If you sell items online, shipping labels are essential items for your ecommerce business.
There are many different brands of shipping labels on the market. This article identifies the best labels to get your products out the door and to your customers.
I have shipped thousands of packages over the years and am sharing my experience to recommend the best shipping labels in the following two categories.
- Inkjet and laser printer compatible labels
- Thermal shipping labels for a dedicated shipping label printer
Each of the labels reviewed in this article work with most online marketplaces including eBay, Amazon, Etsy, Shopify and WooCommerce.
Thermal Shipping Label Comparison Table
The table below contains a side by side comparison of the best shipping labels.
|MFLABEL Half Sheet Shipping Labels||Avery Internet Shipping Labels 8126||Generic Half Sheet Shipping Labels||Best Print Half Sheet Shipping Labels||OfficeSmartLabels 4” x 6” Thermal Shipping Label|
|Type||Half Sheet Self Adhesive||Half Sheet Self Adhesive||Half Sheet Self Adhesive||Half Sheet Self Adhesive||Thermal Shipping Labels|
|Price||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon|
|Size||Half Sheet; 5.5” x 8.5” each||Half Sheet; 5.5” x 8” each||Half Sheet; 5.5” x 8.5” each||Half Sheet; 5.5” x 8.5” each||4” x 6”|
|Labels Per Order||200|
|200||880 (4 rolls x 220 labels per roll)|
|Compatible Printers||All laser and inkjet printers||All laser and inkjet printers||All laser and inkjet printers||All laser and inkjet printers||Dymo 4XL
Zebra LP 2844-Z
Table of Contents
- Thermal Shipping Label Comparison Table
- Types of Shipping Labels
- Best Shipping Labels for Inkjet and Laser Printers
- Best Name Brand Shipping Labels for Inkjet and Laser Printers
- Dymo 4XL Compatible Thermal Shipping Labels
- Why Use Shipping Labels?
- Considerations When Buying Shipping Labels
- Final Thoughts
Types of Shipping Labels
Whether you run an ecommerce website shipping hundreds of packages per day or sell through eBay or Etsy and ship a few items per week, shipping is a necessary part of your business. Of course, every package must have a shipping label.
There are three methods to add a shipping label to your package. They are as follows.
- Tape a plain sheet of paper to your package.
- With this method, a label is printed to a plain sheet of copy paper.
- The label is manually cut out with scissors.
- It is taped to the box or envelope with clear tape.
- Self-adhesive labels compatible with inkjet and laser printers.
- These labels typically come two per sheet.
- Each label is about 5.5” x 8.5”.
- They have an adhesive backing.
- After printing, you peel the adhesive off the back and stick it to the package.
- No tape is required.
- Thermal labels for a dedicated shipping label printer.
- Fastest way to print shipping labels.
- No ink is required; the printer uses heat to print to the thermal label.
- A typical receipt that you get at the grocery store is an example of thermal printing.
- Thermal shipping labels are similar except they are much more durable.
- They have an adhesive backing. No tape is required.
Each method has its own set of pros and cons. They are listed out in the table below along with the recommended labels for each category.
|Inkjet and Laser Printer Labels||Thermal Shipping Labels||Printer Paper & Tape|
|Recommended Labels||“MFLABEL” Half Sheet Self Adhesive Shipping Labels||4x6 “OfficeSmartLabels”||N/A|
|Price||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||N/A|
If you ship more than 20 packages per week, I strongly recommend using a dedicated shipping label printer. These printers are extremely fast, use no ink, and can cut your shipping time by more than half. There is an upfront investment, but you will save money over time through cost savings by not having to purchase ink. Also, time savings due to the labels printing in a fraction of the time it takes to print a label on an inkjet printer.
Best Shipping Labels for Inkjet and Laser Printers
If you are using a regular inkjet or laser printer to print shipping labels, your best bet is to buy the MFLABEL half sheet shipping labels.
For those of you cutting out labels with scissors and taping them to your package, trust me, this is what you are looking for!
