Barcode Label Solutions Blog

How to choose the right media for your barcode label printing

Posted by Susan Fields

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A barcode label printer is only as good as the media you use. It’s essential to select the type of labels that best suit your specific needs in order to get the results you expect. From the material to the adhesive, the wide variety of barcode label features allows you to get the results that remain readable as long as you need. By investing in the right label media, you can also extend the life of your printer.

Match the media to your barcode label printing technology. If you have a dedicated barcode label printer, the technology is probably either direct thermal or thermal transfer (versus dot matrix, ink jet laser). Choose label media that is designed for the heat transfer process. If your ribbon and media are not designed for this technology, you risk poor print quality and even damage to the print head, which is one of  the most expensive parts of the printer.

Consider all of your labeling needs. The media for barcode label printing is engineered to address a vast array of conditions, such a resisting heat, cold, chemicals, moisture, and abrasion. Be clear about the applications of your barcodes to ensure that the label can withstand everything in its application environment and remain scannable. If you need your barcode to adhere to an uneven or oddly shaped surface (like an IV bag), test to be sure that your media will work suitably in that application.

Choose the right adhesive. Adhesive is available in temporary (removable) and permanent, with options of all-temperature, high tack, or low tack. The adhesive should be matched to the item that will carry the label. With food labeling, for example, fresh produce would require a removable adhesive while hot foods need an all-temperature adhesive to keep the label intact and scannable.

Beware of bargain labels. A generic label might produce inferior barcodes rather than the crisp, easily scanned labels you need. In addition, if the label media is not designed with durability in mind, you might end up replacing the labels more frequently as the barcodes become smudged, scratched, and illegible to the scanner. Lesser quality barcode label media is also more likely to have adhesive leaks or leave debris in the printer, which can lead to costly repairs. In the end, the initial savings might be outweighed by the expense it incurs.

To get optimum barcode label printing—quality, reliability, durability—start by choosing the label media that works best for your equipment and the items you label. Download our eBook about Selecting Barcode Labels or if your label has exacting specifications, you can describe them in detail by using our Custom Label Request for Quote form.

If you have any questions, contact IntelliTech International and we’ll guide you through the best options.

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Tags: barcode label printers, labels, adhesive