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Best label maker 2023: Emboss, print and organise with ease

Need to organise your things a little better or tidy up the office? These are the best label makers you can buy

To many people, the best label makers can seem a little surplus to requirements. After all, if you’ve made it this far in life without one, why bother? Well, if you’re a busy household with lots of belongings to keep track of, having a handy device by your side that helps to keep things organised can be a lot more useful than it seems.

Besides the very grown-up degree of fun they provide, by far the best part about label makers today is their versatility. In the age of home offices and remote working, labelling things clearly can transform the way you organise a workspace. If you’re a big family with lots of little ones to keep track of, labelling things like backpacks, fridge snacks or toy boxes can be a huge help. Are you moving house? A label maker can help ensure none of your boxes or belongings gets mixed up with someone else’s. Maybe you frequently send out packages or letters, and getting hold of address labels is a nightmare. Perhaps it’s your job to organise the office or a classroom full of messy students? One of our listed label makers could make that responsibility a lot easier.

Best label makers: At a glance

How to choose the best label maker for you

What are your needs?

You’d be surprised how nifty label makers can be in your daily life. They can range from a pocket-sized embosser to a full-blown mini printer with drivers and software. Of course, with this wide range comes a wide assortment of prices, so we need to make sure you don’t overspend on a label maker that doesn’t fit your needs.

For us, it really boils down to personal versus professional use. If you’re buying for an office, school or warehouse, you’ll seriously thank yourself for buying something a bit more heavy-duty, both for speed and ease of use. If you’re just an individual trying to organise clutter, there’s really no need to overspend on a mini-printer when a pocket-sized embosser or handheld unit will fulfil your needs.

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Embossing vs printing: What’s the difference?

An embosser will mechanically punch each individual character into your label, just as a typewriter would. The message of each label will stand out as a raised, more tactile inscription. Embossers normally use a specific type of tape for their labels, which means there isn’t any ink used. This is a big benefit if you’re trying to avoid the cost of ink cartridge refills. These label makers can only print fairly simple characters and numbers, however, as they don’t have the benefit of digital design software.

A printer will do as you’d expect – print the message onto a piece of label tape so that it can be clearly seen. On the whole, printer-style label makers are more versatile, as you can use their digital software and design presets to create more complex labels. Some label printers can even print in coloured ink, if you’re willing to spend a little more.

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The best label makers to buy in 2023

1. Brother GL-H105: The best label maker overall

Price when reviewed: £38 | Check price at Cartridge People

For a handheld label maker, this has some serious heft to it. Out of the box, we noticed how chunky the H105 is, and this is not least due to its surprising AAA battery requirements. Nonetheless, this is quite simply the best all-round label maker you can buy. It more than fulfils the needs of an individual trying to organise their belongings (it was originally designed with gardens in mind), and has an extensive list of symbols and design pre-sets for price stickers, sports equipment and other professional uses.

This label maker can print in bold, italics and varying font sizes, and its versatility is also strengthened by how easy it is to use. When you first unbox it, it’s easy to be intimidated by its surprising weight and awkward-looking tape storage. However, the tape changes are simple enough that you’ll feel like you’re single-handedly performing an F1 pit stop. The menus are also clear and easy to use, offering you plenty of choices and room for experimentation to find your perfect label setting. All in all, this is a brilliantly versatile tool that proves itself as a real jack of all trades.

Key specs – Tape size: 12mm; Label type: Printed; Ink needed: Yes, but refills included in compatible tape spool; Wires: No; Weight: 0.39kg

2. Dymo Omega Embosser: The best embossing label maker

Price when reviewed: £15 | Check price at Cartridge People

If you’re looking for a simple label maker to help you organise your workspace or assist with a house move, the Dymo Omega is a fantastic choice. This little mechanical label maker is a satisfying device to use, and its “clicky” trigger action makes the process of labelling oddly enjoyable. The crank wheel around the top of the device includes the alphabet, numbers and a few basic symbols. The inclusion of the pound sign is particularly useful, as it makes the Omega an option for small shops looking to save themselves some money while labelling prices.

The Omega’s embossing capabilities are pretty strong and the process of refilling the tape is nice and easy due to a simple pinch-and-slide mechanism. The labels themselves stick very well to most hard materials and even re-stick surprisingly well if you make a mistake and don’t want to waste a portion of tape.

One downside we noticed from a pretty simple play-around is that you need to click in with the trigger quite hard if you want the characters to properly punch into the tape, which might not be ideal for weaker hands. The outer shell is also made of plastic, which can make it feel a little fragile at times. Nevertheless, for the price, this is the best simple label maker you can buy.

