers against the key criteria of speed, quality and value, to find you the best thermal printer for UPS labels in 2022. 

Product Comparison Table: Best Thermal Printer for UPS Labels

Title
Price
Rating (Amazon)
Best in class
Buy
$$
4.5 stars
Best connectivity
$$
4 stars
Best for large volume
$$$$
4.5 stars
Best premium
$
4 stars
Best value
$$








4.5 stars
Best overall

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer is Ultra fast, capable of producing up to 110 standard address labels per minute with black text –  that’s two UPS-compatible labels per second! It also prints at 300dpi, a resolution comparable with some monochrome inkjet printers.   Unique technology allows you to print in high visibility black and red, as the only office category label printer that lets you print colours over the entire label. The machine offers flexible connectivity including Bluetooth, wireless technology and Ethernet. Plus, use the free Brother iPrint & Label App to print labels wirelessly from your Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch or Android smartphones, or work from templates via the included Ptouch editor software. An easy to read monochrome LCD screen allows for standalone use; however, you can also connect to peripheral devices like scanners using the USB host interface. 

Pros

  • Very fast print speed
  • Huge range of connectivity options
  • High resolution for clear prints

Cons

  • Only works with Brother brand labels

Verdict

Most low-cost label printers will have at least some issue with connectivity; whetehr that’s incompatibility with certain operating systems, lack of WiFi support or inability to link up with other printing devices. You won’t find these problems with the Brother QL-820NWB. Although, the limits on using generic labels could raise your costs in the long run. 

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BESTEASY Direct Thermal Printer

The BESTEASY Direct Thermal Printer prints large volumes of shipping labels with ease. Working at sizes from 1.96 inches to 4.25 inches wide with no restriction on height, it’s more than capable of handling UPS labels, alongside 4 x 6 shipping labels, 4 x 6 fanfold labels, warehouse labels, barcode labels and bulk shipping or mailing labels. It prints at a speedy 150 mm/s, producing one 4 x 6 label per second. No toners, inks or ribbons make this a very efficient choice for printing at scale. Through industrial grade heat dissipation, it offers continuous printing in batches with reliable performance for up to 12 hours straight. The machine is compatible with all Windows operating systems, but not Mac. 

Pros

  • Supports range of label sizes
  • Fast printing speed
  • 12 hours continuous printing

Cons

  • Incompatible with Macs

Verdict

The BESTEASY Direct Thermal Printer can print for 12 hours continuously without breaks, supporting even the largest volume of label printing. If you need to ship a lot of items, this is the machine for you. However, the lack of support for Macs could make this a less viable option for some home users. 

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Zebra GK420d Direct Thermal Desktop Printer

The Zebra GK420d Direct Thermal Printer is a premium model, that produces premium results. It can print a wide range of labels including UPS compatible labels, address labels, mailing labels, barcodes and name tags. It supports media rolls that have a 1 in core, a max diameter of 5 inches, and a max width of 4.25 inches. Working at a resolution of 203 dpi; considering that some inkjet printers work at 300dpi, this is sure to produce clear and pigmented prints. The max speed is 5 inches per second, and it is Energy Star approved, so it won’t eat up electricity. Best of all, the machine is tested and certified by Zebra engineers to provide optimal performance and reduce printer downtime, so you can be as efficient as possible. 

Pros

  • Supports wide range of sizes
  • Compatible with all major shipping platforms
  • High resolution for clear prints
  • Quality control and assurances

Cons

  • More expensive than others
  • Heavy and bulky

Verdict

The Zebra GK420d Direct Thermal Printer is everything you want in a thermal printer for UPS labels – and it should be, at double or even triple the price of some of its competitors. However, if you’re an established eCommerce seller looking to invest in upgrading your label printing system – or even just a home user with high standards – this is the machine for you. 

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Comer CX418 Shipping Label Printer

The Comer CX418 shipping label printer is robust and well-built, coming in at 3.74 pounds – the heaviest weight on our list. However, this weight is due to its commercial grade ability, printing 83 labels per minute. It supports UPS label size, as well as any other label from 1.57 to 4.3 inch width. Besides having a high printing speed of 150mm/s and a dynamic resolution of 203 dpi (close to the 300dpi lowest range of inkjet quality), the printer has a few other interesting features. Firstly, the printer’s Auto Label Identification feature catches and feeds any size of label instantly. It also automatically prevents paper jams for efficient and smooth printing. Best of all, the Comer newest generation high temperature print head can work 12 hours or longer non-stop, and stably print up to 500,000 labels before replacement. 

Pros

  • Large print numbers and high speed
  • Auto label identification
  • High resolution for clear prints

Cons

  • Only supports K-Comer brand labels

Verdict

The Comer CX418 shipping label printer is the best value on our list, coming in at the lowest total price. The features are more than enough to support the basic needs of any fledgling shipping business. However, the lack of support for generic labels could set you back monetarily; 4 boxes of K-Comer papers cost as much as the machine itself.

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ROLLO Shipping Label Printer Commercial Grade

The ROLLO Shipping Label Printer works with any generic or branded Thermal Direct Label – including free UPS labels – saving you money on proprietary label costs. It also ensures widespread compatibility; printing is supported at sizes from 1.57 inches to 4.1 inches wide with no restriction on height, so you can easily produce 4 x 6 shipping labels, warehouse labels, barcode and ID labels, bulk mailing labels and more. It offers high speed printing at 150 mm/s (enough for one label per second) and prints without toner or ink due to reliable Advanced Thermal Direct Technology. This will certainly save you money, and time.  It’s compatible with Windows and Mac. Lastly, Rollo offers 5-star U.S. based customer service via Phone, Email, and Remote-Desktop. 

Pros

  • Fast printing speed
  • Use any thermal direct label
  • Compatible with all warehouses
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Prints occasionally come out faded

Verdict

The ROLLO Shipping Label Printer is our top choice for the overall best thermal printer for UPS labels. The ability to use generic rolls, and the low price of the machine itself, will keep your printing from eating into your profits. The issue with fading is not unique to this machine either, but endemic to thermal printers in general. So, if you want to get great results, at a value price, this is the thermal printer for you.

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Written by Alice

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