Labels can help you organise your children’s toys, stop their belongings from going walkabout at nursery and make sure you can find exactly what you need quickly and easily.
Whether it’s identifying food before you put it in the fridge or freezer or naming your little one’s water bottle so it doesn’t go missing, labels are a great way of staying organised. Cleaning guru and Instagram sensation Mrs Hinch swears by using labels to make sure everything in her home goes in its proper place.
The celebrity mum-of-two, who welcomed her second son Lennie Alan James Hinchliffe into the world in May, revealed that one of her must-have items was a label maker so she can make her own labels to keep things neat and tidy.
Decluttering expert Marie Kondo and TV presenter and author of Tap to Tidy Stacey Solomon are also massive fans of labelling, causing sales of label makers to soar.
Label makers are light, portable and simple to use and mean you don’t have to worry about having neat handwriting. They’ve come a long way from the basic embossed tapes you might remember from your childhood and you can now produce your own professional-looking stickers to add to drawers, boxes, tubs or anything you like.
Should I pick a monochrome or colour label maker?
Think about what kind of labels you want to create using your label maker before you buy. Machines which make black and white or single colour labels will generally be cheaper but you’re much more limited with the type of results you can produce.
Label makers which print in colour may also give you the option of adding pictures or emojis to your labels which may be a deciding factor in your purchase, especially if you’re making labels for your children. Adding a picture can help your little one identify what the label is for long before he is able to read himself.
What size labels do they create?
The size and type of labels you can make vary depending on the machine you choose so check specifications before you buy. Some label makers will be able to make different types of stickers while others will simply take a roll of adhesive tape and produce labels the same size every time. Look at what type of labels they can make as well – some models will only print on paper, while others will cope with a variety of different materials.
Will I need a computer to use my label maker?
Some label makers are self-contained devices with their own little keyboard, screen and printer. This means you don’t have to worry about connecting it to anything else or dealing with cables. There are also label makers which can connect to your computer or phone using wireless technology Bluetooth so you can get creative with your label design on an app and then print off your creations on a portable machine.
So which label maker should you choose? Here is our pick of the best on the market:
The best label makers
With a little screen and a keyboard, this affordable battery-operated label maker lets you choose exactly what font you want and how big the writing will be, you can even write in italics or add symbols. The really clever thing about this machine is that it prints on different materials – paper, metal, plastic and even iron-on fabric but you’ll need to pay extra for the special LetraTag LT labels to use with it.
The ABC keyboard with the letters in alphabetical letters instead of the QWERTY order you’ll be used to can seem a little strange at first but you’ll soon get used to it.
You can print up to two lines on each label but you are restricted when it comes to size. The only labels you can use with the machine are 12mm so make sure that size will work for whatever you’re planning to use them for you before you buy.
It also has a memory function which can store nine labels to save time if you have any you use regularly.
The Brother PT-D600VP has a colour screen and 99 built-in label designs plus you can connect it to your computer to create your own. There’s also four fonts to choose from as well as 10 writing styles so you won’t be stuck with labels which all look the same.
It isn’t as portable and lightweight as some of the label makers on our list so you’ll probably not want to carry it all over the house – it weighs almost 1kg! However, it feels like a solid piece of equipment and the labels it produces are durable too.
It can cope with tapes of up to 24mm and has a large QWERTY keyboard which will feel similar to using a laptop. You will have to factor in the cost of buying compatible label tape cartridges and it is more expensive than some of the others on our list so perhaps an investment for a committed label convert rather than an absolute beginner.
The LotCow label maker is really compact and light so you can carry it all over the house to label as you go. As it uses Bluetooth, you can use it anywhere you like and it is extremely versatile – you create your labels on your phone or tablet using a special app and then print them off on the machine. It is surprisingly high-tech for its affordable price tag and uses direct thermal printing technology so you won’t need to shell out for printer ink to keep it running.
The label maker itself comes in a range of colours including pink, blue, black and white. You’ll need to add a roll of label tape so you won’t be able to make lots of different-sized stickers but you can play about with designs on the app to create something you’re happy with.
Available in white, pink and black, the Phomemo M200 Bluetooth can print a wide variety of labels making it a really flexible choice without breaking the bank. Instead of just printing thin tape strips, you can use this machine to print wide labels, round labels and even transparent ones. You design your own customised creation in an app so you can pick different styles, fonts, templates and themes before using Bluetooth to connect to the label maker and print it out.
As it uses thermal printing, you don’t have to buy any ink or toner (let’s face it that is usually the worst bit about having a printer). The machine itself is light, small and portable and uses a rechargeable battery. You will usually get between four or five hours of printing before it needs to be plugged in to charge and it can remain on standby mode for up to a week.
The cheapest label maker on our list, this simple device from Dymo makes the kind of embossed tape labels which have been around for decades. It might not use the very latest technology but it is still highly effective and gets the job done. The ergonomic handle is soft and comfortable to hold and you select the letters you want for your label from 49 different characters with a click and turn system. When you want to finish your label, you simply select the scissors icon and it will cut the 9mm plastic tape for you.
You won’t get fancy designs or different fonts and sizes but you can now get tapes in a whole rainbow of colours if you want to produce different types of labels for different things. The best thing about this low-tech label maker, besides the price tag, is that it is so easy to use and it is completely manual so you won’t have to replace batteries or charge it up.
This handheld label maker has its own small monochrome screen and a QWERTY keyboard to type in the text. One of the big plus points is that you can print tapes of different widths – 6mm, 9mm and 12mm - so you’re not stuck with one size or type. It is compatible with lots of tapes on the market so you can shop around and find a colour, type and material you like, although it does come with one roll of 12mm gold on white ribbon. Battery-operated, it takes 6 AAA batteries and they’re not included so stock up before you buy.
The Brother PT-H200 uses thermal printing so no need to buy ink and there are six different fonts you can use. The printing itself is not super-fast and takes a little bit of patience but it is so simple to use one reviewer on Amazon felt confident enough to throw away her instructions after one reading.
This label printer is the most expensive on our list and primarily designed for business use but if you want to create a lot of sticky notes and labels, it might be worth the investment. You can create completely customised labels in four different sizes and even incorporate handwriting or images into your designs if you wish. You need to buy the dedicated paper cartridges to use with the printer and you get one water-resistant cartridge included when you buy. The Nemonic label is compatible with both PCs and Macs as well as Android smartphones and iPhones and you will do all your designing in the app before printing the finished results.