Key specs – Tape size: 9mm; Label type: Embossed; Ink needed: No; Wires: No; Weight: 0.2kg

3. Brother P-Touch Cube: The best label printer to use with a smartphone

Price when reviewed: £126 | Check price at Amazon

If you’re the sort of person who organises their life through their phone, the Brother P-Touch Cube might be your new best friend. This elegant little gadget connects to your phone via Bluetooth and comes with free P-Touch design software that lets you design different labels to your heart’s content. The benefits of having this software on a smaller and slightly more reasonably priced device are plentiful. You can check for spelling mistakes, brighten up smaller labels with coloured tape and funky fonts, and create a vast array of label formats using Brother’s presets.

The P-Touch Cube comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and stores tape up to an inch in width. A microUSB port on the side of the printer also means you can connect it to a laptop or tablet, should you wish to control it from another device. The Cube itself is only 128mm long on each side and 67mm thick, making it extremely portable and easy to take on the go.

Key specs – Tape size: Up to 1in; Label type: Printed; Ink needed: Yes; Wires: Not needed, but comes with a microUSB charging cable that can connect the printer to devices; Weight: 0.67kg

4. Cricut Joy: The best label maker for arts and crafts lovers

Price when reviewed: £190 | Check price at John Lewis

If you’re looking for a fancier label-making option that gives you the creative freedom for other personal projects, the Cricut Joy is a brilliantly versatile option. Strictly speaking, it isn’t a label maker, it’s a digital cutting machine. That is, it’s a machine that uses a blade or pen to cut and draw according to a computer-programmed path. Thanks to Cricut’s wonderfully multifaceted Design Space software, which is available for Andriod, iOS, PC and Mac, the Cricut joy lets you design all sorts of labels to your heart’s content.

We’d recommend this product to anyone who’s in the market for a label maker that can do so much more than that. If you love your arts and crafts, are into design or even run a small business, the array of options Cricut’s software and machinery can offer you will transform your ideas into beautiful designs in minutes.

Key specs – Tape size: Cricut smart label 13.9 x 121.9cm; Label type: Various; Ink needed: No; Wires: No; Weight: 1.75kg

5. Brother QL-700 Professional Label Printer: Best professional label maker

Price when reviewed: £106 | Check price at Amazon

The clue with this one is in the name – it’s not just a label maker, it’s a label printer. If that doesn’t give away how high-end this label maker is, the lengthy driver installs and in-depth design software will. For office administrators, shipping warehouses and other professional settings, you can’t get better than this. While all that is great and is the reason we so thoroughly recommend it, we have to issue the caveat that this isn’t for the average labeller looking to tidy things up. In order to use it, you even have to register it as an owned product on Brother’s website – this thing means business.

In its natural habitat, though, this is a perfect mini-printer for address stickers, prices, safety warnings and so on. With this buy, the printer is very much secondary; you’re really buying the design software that comes with it. With hundreds of ready-made templates and an adobe-suite level of design capacity, this is the label printer to beat in a professional setting. The ready-made designs in each category are easy to find and navigate and the printing itself is totally instantaneous. The colour model only adds more versatility to the mix and an ability to print on different tape sizes in landscape and portrait make it a true powerhouse.

Key specs – Tape size: 62mm; Label type: Embossed; Ink needed: Yes; Wires: USB A and Power Socket; Weight: 1.1kg

6. Dymo Junior Embosser: The best label maker for kids

Price when reviewed: £13 | Check price at Cartridge People

Let’s be honest, kids can be very messy. For that reason, the Dymo Junior is an absolute godsend if you want to get them playing tidy up from an early age but also want to make it a fun activity. Moreover, if they’re moving house for the first time, this is a great way to excite them about the process.

Built in almost identical fashion to the slightly larger Dymo Omega, this little embosser ensures safe and easy label making for the smallest of hands. The Junior also uses the same 9mm tape, although lettering and spacing is slightly smaller to fit on mini objects and toys. The character wheel is nice and chunky, and makes a satisfying mechanical twist noise when in use. The crack of each character being punched into the tape is enjoyable, too.

The only small gripe is the fact that the inner-scissors that cut each label off from the roll don’t always provide a sharp, clean cut. While this is great for child safety, you have to press the secondary “click” pretty hard before it cuts through the tape cleanly. A lot of smaller hands may not be able to squeeze as hard as is required, and it may result in some pulling and tearing to get a label out. This is still a great label maker for younger organisers, but might require some adult supervision.

Key specs – Tape size: 9mm; Label type: Embossed; Ink needed: No; Wires: No; Weight: 0.12kg

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