Whether you’re just getting started or have been running your own business for awhile,  you need to know that you have robust reliable equipment. Because maintenance costs often far outweigh the initial investment, finding quality products of a commercial grade is critical for long term profitability. The following post offers 6 key components of a commercial grade label printer. Check to make sure your printing equipment meets the bar to ensure you have a product that will produce and last.

1. Extended Warranty

The first and most obvious sign of a commercial product is its warranty.  Warranty gives a black and white representation of the manufacturer’s belief in their product. Furthermore it gives you the peace of mind that you’ve made a secure investment. Before purchasing any printing equipment for your business check both the initial and extended warranty options and make sure they fit your needs.

2. Robust Long-wear Metal Parts such as Drive Train, Gears and Rollers

Printers have lots of moving parts, and if those parts are made of plastic many will eventually wear. A commercial grade printer will have special more robust internal mechanisms not found in everyday office printers. Even if two printers look identical, be sure to understand what’s under the hood. A commercial grade printer will need metal (or equivalently tough) parts to move media long term. Don’t be fooled by less expensive “look-alikes.”

3. Permanent Printhead

The printhead is the most fundamental (and most costly) element of the printer, and a commercial grade printer will have a permanent high quality print head. While it is possible that any printer can fail and need printhead replacement, this is an expensive time consuming process that should be covered by your printer warranty. Even if the initial cost of your printer is lower, beware of maintenance and overhead costs of printhead replacements.

4. Durable Permanent Prints that withstand Moisture

One of the most surprising elements of many office printers is that their ink is aqueous, or water soluble.  This means that the printed page can “bleed” when exposed to moisture.  A commercial grade printer, especially a commercial grade label printer, will have permanent ink.  Be sure to understand the type of ink your printer uses before you begin printing.

5. Control and Service routines to enable Long Term Use and Quality Control

All printers have servicing routines that keep the printhead and other components healthy. This can be seen as a flush to the system and a “spit” or “scrape” of excess material.  While end users would prefer to see all ink ending up on the printing page, these servicing routines are what keep a commercial grade printer healthy and long lasting.  When purchasing a printer, understand the automated and manual service routines and how they affect both your print quality and the life of your printer.

6. Versatility of Media Type, Finish and Size

The final element of a commercial grade label printer is its ability to print on a variety of media types, shapes and sizes. Whether your labels are synthetic or paper, glossy or matte, or small or large, flexibility is key for commercial success.  A versatile printer will grow with your business

In summary there is a lot to keep in mind when looking for a commercial label printer. Understanding these components will help you acquire a printer that meets your needs and produces quality durable labels for years to come.