5 Best Label Makers for Teachers

chrisAbout the Author: Hi, I’m Chris Drew. I’m a former teacher with a PhD in Education. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

My Top Choice

Brother P-Touch Label Maker
3,766 Reviews
Brother P-Touch Label Maker
  • Smart compact design with large keyboard and convenient top loading tape design
  • Full color, high resolution display with backlight
  • Create labels using the wide easy type keyboard or connect to a PC or MAC for additional functionality
  • Includes AC adapter or purchase batteries for on the go use
  • 2 year limited warranty and free phone support for the life of your product

The P-Touch PTD-600 is easy to use and has tons of font options. Use it as a standalone label maker or connect it to the computer for more design options.

As an elementary school teacher, I used label makers all the time. They’re great for ensuring students don’t lose their books or steal your books. They’re also great for labeling students’ tote trays and desks at the start of the year so everything is nice and organized before the students get to school.

Label makers come in roughly three price brackets. The lower price bracket is around $30-$50 for a basic label maker. It will run off AAA batteries, have a very basic interface, and minimal personalization. The medium price bracket is about $100. It will have additional options like computer connectivity and the ability to modify your label designs extensively. At the top bracket, For $150-$200. you can get a label maker that will print full color, elaborately designed labels like ones you’ll see on a premium jam jar.

There’s a full buyer’s guide and selection criteria at the end of this post. But let’s jump straight to the part you want to read: my favorite label makers!

In my opinion, the best label makers for teachers are:

  • Brother PTD600 P-touch Label Maker
  • Brother VC-500W Color Label & Photo Printer
  • DYMO LabelWriter 450
  • DYMO COLORPOP Color Label Maker
  • DYMO LetraTag 100H Handheld Label Maker

Best Label Maker for Teachers

#Label MakerBrief OverviewPriceMy Rating
1.Brother PTD600 P-touch Label MakerBest overall. This one is easy to use and prints with great detail. Check Price on Amazon9/10
2.Brother VC-500W Color Label & Photo PrinterTop quality for professional labels. Prints amazing quality color labels that you design on your computerCheck Price on Amazon9/10
3.DYMO LabelWriter 450Good for bulk printing. This one has a professional feel for book covers and letters to parents.Check Price on Amazon8/10
4.DYMO COLORPOP Color Label MakerAn affordable value-for-money choice. This one is designed for fun – your kids will love it. I love the 150 emojis you can print.Check Price on Amazon7/10
5.DYMO LetraTag 100H Handheld Label MakerCheap and portable. I like that it comes with 3 refills, but has an older feel with less options.Check Price on Amazon6.5/10

1. Brother PTD600 P-touch Label Maker

Quick Review: So easy to use and prints with great detail.

I’m a really big fan of this label maker which is why it’s my top pick.

In the past I’ve been quite disappointed with the screen resolution of label makers. But this one had a really nice modern feel. The QWERTY keyboard felt really familiar coming from typing on a computer. And the display makes it really easy to create customized labels in seconds.

You can walk around with it and create labels on the go, or connect it to the computer and create more elaborate labels using their app. It’s a really good little label maker that’s serving me well.

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Quick Tip: “Make sure you buy tape with your label maker. Search Amazon for “TZe tapes” (Up to 1 inch). Choose a color and add it to your cart.”

Why this Label Maker:

  • Easy to Use: The full-color back-lit display puts competitors to shame. I can’t believe so many label makers out there still look like graphing calculators from the 1990s. This one actually feels modern, which makes using it a lot easier. I found I could print nice easy labels using the display within minutes of getting it out of the box.
  • Plenty of Design Options: You can choose from 14 fonts, 11 font styles, 99 frames and over 600 symbols to personalize every label. You can also change out the label width, up to 24mm (just under 1 inch).
  • 7 Lines Per Label: I like that you can write from 1 to 7 lines on a label. It’s great for printing a student’s name, the subject of the book, and the class they’re in all on the one label.
  • Portable: You can print labels while walking around the classroom.
  • Connects to Computer: You can also use a USB to connect the label maker to the computer. Use their software to create elaborate labels and then print them directly to the label maker – great for more elaborate designs.

