When it comes to buying barcode labels, you might think cheaper is better. After all, who wants to spend more for something as simple as barcode labels?
But many companies who think they are saving money on barcodes are later surprised to find out how much “cheaper” labels really cost, especially once they realize how much extra money they end up paying in premature printhead replacements, lost productivity, and workflow disruptions from scanning issues.
Here are the six ways that cheap barcode labels cost more over time and how you can ultimately save money and headaches by investing in better quality supplies.
1. Low-cost labels are usually made of low-quality materials. That makes them cheaper to produce, but cheap labels often have rougher surfaces that damage your printer’s printhead and cause premature wear.
That will cause your printhead elements to fail prematurely, which costs you hundreds or thousands of dollars in early replacements. It can also cause poor print quality and render barcodes and label information unreadable, which means your workers will be wasting time having to reprint and re-scan.
2. Cheap direct thermal labels often have issues with heat sensitivity due to their lower-quality materials. This means ink doesn’t transfer as well to the label, and you may end up having to make constant printer setting adjustments to avoid barcode scanning issues.
3. If you’re using pre-printed colors on your labels, your colors can actually end up transferring to your printhead and causing an ink buildup when you’re using cheaper, lower-quality materials. The buildup slows down your printing and can cause print quality issues, resulting in more wasted time and cost on reprinting and re-scanning.
4. If you choose cheap labels and they’re not made with the right materials to withstand the conditions where you apply and use them, you can easily end up with damaged and unreadable barcodes and information. This is especially important if your labels will be exposed to sunlight, moisture, water, or chemicals.
5. Adhesion is another common problem with low-cost barcode labels because they’re often produced with substandard adhesives that aren’t matched to specific labeling applications. Your labels can end up peeling or falling off, leaving your assets, products, or shipments unidentified and not trackable.
6. If you’re buying cheap labels, they’re probably not matched to your printer ribbon, which can quickly cause print fading and rub-off.
How to Make a Smarter Investment in Barcode Labels
Ultimately, to minimize long-term label, printing, and operational costs, companies should invest in higher quality labels and match the right labels and supplies with their unique application requirements.
Our best recommendation is to invest in Zebra-certified printing supplies, which are manufactured with consistent and ISO-certified processes, so you get the highest quality and performance.
Zebra labels are rigorously pre-tested on Zebra printers and in specific applications to assess printhead wear, print quality, adhesion, durability, and scannability.
Zebra has over 500 stock labels, ribbons, and supplies to choose from, with specialized materials for any application and environment.
Their superior quality means they perform flawlessly, reduce your printhead wear and related costs, reduce your supplies usage, and can save you thousands of dollars in reprinting, wasted labels, re-scanning, printer adjustments, servicing, and printhead replacements.
As an added bonus, if you use Zebra printers and agree to use Zebra supplies exclusively, you get 100% protection against premature printhead failure. If a printhead ever fails prematurely, it will be replaced at no cost.