Choosing a Barcode Label: A Basic Overview

Barcode LabelsWith barcode labels coming in so many different shapes, sizes, and functionalities, it can be hard to decide which barcode label is best for you and your company.

Direct Thermal Barcode Labels
The most popular barcode label seems to be the direct thermal label because its paper is used on most UPS shipments and temporary orders. However, direct thermal barcode labels will fade over time because they react to heat, so when choosing a direct thermal barcode label as your label of choice, it’s important to factor in that the barcode will only last a couple of weeks and should not be subject to harsh elements.

Thermal Transfer Barcode Labels
Thermal transfer barcode labels offer a more permanent solution and are used throughout the distribution process. Retail companies typically use thermal transfer barcode labels to put on products and racks throughout their stores.

Barcode Label Materials
Within the world of direct thermal and thermal transfer barcode labels, there are many different materials. If you need a long-lasting, resistant barcode label then synthetic materials would be your best bet. Polybopp A or Kymdura are the most inexpensive, but Kymdura is prone to rips and tears. Other popular materials include Kapton and Valeron, which is often used in the automotive industry.

Barcode Label Adhesives
Next, you’ll need to choose the proper adhesive. Most choose to go with a permanent adhesive for their barcode labels. However, sometimes removable adhesives are needed, but it’s important to realize that removable can become permanent after long periods of time (years). Because of this, there are also ultra removable adhesives that leave little or no residue.

Special Applications for Barcode Labels
For clean room applications, barcode labels have to be free of loose fibers and contaminants that could possibly infect. These types of labels are made in a controlled environment and air is blocked and closed before shipping to clean rooms.

Barcode Label Sizes
Finally, it’s important to look at your barcode printer and see what it’s requirements and capabilities are. Some require a 1 inch in the center of the roll, while others require a 3-inch cardboard core in the center of the labels, and yet other printers may not use a core at all. Consult with your barcode printer’s manufacturer in order to discover all of their requirements.

Pre-printed Barcode Labels
However, some users do not like to print their barcode labels, and prefer them pre-printed. If the specification of the barcode is complicated, users will consult with a barcode label expert for a pre-printed solution.