Organizing your home and office has never been hotter. We’re spending more time in our houses and working from home offices. Meanwhile, we’re binging on organizing shows such as Get Organized with The Home Edit and Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. More people than ever see the value in creating a place for everything!
But let’s face it, it’s tricky to keep everything in its place, especially after you rearrange items. Who can remember where everything goes? A label maker makes that process easier. Keep reading to learn how to reorganize your home and office with a label maker. Then dig into our label maker buying guide to find the best label maker for your needs.
How to use a label maker
Label makers and tapes have more uses than you may think. They make it simple to label drawers and bins with what’s inside so you don’t have to remember where things belong when you tidy. They can also help you mark food items and beauty products with expiration dates to help you clean out cupboards on a regular basis.
If multiple people put items away in your kitchen, pantry, or linen closet, labeling shelves makes it painless for everyone to adhere to the same organization methods. And labels make finding what you need easy as pie. When kids are involved, label makers are absolute game changers; use them to mark bins where toys, books, art supplies, and costumes go to make your children’s spaces easy to clean up. Bonus: Toys will be easier than ever to locate.
Finally, a label maker can help you reimagine your home office, which could save you stress and boost your productivity. Organize your shelves, desk, and file cabinet, and label files, binders, bins, and notebooks so you never lose supplies or important documents again.
As you create labels, choose categories that aren’t so general as to be meaningless. For example, a “dinner” label in your pantry may not be helpful, since the majority of foods are probably for dinner. But be careful not to get too specific or you won’t have a place to put everything.
Once you decide which labels you want and where to use them, it’s time to choose a label maker. Use this label maker buying guide to pick the best one for you.
Your label maker buying guide
With so many label makers and printers on the market, you may be unsure which ones are best suited to your needs. Narrow down your options by considering which of the following factors are most important to you. Then, check our suggestions for top-rated label makers below.
While some label makers are designed to stay in one spot on a desk or shelf, most of the models designed for personal (rather than commercial) use are fairly small and easy to store. That being said, not all are as easy to hold as others, so take note of the size, weight, and shape if you want to carry yours from room to room.
You can find label makers for a little more than $20, and they can run into the hundreds or even more than $1000 for models designed for commercial and industrial use. Pricier doesn’t necessarily mean better. If you want to mark a few bins and shelves around your home, you don’t need a heavy-duty machine designed for retail or manufacturing applications. Most of the highest-rated personal use options are $100 or less.
Weight and size are certainly a factor when it comes to portability, but you’ll also want to consider the power source, as battery-powered label makers are far more portable than those requiring a plug.
- Cost of label tape
The cost of the machine isn’t the only price you need to consider. Different machines require different types of label tape. If you anticipate going through a lot of it, the expense can add up. When you select a machine, look at the tape requirements and factor in those costs. Note that some models automatically create a buffer of a half inch or so on labels, which uses more tape and adds to your costs.
- Batteries and charger
Check whether the label maker can run on batteries (and, if so, what kind) or an AC adapter. Some have the option to use both.
Many machines use a QWERTY-style keyboard, as on a computer or smartphone, which some people find easier than an ABC-style keyboard. The size of the keys and the spaces between them can also impact user experience, especially for people with large or less steady fingers or for people who struggle to see small letters and numbers.
- Ease of use
Learning to use your label maker shouldn’t require an advanced degree. But considering how many options some machines have for fonts, sizes, templates, colors, and more, you may experience a bit of a learning curve. Read the reviews on machines you’re considering to see whether users caught on quickly. If they didn’t, assess whether you want to learn something new. Label makers that connect to your PC may make it possible to enhance your labels with graphics.
While there’s nothing wrong with old-school label makers that had one type of tape and punched out letters and numbers in a single standard size, today’s label makers do a lot more. If you want to add ornamentation to your organization, the sky’s the limit. Look for machines with a variety of fonts, emojis, colors, and symbols; some even have clip art available. And if you don’t want to come up with your own personal aesthetic, opt for a label maker with pre-designed templates so you can create customized labels at the touch of a button.
- Label size
A label maker that offers a variety of label sizes can be handy. For instance, you can adjust font sizes, include multiple lines of text, and add symbols and pictures to your labels. But if you only plan to use your label maker for a single purpose, this function may be unnecessary.
Top-rated label makers to consider
Now, it’s time to shop! Should you opt for a Dymo label maker, or would a Brother label maker be a better option? Let’s look at the most highly rated label makers and see what makes them so great.
This label maker tops some lists of best label makers because it packs a punch at an affordable price. It offers a QWERTY-style keyboard and more than 14 fonts, 97 frames, 600 symbols, and 27 templates. Plus, you can store as many as 30 of your most-used labels to make them easy to access. A lightweight, portable option, it comes with a protective case that holds the label maker, batteries, and additional tapes. You can check your labels in advance with a preview option to avoid typos.
With this popular low-priced model, you can make water-resistant labels in lots of sizes. With a QWERTY-style keyboard, users can choose from six font sizes and eight text styles, along with four boxes, more than 200 symbols, and clip-art images. Customization options also include text and background colors as well as the ability to format with bold, italics, underlining, and more. The large LCD screen make print previewing simple.
You can create highly customized labels with the large QWERTY-style keyboard on this label maker. It prints with lightning speed and cuts labels automatically. You can connect it to your computer with a USB cord, allowing you to design labels — everything from standard labels to high-resolution barcodes and logos — on a PC or Mac. With 14 fonts, 11 font styles, 99 frames, and more than 700 symbols, this label maker is a workhorse. Plus, you can include up to seven lines of text on your labels, so confusing abbreviations are a thing of the past. The display gives you a color and backlit preview, and it detects the color of tape you’re using to give you a sneak peek at your labels before you print.
Organizing on the go? This lightweight label maker offers a perfect portable solution. It doesn’t offer quite as much for customization as some of the others, with three fonts, five patterns, 14 frames, and 250 symbols on the QWERTY keyboard. But simple can be better if you want to create labels in a hurry. And on the occasions when you want to get fancier, you can choose from 10 pre-designed decorative labels. Plus, colors and specialty tapes are available for additional oomph.
For the ultimate in portability, don’t miss this hand-held, battery-powered, lightweight label maker. With five font sizes, seven print styles, and eight box styles that can print on up to two lines using an ABC-style keyboard, it keeps things simple. And its thermal printing system is designed for speed. The LCD screen shows 13 characters, so you’ll have a chance to preview your work.
A label maker can help you keep your home and office organized, and the right label maker can help make the process quick and easy. Think through the different ways you’d like to use a label maker before you begin shopping, and choose a model that meets your needs. You’ll have the perfectly edited home and office of your dreams in no time!