If you’re an organized person, you already know the use of a label maker is huge. If you’re looking to become a more organized person, then you may have yet to discover this. If that’s the case, take a minute to consider how often you search for things in your home. If you had them labelled, the search would be over before it even started. Not only your organization will benefit from a quality label maker, though; you’ll also be able to tackle special projects like wooden signs, and so much more!
We reviewed dozens of label makers to identify the best of the best. We looked at label makers that pull multiple duty with computer-based design capability, and those simple machines that work independently. We found the label makers that connect to your smart devices and those manual label makers that operate by sheer human strength. No matter what you’re looking for in a label maker, we have the best one for you!
From early in our research the Cricut Explore Air 2 stood out as the most versatile label maker on the market and the more we looked into it, the more obvious it became that it was the clear winner of top pick for all label makers. There are reasons the Cricut name is so well known and the quality and ease-of-use is far up on that list of reasons.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Label Makers
|Best Label Maker Overall
|Cricut Explore Air 2
|Best Bluetooth Label Maker
|Brother P-Touch Cube Smartphone Label Maker
|Best Budget Label Maker
|Brother P-touch, PTH110
|Best Handheld Label Maker
|Brady BMP21-PLUS Handheld Label Printer
|Best Manual Label Maker
|DYMO Embossing Label Maker with 3 DYMO Label Tapes
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Label Maker Overall: Cricut Explore Air 2
The Cricut Explore Air 2 works with the widest variety of materials, so you can use it to create labels of virtually any material. You can use iron-on fabric, faux leather, poster board, specialty paper, and so much more. Create labels that are essentially stickers, or labels that will stand alone as cards.
Designing with this label maker has never been easier, either. With your purchase, you’ll have access to the Cricut software which allows you to create free-hand or choose from a wide range of designs already loaded. If you plan on getting creative with your labels, this will allow you to customize size and font, making it exactly what you want it to be. You’ll even be able to create wood, metal, and plastic signs and decor with your own
With over 4,000 customer reviews on Amazon, you can definitely count on the accuracy of this label maker’s rating. And when that overall rating is 4.7 stars, you know this is a quality product.
Cricut Explore Air 2 Key Features:
- Access to Cricut’s free design software; 2 week trial to Cricut Access
- 7 color choices
- Includes adhesive cutting mat, and fine pen
Best Bluetooth Label Maker: Brother P-Touch Cube Smartphone Label Maker
The Brother P-Touch Cube Smartphone Label Maker will connect to your phone or tablet wirelessly through its Bluetooth and allows you to print remotely. You’ll gain access to Brother’s free P-touch Design and Print app that will allow you to create the label just as you like it and preview before you print to make sure you’re not wasting effort on a poor spacing or a typo. You’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of fonts to get the exact look you want, whether that’s artsy or professional or anything in between.
At roughly 800 customer reviews on Amazon, the overall rating is bound to be reliable and when it has a solid rating of 4.5 stars, this label maker certainly becomes a contender.
Brother P-Touch Cube Smartphone Label Maker Key Features:
- 2 color options
- Wide variety of tape color options
- Connects via Bluetooth to Android or Apple device
Best Budget Label Maker: Brother P-touch, PTH110
The Brother P-touch, PTH110v is an excellent option if you want to speed through your label making process. You don’t have to go to any additional programs or devices and the print speed is up to 20 millimeters of text per second.
If you plan on using a label maker only on occasion and not daily (as most will for home use), this label maker has more than enough features to give you all you want and then some. You’ll be able to choose from three sizes and fonts, after also choosing from a variety of Brother colored tapes.
You’ll love all the numbers associated with this label maker. Not only does it have an overall rating of 4.6 stars, but it’s also earned that rating by about 2,500 customer reviews. While that’s not too shabby, the number you’ll really appreciate is the cost. You can pick this up for well under $30!