Keep in Mind:

  • Medium Price Point: If you think this price point is a little too steep (it’s mid range) you can get cheaper, simpler label makers on the market. My option for a good basic and affordable label maker is the DYMO ColorPop (jump to my review of the ColorPop Label Maker).

2. Brother VC-500W Color Label & Photo Printer

Quick Review: Prints amazing quality color labels that you design on your computer.

Brother VC-500W Color Label Printer is a huge step up from any other label maker on this list. It’d be great for a hardcore teacher who’s into creating amazing designs for their labels. (This is the sort of label maker you might like for producing branded labels on jam jars.)

The labels are in full color and high quality. You can use an app on your computer to create your labels (PC and Mac both acceptable). Wifi is required to operate the printer.

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Quick Tip: “Make sure you buy tape with your label maker. Search Amazon for “Brother CZ-1001” to “Brother CZ-1005″ label rolls.”

Why this Label Maker:

  • Amazing Quality: It’s clearly the label maker on this list that creates the highest quality, full color and large labels.
  • Label Editor App: You create the labels on your computer, meaning you can add in designs and images to create a really fancy label.
  • Up to 2 Inch Wide Labels: You can print out labels up to 2 inches wide, which is much wider and larger than any other label on this list.

Keep in Mind:

  • Time Consuming: My main worry is that it would just suck up all my time that I need to be spending on lesson planning!
  • Price: It is the most expensive item on this list because it’s got the most features.

3. DYMO LabelWriter 450

Quick Review: Professional feel for book covers and letters to parents.

This one has an office feel and was probably designed for office or retail type labels. But the reason I like it for teaching is because you can print straight from popular apps like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.

Now I’m a bit techy, so I’ve managed to get it to auto-print all my students’ names (using mail merge in Word) without me having to manually type in all of their names individually. That saved me a good 45 minutes of my day – and that’s the real drawing card of this label maker … when you know how to use it, it saves you a TON of time.

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Quick Tip: “This one comes with two rolls. You can add rolls in your purchase, up to 6. Each roll has 350 labels.”

Why this Label Maker:

  • Very good Printing: It prints really fine, high quality text and images from your computer.
  • Bulk Printing: You hack it it to print your whole class manually from an excel sheet (if you’re techy enough). It’s so nice to be able to print the whole class’s labels at once then go about sticking them!

Keep in Mind:

  • Learning Curve: If you’re not super tech inclined, it might take you some time to get it working and figure out how to hack it to print your whole class’s labels in bulk.
  • Must use Computer: If you want to just walk around and type out your label on the spot, this isn’t for you. It’s best for making labels in bulk for the whole class at once.

4. DYMO COLORPOP Color Label Maker

Quick Review: Designed for fun – your kids will love it. I love the 150 emojis you can print.

The DYMO Colorpop feels fun and easy to use. I find students love using it because it has nice colorful tapes (sold separately) and they can choose an emojo to add to their tag.

It’s nice that it is portable and has a simple cutter on the right-hand side (a pity I’m left handed). It really is a nice simple label maker that is fun to use.

One thing that annoys me is the requirement for 6 x AAA batteries which run out quickly (it feels a bit old school!).

chris 152

Quick Tip: “Make sure you buy tape with your label maker. Search Amazon for “DYMO D1 1/2 Inch tapes”. Choose a color and add it to your cart.”

Why this Label Maker:

  • I love the Emojis: You can choose between 150 different emojis to brighten up your labels. Let your students choose their emoji for their own label!
  • Simple: There aren’t a ton of options for decorating or improving your labels (besides the emojis and a few font edits) but it’s also nice and simple to use.
  • Affordable: It’s one of the more affordable label makers on the market. Just don’t forget to add label refills to your order so you can use it when it arrives!

Keep in Mind:

  • Letters Annoyingly Close Together: I like that it’s a qwerty keyboard, but the letters feel so close together for my fat hands that I often get frustrated with it.
  • 6x AAA Batteries: It’s quite outdated for a product to rely on non-rechargeable batteries these days.

