What kind of labeler should I buy
March 29, 2008 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Should I buy a stand-alone labeler (with built-in keyboard) or a labeler that attaches to my Macintosh? Recommendations for specific models would be great.

Yes, I'm reading Getting Things Done. That means I want a labeler that is very easy to use. It should have low overhead for making "just one label that I need right now" as well as for making a set of thirty labels when I reorganize my files. Maybe I'd use it for spice jars and christmas letters, too, but that's less important.

It should be plug-in, not battery-operated, and it should take up a minimal amount of desk space.

Thank you for helping me reclaim my file drawers, and along with them the rest of my life.
posted by alms to Shopping (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This seems to be the updated version of the Brother PT-65 that I swear by. Making thirty labels is a slight chore, but you can have one label in your hands in the time it takes you to launch MS Word on your computer. It's battery powered, but I know it's been more than a year since I've had to change them.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:06 PM on March 29, 2008

I have a Dymo Labelwriter 400 hooked up to my Mac and I love it. You can very quickly bang out a single label with MS Word, Excel, or the Dymo software. Or you can easily print out a hundred or so at a time. It'll use the Mac address book too for when you need to send out holiday cards.

Swapping label types takes about 30 seconds. It's thermal so there's no ink cartridges needed. It's also very quiet. Plug-in, USB, footprint is about 5x7".

I had a stand-alone Brother but it was *just* a little too much effort to make it worthwhile.
posted by bondcliff at 1:12 PM on March 29, 2008

Another big vote for the Dymo. 500% faster for me than typing on a brother. I usually already have MS Word up on my computer when I'm making a label and I can copy/past an entire address in 2 sec.
posted by underwater at 1:14 PM on March 29, 2008

I use an old, battery powered Dymo Letratag label printer. This seems to the updated version. It is fine for casual use, but I wouldn't want to print 30 labels (unless they were all the same).

Battery powered labellers, with built-in keyboards and LCD screens all seem to be around $30.

If you want to hook a labeller up to your computer it looks like you're paying around $100 or there-about.

The batteries in my labeller last forever, whipping up a quick label or five using the built-in keyboard is easy. New label cartridges are available everywhere. I wouldn't bother getting a USB labeller unless you know you're going to be printing a lot of labels very often.
posted by schwa at 1:16 PM on March 29, 2008

Another vote for the Brother PT-80; I bought one just this past week and have found it very helpful and super easy to use. Also, it was only $25 or so, as opposed to the more expensive models.

On the other hand, why not just buy some Avery labels and print them out with your regular printer? This would give you more flexibility in choosing font, size, etc. There is software on the website that allows you to select an Avery template right from MS Word.
posted by brina at 1:40 PM on March 29, 2008

I've used both types and I like the one you can take down to the garage (I have a Brother) to label the camping gear and bikes etc. The other is great for a work environment where your desk is your home and everything you label is within your arms reach. Lastly, when I had the one that attached to my computer, it did labels for envelopes, rather than the shiny, narrow type. The shiny narrow type stick well, but peel off so very much better than the envelope type. Seriously. But we have no battery problems because some time ago, we bought a stack + a recharger and we have a system. We are never battery-less.

The last thing I would point out, is if you've been swayed and decide to get a portable labeller, spend enough that you get a full keyboard, not a texters keyboard.
posted by b33j at 1:52 PM on March 29, 2008

I use a brother PT2300; it is a standalone labeler with a keyboard that also plugs into the computer via USB. I can take it down to the data center to label servers and cables, or I can use the fairly decent editor software to print labels out directly when I'm back at the desk.

It's battery powered but accepts a standard AC adapter.
posted by jenkinsEar at 2:16 PM on March 29, 2008

Have you visited the David Allen GTD forum for Gear, Gadgets, Software, and Toys? Some threads might have the Mac-specific info you need or some fellow acolytes could advise.

I nearly suggested the Brother PT-1950 that I use; however, it doesn't work with Macs. Pity that, since it prints labels rapidly from the software on my PC, can use AC or batteries, and has a decently-sized keypad.
posted by bonobo at 2:33 PM on March 29, 2008

Both ways have their advantages. If you are doing a big organizing and have a big list of labels to make - best way is sheet labels in your printer laid out in in your word processor. But every time you make a new file? Buy a little cheapie Brother. Well worth the minimal investment. I bet you will find yourself using it all the time. Buy a pack of 25 sheet labels for your first big GTD cleanout/organizing session, then just use the labeler for everyday. That has been my experience anyway. Your style may be different.
posted by mkim at 6:28 PM on March 29, 2008

Why buy a device that is dependent on another device that you know, by definition, will be obsolete in approx. three years time? Buy the stand alone.
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:34 PM on March 29, 2008

The PT-65 is brilliant - we have two in the office so there's always one to hand, and we use it constantly. Simple, and the battery lasts forever. Worth getting a spare label cartridge or two though, they run our relatively quickly.
posted by ArkhanJG at 8:09 PM on March 29, 2008

Our Brother labeler is surprisingly useful. Here's a tip: if you're making several labels at once, fit as many as you can in one data entry batch, with a few spaces between, then just cut between the words with scissors. This prevents the waste of the huge amount of white space that the label puts at the front and back of each individual label printing.
posted by amtho at 8:52 PM on March 29, 2008

« Older cell phone static and home stereos   |   What do do in Green Bay WI? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.