They are available in the following quantities. There are two labels per sheet.
- 200 labels (100 sheets)
- 500 labels (250 sheets)
- 1,000 labels (500 sheets)
- 1,600 labels (800 sheets)
- 2,000 labels (1,000 sheets)
- 4,000 labels (2,000 sheets)
- 6,000 labels (3,000 sheets)
- 8,000 labels (4,000 sheets)
These inkjet labels look just like a regular sheet of white paper except they have an adhesive backing that you peel off. There is no cutting involved. They are two completely separate labels on the same sheet.
Not having to cut the label out will save you time on shipping. If you ship even 10 items per week, you will save time that you can use to list other items or do something else that is making you money.
Since there are two labels per sheet, you can print multiples at the same time. If you print one label at a time, you will need to turn the page around to print the second label.
The labels are heavier than a regular sheet of paper. They are not heavy enough to add extra weight to your package, but heavy enough to withstand rough treatment by package handlers.
Another key point with these labels is the ink does not bleed. A lot of times with adhesive labels like this the ink tends to saturate into the paper making the labels hard to read. These labels do not have this issue which speaks further to their quality.
As an added bonus, you will also receive twelve 2” x 3” stickers that read “Fragile.” You can put these on your packages that have breakable items.
Finally, they can be peeled off with a moderate amount of force. This is good if you mislabel a package and need to remove it. Don’t get me wrong, they will not fall off during shipment, but at the same time they will not rip the cardboard off of a box if you need to remove it.
If you are looking for cheap labels, these are the ones I recommend. They do not have super strong adhesive and they may not completely white out a label or writing underneath. However, at the end of the day, they are a cheap way to get your package to its destination. At the end of the day, that’s what matters.
Best Name Brand Shipping Labels for Inkjet and Laser Printers
If you had rather go with name brand shipping labels, consider the Avery Internet Postage Labels.
Avery has what is described as “TrueBlock” technology with these labels. If you are recycling a previously used box, the TrueBlock technology masks the label underneath. In other words, it allows you to put the Avery labels on top of an existing label without seeing through it. Avery’s TrueBlock technology is a creative way of saying their labels are not transparent. They are thick and solid white. You cannot see through them and they cover up the remnants of any previously used label or writing underneath.
A key advantage of these labels is how well the adhesive sticks to the package. Once it’s on there, it’s stuck for good. This compares superior to many of the cheaper brands that do not stick quite as well and need to be supplemented with tape.
The labels measure 5.5” x 8” each. There are two labels per sheet.
Overall, the name brand Avery labels will typically cost more per label than the generic brands. However, with a higher quality label you may have better peace of mind knowing that your package has a better chance to make it to its destination with the label intact.
Below is a demo of the labels by Avery Products on YouTube.
Dymo 4XL Compatible Thermal Shipping Labels
If you are looking for high quality 4×6 shipping labels, the best labels are sold by OfficeSmartLabels. They work just as well as the genuine Dymo labels and you may find them cheaper if you shop around.
These are thermal labels that are intended for use in a dedicated shipping label printer (such as a Dymo or Zebra printer). They will not work in an inkjet or laser printer!
The OfficeSmartLabels are sold in a quantity of 4 rolls with 220 labels per roll.
They fit perfectly in the DYMO 4XL label printer. I also use them in my Zebra LP 2844-Z thermal label printer with no problems.
OfficeSmartLabels is an aftermarket brand. Typically, aftermarket means cheaper and in the case of OfficeSmartLabels, quality is not compromised. Buying quality aftermarket shipping labels in a larger quantity is an effective way to bring down the price per label and increase your profit margins.
The MSRP of these labels is much lower than the name brand DYMO labels. I’m not sure why anyone would pay a premium for the name brand labels when these work just as well.
A few key points I like about the OfficeSmartLabels shipping labels include:
- Labels do not cause the printer to jam
- Low percentage of misprints
- Edges lay flat and do not curl
- Surface material allows the printer to print clearly without smearing
The OfficeSmartLabels brand shipping labels are high quality. The adhesive on the backing of the labels is among the strongest you will find. The glue is super strong with the ability to support a box weighing 4.5 lbs without ripping off.
