Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Color Label Costs

After updating a post on the relative cost of ink, toner and cartridges (, I decided to look at the relative cost of label media among the 3 main types of on-demand color label printers that Color Label Solutions sells;  laser, inkjet, thermal transfer. 


Before I start, you may be wondering, what are the differences among the different types of label media?  You may want to review my earlier post, “All Labels Are The Same-NOT”   In this post, I describe the different components of labels and the differences between label types.

To compare label prices, I asked David Gustafson, Business Development Manager of UPM Raflatac (( give me the relative prices of the different label media types.  UPM Raflatac is a globally leading supplier of pressure sensitive labelstock. UPM Raflatac's labelstock products are designed to meet the needs of demanding applications in a vast array of end-uses.  Supplying all-types of label stocks globally, UPM is in a perfect position to provide the relative costs of the different media.

Based on the information I received from David, I put together the following chart:

From this information, it is easy to see that thermal transfer, both paper and film, is the least costly type of label media.  According to David, “thermal transfer labels are produced in tremendous volumes.  With such large production and demand, thermal transfer labels cost much less to produce.”  For example, Zebra sells a basic white paper shipping label, 4” x 6” die cut thermal transfer for $66.80 per case of 4 rolls of 1,000; $0.0167 each.

David continues, “coating films such as polyester or polypropylene require more expertise and costs.  Therefore, these labels are more expensive, even for thermal transfer printers.”  For example, Zebra sells a Kimdura polypropylene 4” x 6” die cut label for $991.08 for a case of 36 rolls of 80 labels; $0.344 each.  In addition, Zebra sells a polyester 4” x 6” die cut label for $553.63 for a case of 4 rolls of 960 labels; or $0.144.  Color Label Solutions sells a 4” x 6” poly die-cut label for the CAB XC Series Two-Tone printers for $396.00 for 4 rolls or 1,050 labels; or $0.094.

Labels for laser/LED printers have costs similar to thermal transfer printers.  “At UPM Raflatec, we have lots of different types of paper and film label products that work well with laser and LED printers”, says David.  From my work, it is important to find labels for laser and LED printers that not only print well, but also work well with sheet fed media handling.

Labels for inkjet printers, both paper and film, cost more.  David says, “at this time, the volume of production is much lower for inkjet printers; thus increasing the cost of production.  As the market demand grows, the cost of inkjet labels should reduce.”  As a comparison, Color Label Solutions sells a 4” continuous roll of inkjet matte paper labels for $98.00 for a case of 12 rolls of 1,200”; or $0.04 per 4" x 6" label.  Using inkjet gloss paper, the cost per 4” x 6” label is $0.061.  And for inkjet poly, the cost per 4” x 6” label is $0.076.  Please know: die cut labels would be more expensive than continuous.  You can see the prices for labels in our store at  Contact me if you want specific die cut label sizes.

Based on this analysis, I recommend you look at the total cost of your labeling solution; including hardware, ink and media costs. Total costs are especially important when using film-based labels such as GHS label printing.  At Color Label Solutions, we’ll help you find the best solution to fit your requirements.


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