Brother P-touch, PTH110 Key Features:
- Manual cut function
- 2 packaging options; buy more and save
- 3 font options
Best Handheld Label Maker: Brady BMP21-PLUS Handheld Label Printer
The Brady BMP21-PLUS Handheld Label Printer has a keyboard directly on the device, allowing you to type what you need and preview it on the LCD screen before you print it, so you can ensure that you’re not wasting energy on a typo. The keyboard includes the English alphabet and the numbers 0 to 9, as well as a variety of common punctuation and symbols, too.
If you’re looking for a durable label maker, you won’t likely find one better than this. There are rubber bumpers so if you drop it, the device won’t necessarily be broken immediately and that’s a big plus considering that it’s so portable. It can go anywhere being compact enough to fit in the palm of your hand and with those safety precautions, you’ll easily be able
There are right around 450 customer reviews on Amazon, giving this label maker an overall rating of 4.5 stars. Combined with the quality of those reviews, we think there’s plenty enough to tempt you to purchase.
Brady BMP21-PLUS Handheld Label Printer Key Features:
- Single color printer
- 6 AA batteries required (not included)
- 6 to 40 point font sizes
Best Manual Label Maker: DYMO Embossing Label Maker with 3 DYMO Label Tapes
The DYMO Embossing Label Maker with 3 DYMO Label Tapes is probably a design you’re familiar with – and for good reason! You’ll be able to manually emboss the letters, numbers, or symbols onto the installed tape by squeezing the handle and creating the desired symbol’s impression. No batteries are required for this manual label maker and that means you’ll always be able to use it. You won’t get to “preview” your label before printing, but you’ll zoom through the process so if you need to re-accomplish, you won’t be out too much time.
If you’re not sure how to load this label maker, don’t stress it too much; the first tape comes pre-loaded so you’ll be able to see just how it works before you have to figure out how to install the tape, too. You’ll only need to learn how to turn the dial to choose the number, letter, or symbol you want to be imprinted to the tape (which is incredibly self-explanatory), and then you’re set!
There are nearly 2,000 customer reviews for this label maker on Amazon, making it pretty popular; in fact, it’s Amazon’s choice for “Embossing Label Maker” and with an overall rating of 4.0 stars, we’re not surprised.
DYMO Embossing Label Maker with 3 DYMO Label Tapes Key Features:
- Includes 12’L x 3/8″W tape
- Robust tape provides 3D label
- Peel and stick adhesive
Who Should Buy a Label Maker
For family members or co-workers who don’t know your organization system, a label to advertise a container’s contents will save a lot of time and disorganization. If you’re one who thrives in a controlled, clean and organized environment, this is going to play a big role in your overall comfort level, as well as it is in you and your team (family or co-workers) efficiency. Less time spent searching for an item or figuring out where it goes is more time completing the tasks you need to do.
If you’ve identified yourself as a disorganized person, a label maker won’t change you overnight, to be sure. However, it can help turn the page into a more ordered life. The less frazzled you are for the easy things, the more you’ll be able to handle the bigger tasks. And if nothing else, a properly labeled organization system will help you stick with your newly found organization.
If you have a specific project in mind, you may need a label maker to help make that project high quality. If you want to make yourself a sign, or a cup, even a wall decal, a label maker that is designed to handle that kind of task will go a long ways towards making the end result more professional-looking and less like a 5-year old who couldn’t stay in the lines.
Important Features to Consider
A label maker should do several things. Here’s what to consider when selecting a label maker:
- Bluetooth. If you use your phone for everything, then why not find a label maker that is controlled by an app on your phone, after connecting, via Bluetooth? You’ll have a bit more control over design, and you’ll be able to print to your label maker, often from anywhere in your home and without needing to get up to find your label maker.
- Computer-based programs. With computer-based programs, you’ll be able to get as creative as you can with your label design. These smart cutting machines will allow you to design and cut onto vinyl whatever design or font you choose, and you won’t need to worry about making something that fits the project or container, you’ll have full control on its customization. You will need to download a specific program most often, and they do run a bit more pricey, but the versatility is unquestionable.