If you are looking for a good quality 4×6 label, consider these. You can also check customer reviews on Amazon to see what other professional sellers who ship a high volume of packages are saying.
Why Use Shipping Labels?
Shipping labels save you time during the shipping process. As an online seller, I have shipped thousands of packages over the years and have plenty of experience in this area.
The number of packages you ship per week and the amount of time you are willing to spend shipping packages determines the type of shipping labels you should use. The labels that are printed through an inkjet printer work, but the process is much slower than a dedicated thermal shipping label printer.
If you are using just a plain piece of paper and manually cutting out the label, consider the amount of time it takes you. As a general rule of thumb, using an adhesive label that you print in an inkjet or label printer will cut the time spent shipping in half. Using a shipping label printer that is designed to print thermal shipping labels will cut the time spent shipping in half again.
The next step up from simply cutting a label out from a sheet of copy paper are the half sheet labels that have an adhesive backing. These can be printed in a normal inkjet or laser printer. This are appropriate for most small sellers shipping only a few packages each week. They are convenient because you can use a printer that you probably already have. Just be careful if you ship in any kind of volume. The ink costs add up, it takes longer, and it puts a lot of wear and tear on a printer that is not likely designed to print a high volume over time.
After you have graduated from half sheet labels, the next step is a dedicated shipping label printer. These printers use thermal technology to print. There is no ink to buy because the printer uses heat to print to a specially designed thermal label. They are also very fast. Thermal shipping label printers will print a label in just a few seconds. The money you save on ink and the time you save on your shipping process each day will pay for itself many times over in the long run if you are a high-volume shipper.
Considerations When Buying Shipping Labels
There are a few things to consider when buying shipping labels.
The first step is to determine the volume of labels you are printing each week. If it’s less than about 20 per week you will probably be fine with the half sheet labels that print in a regular inkjet or laser printer. If you are printing more than about 20, I recommend making the investment and purchase a shipping label printer.
The next step is to determine how much you value quality labels. The Avery labels recommended in this article are high quality. They have strong adhesive and you cannot see anything underneath them (i.e. a previous label if you are reusing a box). Appearance is important if you are trying to build a customer base. On the other hand, if you all you are concerned with is making sure the package makes it to its destination, you will be ok with our top recommended labels, the MFLABEL half sheet labels. They will stick to your package fine and there is no need to be overly concerned with them falling off the package while in transit with the carrier. If you would like other opinions you can read the customer reviews on Amazon.
The final step is to determine your budget. The generic labels will typically have the lowest unit cost. If you divide the total cost of the labels (including shipping) by the number of labels you will likely find you are paying a few pennies per label. If you ship a lot, those pennies add up. You should also consider the long-term cost of paying for ink and time you are spending printing labels to determine whether it makes sense to invest in a shipping label printer.
Quality of Shipping Labels
With all things equal, the name brand shipping labels are typically going to be better quality than the aftermarket brands. However, the aftermarket brands are cheaper. That is usually the tradeoff.
However, in this article I have identified aftermarket brands whose quality is just as good as the name brand labels.
In general, whichever labels you decide to buy, there are a few key factors that determine the quality of labels. They are listed below.
- Do they print clearly
- Edges curl
- Does the glue stick well?
If you do not buy the labels recommended in this article, be sure to read reviews from another trusted source (such as customer reviews on Amazon).
Labels are a commodity that ultimately comes down to price. Price per label is a metric. The best way to bring down the price per label is to buy in bulk. Typically, the more labels in your order, the lower the price per label will be.
The cheaper, non-name brand labels will almost always be cheaper when it’s all said and done.
There are several good options out there for good shipping labels. If you find a brand that works well for you, my advice is to stick with them.
Also, do not underestimate the cost and time savings of a dedicated shipping label printer. If you are looking for a way to speed up your shipping process, one of these will make the biggest impact for that initiative.
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