About a year after I started my side business on Etsy selling decals and signs, I looked into buying a thermal printer to speed up my shipping process. Printing out labels on paper, trimming it, and taping them to the packages took a decent amount of time. Thermal printers are a great investment for serious businesses — they don’t need ink refills, you can print directly on properly sized labels, and the labels will not smear if they get wet.
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I decided to purchase a used Zebra LP2844 thermal printer off of Craigslist for $110. A popular new option for sellers these days is the DYMO LabelWriter 4XL Label Maker, but the older Zebra thermal printer does the job just fine, and it was more than 50% cheaper than the DYMO new.
The biggest hassle of using the older Zebra thermal printer instead was finding a working driver that was compatible with Windows 7. After hours of scouring Google, I found that the Seagull Scientific driver worked flawlessly with the printer except for a few quirks.
- When installing the driver, you need to know what specific USB port the printer is plugged into (e.g. USB port 1 or 2). You will need to plug the printer in that specific port every time you use it.
- When you put your computer to sleep, also shut off the printer. If you put your computer to sleep and wake it while leaving the printer plugged in and on, the computer doesn’t seem to recognize that the Zebra thermal printer is still connected and complains.
Other than that, it’s been problem-free using the thermal printer over the past year. Having to only need to buy 4×6 labels for the printer instead of toner, paper, and shipping tape is such a cost and time saver.