- Independent. If you’re looking for a label maker that can take care of your project without any extras, then an independent system will be the way to go. It will come with a keyboard so you won’t have to connect it to anything, wirelessly or not, to design your label. They’ll either be powered by a cable or battery, which makes them dependent on some kind of extra, but without needing a separate program or device to operate, the conveniences far outweigh the negatives.
- Manual. Manual won’t be as uniformly printed, nor will it be smooth. It won’t have as many color options, nor will you be able to print unique signs or symbols. However, there is certainly something to be said for portability and power independence. You will save plenty of money on the lack of batteries necessary for the operation and the absence of a power cord will make it all the more portable. If you don’t plan on using it a lot or for a wide range of purposes, a manual will probably suffice. It won’t hurt that they’re notoriously less expensive, too.
- Refill cartridges. You won’t only need to consider the cost of your label maker when you’re considering the investment. Some label makers have refill cartridges that cost more than the original purchase of the label maker! Always check what the refills will cost you before you purchase a label maker. Also, consider the type of refills. If everything you want is suitable for a black tape with white writing, that’s fine, but if you want a clear label with black ink or a white label with red ink – there are options that you can find and you may want to consider possibilities before you decide on the label maker.
- Multi-use or special projects. If you’re a craft person, then you may want to invest in a label maker that also tackles your special projects with ease. We love the idea of labeling containers so you won’t have to open to see what’s in them, of course, but what if you could use that same machine for your crafting addiction, as well? If crafting or special project in the home, even just Christmas presents for your family are your cup of tea, then you’ll love to make those gorgeous wood signs or mugs with sayings on them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a label maker and how does it work?
A label maker is anything that creates labels. It will print them with its own printing method, or emboss them independently, or even cut them out – all depending on which device you choose. You can find a label maker that works manually to press each letter or symbol into the “tape” to create the indention of that letter and symbol, or you can use a computer program to print (or cut) your letters, design, or craft from the label printing (or cutting) unit. You’ll also have the option of an independent device that has its own keyboard and allows you to type what you want to be printed, then cut it as you see fit. You can choose between a label maker that is controlled by a power cord or one that operates with batteries. No matter what your preferred use, there’s a label maker that can help.
How do you make waterproof labels?
There are specific cartridges and tape that will make your label weather and water-resistant. They may be a bit pricier, but there will be fewer options with a higher success rate. You should do the research on weatherproofing before you make the purchase if you plan on using your label maker for projects that will be exposed to weather or water.
However, if you’re looking for your own weather and water-proofing tips for a DIY job, then you can have moderate to good success with a few other methods, too. You can modge podge over some labels, or use an epoxy – the latter being the most waterproof you can probably get a label but still will want to avoid the dishwasher if you’re planning to use it on cups or plates. For a less robust water-resistance, the simple answer may just be clear packing tape. Use your judgment and do what works best for each specific job.
What can you do with a label maker?
The most common use for a label maker is, obviously, labels. If you want to help yourself along with your organization, labeling your shelves, container, or drawers is an excellent method. You could also use the label maker to label your own concoctions or spices in clear jars. If your family struggles to identify and acclimate to your “system” then a label maker is going to play a key role in their success with your process.
Beyond labeling for the purpose of organization, you can also label for projects. With some types of labels, be it printing or cutting vinyl, you can create specific designs for all kinds of uses. You can use it to create home decor or to make cute sayings to place on a wall or a mug. There are limitless possibilities if you find the right, crafty label maker.
Can I print labels on my printer?
You can print labels on your home printer. And once you get the process down it may very well be easier in bulk. For return address labels or to print the addresses for your Christmas card list, a computer and label system may be smartest. However, for virtually anything beyond bulk use, a label maker will far outmatch the pain that is printing labels on your printer. Not only do you have to buy specific labels, but you’ll also have to find that format and it always seems that format is nowhere on the program. Then the labels need to be placed into the printer right side up, and lined up perfectly – we said “once you get the process down” but make no mistake, it’s not easy to “get down” and you may find that it’s not worth it, even for bulk labels.
