Best Portable Barcode Printers

Portable barcode printers buying guide. Direct or Thermal transfer portable bar code printers? Popular barcode label printer for mobile applications.

What is a Portable Barcode Printer?

portable barcode printers brother ql 570Barcode Printer

Portable Bar code printers are small and easy to carry devices that are designed to print barcodes, shipping labels, stamps, CD-DVD, envelopes and tags for variety applications.

Based on its technology and printing capabilities they are also known as: barcode label printers, thermal transfer and direct thermal printers.

Why buying a portable barcode printer is a good idea!

Do you find yourself printing barcode labels and wishing that you could take the printer with you at the job site or warehouse? Or, you prefer saving time by printing the stamps at home at your convenience, instead of waiting in the post office? If so, portable barcode printers may be the solution made just for you. This review should provide all the information that you need to make an informed decision as to which portable barcode printer is the best.

A portable barcode label printer allows you easily to create and print barcode labels for use at home or business. Because the device is portable, you can bring this device anywhere without problems.


There are two types of small portable barcode printers that are used for printing labels: thermal transfer and direct thermal.

Both printers are using heat, which is through the thermal printheads applied directly or indirectly on the label.

Thermal transfer Bar code printers use a normal labeling mechanism, i.e. paper and wristbands, polyester and a ribbon. A printhead uses heat, which is applied onto the ribbon that contains the ink. When the ink is heated, the ink is transferred to the label. The advantage of this labeling process is that the labels are becoming heat resistant making them durable and long lasting. Thermal transfer printers can work with or without ribbons.

Thermal ribbons come in three types of material, wax, wax-resin or pure resin, which allows printing of the barcodes and other information onto the wider variety of materials.

Wax ribbons allow printing onto paper labels, wax-resin ribbons for printing on smooth or coated paper, and pure resin ribbon allows printing on plastic labels. The use of pure resin onto plastic labels would allow your bar code label to be resistant to the sun exposure, water, and some chemicals.

Direct thermal printing does not use a ribbon. Rather, the labels are heat sensitive so that when the printhead is heated, the label turns black. Direct thermal printers actually "burn" the image directly onto a label. Labels for direct thermal printers are more expensive than those used in thermal transfer printers.

Either one you buy, your printer should support multiple types of barcode symbologies, which is not the case with the general purpose laser and inkjet printers.


Portable barcode printers are versatile as they can be used for many applications. They can be used not only for printing quality barcode labels but receipts, labels, tickets, envelopes, CD/DVDs and other. They are compact, lightweight and easy to carry. Modern barcode printers use WiFi and Bluetooth technology for wireless printing. Thermal label printers are more efficient and less messy than other types of printers.

Buying guide

Portable barcode printers should be lightweight but compact and robust for easy carrying and frequent use. The batteries are mainly Lithium ion type and longer the battery last, better. Battery charger is must to have for convenient and hassle free use.

Look for the barcode printer which uses the variety of character types with many fonts and barcode types.

Most of the small barcode printers are coming with software to communicate with PCs, Mac, Laptops and provide quality printing using serial, Bluetooth, infra-red or WiFi. Some models come with the label creating software, which is very convenient as you can make customized labels.

Speed is another important factor to consider but don't trade the quality for the speed. Look for the printers that have the ability to print high-resolution labels.

Best Portable Barcode Printers for the Value

DYMO LabelWriter 450

DYMO 450 Turbo portable barcode label printerDYMO LabelWriter 450

According to consumer reviews, the DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo High-Speed Label Printer is a good deal for the price. This is the portable barcode printer that allows you to create and print address, shipping or folder labels, barcode labels, tags and name badges using the thermal printing technology.

DYMO 450 can print fast, up to 71 labels a minute without using the expensive ink or toners.

DYMO 450 prints labels directly and is compatible with the Microsoft Word and Excel, Outlook, Quickbooks, and operating systems Windows and Mac.

Pros and cons. Some of the pros for using this particular printer are the inkless printing, automatic connection to your Outlook contacts, automatic zip code printing, and many different label sizes. The free software that is provided with the printer allows you to print a wide range of USPS pre-selected postage amounts. The con to using the Dymo 450 is the complaint by its owners that it is difficult to install new labels.

It is rated 4 out of 5 based on 60 customer reviews. It sells for approximately $100 and has 2-year warranty.


brother ql 570 portable bar code printerBROTHER QL-570

Another popular brand among high quality portable barcode printers is the BROTHER QL-570 Professional Label Printer. This portable barcode label printer produces high resolution labels at a rate of up to 68 labels a minute and 300 x 600 dpi, making it great for home and business use.

BROTHER QL-570 is compatible with the PC and Mac, it is using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Outlook and it comes with the P-touch label creation software for custom made labels.

The printer is able to print shipping and envelope labels, CD/DVD labeling, name badges and tags for much more applications. Additionally, this label printer also has a label cutter which automatically cuts each label per your specifications. Many users claim that the changing of labels is made easy with this model that the model is fast and reliable. The major complaints were related to the setup and installation.

BROTHER QL-570 is rated 4.4 out of 5 stars and based on over 100 reviews. It is selling for approximately $50.


Portable barcode printers are the perfect options for people on the go, for printing labels at the point of collection and bar coded labels. These portable label and barcode printers are design to print labels at the fast rate, making the labeling process easier and convenient.

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