5. DYMO LetraTag 100H Handheld Label Maker

Quick Review: I like that it comes with 3 refills, but has an older feel with less options.

The nice thing about this label maker is the three spare rolls of label that you get with it. You should get a ‘white plastic’, ‘white paper’ and ‘clear plastic’ roll. It means you can use it for quite a long time before having to purchase refills.

It’s also a portable label maker which is nice at times when you’re creating labels on-the-go.

It’s good for basic labels, but your options for personalization are limited.

However, I’m not the biggest fan of the screen display, which is quite basic and black-and-white.

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Good News: “There’s no need to buy labels with this one – it comes with a 3 pack of label refills!”

Why this Label Maker:

  • Lasts a Long Time: The 3 refills it comes with will last you a long time into the school year.
  • Portable: Carry it around and print when and where you want around the classroom. No need to be connected to a computer.

Keep in Mind:

  • Feels Old: I don’t like the ‘old’ feeling – the display is very basic, black-and-white, and pixelated.
  • Limited Options: It’s good for basic labels but with only 1 font, 5 font sizes, and 7 text styles, there’s not much scope for personalization or making attractive labels.

What to Look for in a Label Maker

1. Font and Color Options

Font: Many label makers come with minimal font options. I prefer a label maker where I can choose my font, font size and other basics like underlining, italicizing or bolding you font.

Color: Most label makers come in black only – especially your basic ones on this list. But if you go with the Brother VC-500W Color Label Printer, you can print in color, too.

2. Price

Unfortunately price and quality are pretty extensively correlated. Here’s a quick guide:

Lower Price Bracket: You’re looking at about $30-$50 for a basic black and white label maker that’s run using AAA batteries. These usually have minimal personalization options. My top pick in this price bracket is the DYMO ColorPop.

Middle Price Bracket: You’re looking at around the $100 range for a mid priced label maker. These will usually have additional options like computer connectivity and the ability to modify your label designs pretty extensively. The Brother PTD600 P-touch (my top pick) fits in this middle bracket, and I’m a big fan of it.

High Price Bracket: You’re looking at $150-$200 for a higher priced product that will print large, full-color labels like the sorts of labels you’d see on a jam jar. The Brother VC-500W fits in this price bracket.

3. Screen and Computer Interface

You can choose between a label maker with a screen, one that only operates via computer, or one where you can choose.

Screen Interfaces: Traditional label makers have screens that are pixelated, black-and-white, and annoyingly unresponsive. If you buy a cheap label maker, you’ll have to deal with this.

One of my favorite things about the Brother PTD600 P-Touch is that it’s got a fantastic full-color screen.

Computer Interface: Some label makers have computer connectivity so you can make the label using an app. You can then print it via the computer like you would with a normal printer. The Brother PTD600 P-Touch, Brother VC-500W, and DYNO LabelWriter 350 all have computer connectivity.

4. Batteries

Frustratingly, some label makers still run off AAA batteries. Other newer models run off rechargeable lithium-ion batteries or just plug directly into the wall (if not portable).

5. Portability vs. Computer Connectivity

You can choose between a portable label maker or one that you must use from your computer desk.

Portable: Portable label makers include the Brother PTD600 P-touch, DYMO LetraTag 100H, and DYMO ColorPop.

These portable label makers are great if you want to walk around the classroom and write labels on-the-spot. They’re great when you just want to go around the classroom and label all your stationery and computer devices you have lying around.

Non-Portable Computer Connected: A non-portable label maker has one great benefit: bulk printing. You can sit at your computer and write out 30 – 60 (or more!) labels at once, then hand them out to your students to stick them on their books and belongings.

My favorite – the Brother PTD600 P-touch – is both portable and capable of being connected to the computer.

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Final Thoughts

When choosing the best label maker for teachers, you need to think about how you’ll use it. Do you want to carry it around or print all the labels from your computer? Are you okay with just plain fonts, or do you want a mix of different fonts and designs?

In finding the right balance between portability, price and design options, I decided on the Brother PTD600 P-touch.

I hope this review has been useful to you, and good luck with your class this year!

– Chris

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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