Other Label Makers We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other label makers. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best label makers list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for you. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing. For your convenience, we’ve divided the categories based on how you create the label.
Bluetooth Label Makers
This label maker will create your label and automatically cut the end to give you a simple lift-and-go finish.
- 0.25″ to 1″ width range
- Rechargeable battery
- Key feature 3
Print labels, bar codes, or price tags with this label maker that connects to your phone or tablet.
- 8 tape roll sizes available
- 30mm/s printing speed
- Auto-sleep function
By using this label maker, you can connect to your phone or tablet to print your labels via Bluetooth.
- Thermal printing
- 4 color options
- Rechargeable battery
Connect this to your Apple or Android phone or tablet and use the free app to design exactly what you want.
- 2 color options
- Prints up to 2″W x 3.2″L
- 3 label roll types
Label Maker Used with a Computer
This may not have as many functions and features as our top pick, but it will still give you the ability to really increase your DIY game.
- Coordinating tote available
- Free trial membership to Cricut Access
- Print and cuts flawlessly
If you want to print bar codes that will make your organization system even more thorough, this is one label maker that can do that for you.
- 3 packaging options; buy with case or tapes
- Rechargeable batteries
- No software to install
With up to fifty-one labels printed per minute, you’ll definitely speed through your label making with this purchase.
- Thermal printer
- Sleep mode
- 4 packaging options; buy with or without labels
This super bundle pack will allow you to get started on virtually any labeling project you have in mind by giving you 4 rolls of mixed size.
- Up to 51 labels per minute
- Prints 4 lines, standard
- Thermal printing
While this is excellent at creating labels, that’s not all it does; it will also laminate or create magnets with ease.
- Pre-loaded with 25’L x 9″W adhesive cartridge
- 2 color choices
- Refills available
Independent Label Maker
You’ll be able to create labels with nearly anything you’d find on your standard keyboard.
- Use only genuine Brother tapes
- 54 font varieties
- 2 line printing
This label maker has the keyboard set up just as your keyboard, making you as fast at making labels as you are at typing.
- 6 AA batteries required (not included)
- AC cord backup power
- 7 font options
With a variety of tapes available for this label maker, you can opt for whatever label you’d like.
- 1-touch keys
- Memory storage: up to 30 prints
- 6 AAA batteries required (not included)
This independent label maker has a carrying case so you can take it with you or store safely without losing it.
- Up to 7 lines of text
- Personalize with 14 fonts, 11 styles
- Large memory; 99 commonly used labels available
You can buy this label maker on its own or save a bit of time and money by buying the tapes along with your initial purchase.
- Prints up to 10 copies at a time
- 200 symbols, letters, numbers, and ClipArt
- 3 font options
Not only can you see the label before you print it, with a manual cut, you’ll also be able to opt not to cut and print more labels on one long strip, as well.
- Tapes available in listing
- Auto-sleep for extended battery life
- 6 font options
This is a compact label maker that will easily go where you do and is robust enough to handle the beating of those adventures, too.
- Hotkey shortcuts available
- Save commonly used labels to “favorites”
- Prints labels up to 0.75″ wide
The LCD screen on this independent label maker will show up to thirteen characters so you know what your label will look like before you hit print.
- 3 packaging options; with or without tape
- 2 color choices
- Auto-off function
Manual Label Makers
This embosser has a built-in hole punch to create hanging labels and cable tie slot punches, increasing the possibilities of use.
- Multiple models available
- Uses 0.5″ metal labels
- Spin-wheel letter choice
This label maker creates adhesive labels embossed on a plastic tape.
- 2 color options
- No battery needed
- Includes pre-loaded tape and 2 wheels
This manual label maker will create three-dimensional embossed labels without any power required but your own strength.
- Plastic adhesive tape
- Capital and lowercase letters