Inkjet printing has been with us from the early 50s when Epson, Canon and Hewlett Packard started making printers for industrial use.
However, with an ever increasing need for labelling and marking a wide variety of materials on the go, industrial versions of the inkjet printer are being complimented with a new innovation.
In this article, therefore, we set out to learn more about these machines and how you can compare them to select the right one for your specific needs.
Let’s get right into it!
（PS：If you don’t know about this device, you can see the following introduction about the handheld inkjet printer. If you already know something about this device, please scroll down to check the “how to choose” part ）
What is a handheld inkjet printer?
Traditional inkjet printers have been used for a long time to deliver in product-line printing for barcodes, expiry dates, production and manufacturing dates and product specifications.
Handheld printers were developed to increase convenience of printing in warehouses and stores, yards and on the road without the inconvenience of power cables and weight.
They are a perfect improvement from the traditional hand coding methods used before, including stenciling and roll coding.
Essentially, an inkjet printer is designed to look like a cordless power drill. However, instead of the rotary blade, we have inkjet nozzles that are programmed to print characters and images from a computer-controlled pressure system that is part of the assembly.
They have rechargeable batteries that allow them to be carried and used conveniently in a wide variety of places.
Suitable printing surfaces
Almost all surfaces can be printed using handheld inkjet printers. They work on both porous and non-porous surfaces, so long as these surfaces are dry.
For example, you can print on glass, wood, metal, fabric, plastic, concrete, ceramic, foils, leather, and even on stone.
Applications and Types of printing
Handheld inkjet printers are great because most of them can print numbers, text, logos, dates, times and barcodes. They are perfect for printing traceability information on packaging for various products.
A lot of labelling is required in order to ensure conformance of foods in the global supply chains. Marking of crates and product outer packaging is an important aspect in food traceability.
Most food producers use pre-printed stickers with blank spaces for putting times, dates, and codes. However, handheld inkjet printer guns can assist in quick labelling both on-sticker and on the outer case directly with very good results.
With these machines, detailed labelling can be achieved for product specifications, instructions for use, ingredients and safety instructions.
Edible inks that print images and other messages on food, including on cakes and pastries, are available. they provide great opportunity for the production of homemade food art.
The Medical Industry
Pharmaceutical and medical suppliers need to mark equipment and medicine outer packaging for traceability, technical and commercial purposes.
Automotive and Aeronautic Industries
Vehicle and machine parts produced by third party suppliers can be packed in inkjet labelled outer cases to assist for part identification during assembly.
Safety signage, housekeeping marking and batch marking in the factories are also some important applications of inkjet printing.
Marking of military supplies’ containers, including crates, wooden boxes and barrels is best done using inkjets. Printing of fabrics for identification purposes can be done for uniforms and exercise kits for personnel in military barracks.
Other everyday Uses
Various everyday uses for these machines exist. Some people need to label disassembled prefabricated structures like buildings, structures and furniture, from the designing area to the assembly store.
It is possible to brand fabric, create indoor signs and more daily printing request.
Some Advantages and Trade-Offs when you choose a portable inkjet printer
Handheld printers have their own advantages, as well as disadvantages over other available forms of printing. Let us review several of these;
- Machines are quieter faster to operate that dot matrix printers.
- They have a higher resolution and can print finer details than dot matrix printers.
- They require little or no warm-up time as opposed to laser jet printers.
- The printers can use either water based or solvent based inks.
- Handheld inkjet coders are not connected to electric power cables when working, and are light weight, therefore easy to do field and warehouse jobs.
Water based inks tend to produce prints that are prone to smudging when the print comes into contact with water.
Ink cartridges can block when used for some time, and there is need to keep cleaning them with a cleaning cartridge or using specialized software.
Inkjet printing has significantly shorter shelf life than laser jet printing.
Some manufacturers use freebie marketing, in which they can sell the printer cheap, but compel the customer to only buy proprietary inks at a comfortable profit margin. Sometimes they impose expiry dates on purchased cartridges, after which the printer will not use that particular cartridge.
How to choose the handheld inkjet printer
In order to make an informed choice when selecting your printer, there are several things you can take into consideration;
The intended application
The best place to start is to look at what you want the machine to do. Assess your current and middle term printing requirements, and only look for the equipment that satisfies that requirement without having additional features that will not bring you value.
For example, if the only use you will ever have for the printer is to do barcodes, you will not need a printer that can do color printing, and this could greatly reduce the initial purchase price of the equipment you choose, and the cost of operating it.
Some points that can help you with your choice:
If you have a large number of products to print quickly in a short time, the laser marking machine is your best choice.
If you need the product marking result with a certain depth like engraving, you can choose to the dot peen marking machine.
If you do not print a lot of products and just need to write a few contents, then a handheld printer is your most economical choice.
Some design features are more favorable for some types of applications than others. Here, you are looking at several things;
- The average weight and dimensions of the machine, If the weight of the deviceis less than 1kg, it will be more convenient to carry and use.
- Whether the machine has a touch screen, and the dimensions thereof, Usually the device comes with a touch screen of 4 inches or more for a better user experience.
- The directions that it can print, the machine that can usually achieve 360-degree printing is more applicable.
- The number of colors the machine supports,You can ask if the supplier can provide different ink cartridges with various colors.
- The portability of its packaging, professional suppliers will provide a sturdy hardware toolbox for the customer to place the device and make it easy to carry.
- Whether the machine supports USB, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth options, It is very important to have a USB interface because you can import your designed graphics and text through the USB flash drive.
- The type of printing resolution the machine can achieve, and the print height.The standard printing resolution is about 200 It is better if the equipment can support higher resolution. The standard printing height is usually 2 mm~12.7mm. Some suppliers can provide printing height 25.4mm, 50mm, 75mm. Even 100mm device.
Water-based ink cartridges are only suitable for paper towels, white paper, uncoated carton, fabric, wood, cement wall, floor, and other water-repellent materials.
The solvent cartridge is a quick-drying ink cartridge for packaging bags, boxes, cosmetics, household goods, plastics, glass, metal, pipe, stone, wood board, MDF, aluminum foil, cable, leather, white paper carton etc. This will be also suitable outdoor printing scenarios.
Another important choice to make is how the brand handles the issue of ink cartridges. Some inkjet printers will be sold cheap, but you are obligated to buy OEM cartridges (original equipment manufacturer), which come at significantly higher prices than third party cartridges.
You consult with the handheld screen printer supplier before you make your purchase.
Most of the online resources selling handheld inkjet printers price range is between $300 to as high as $1,000, with different types of functionalities.
Some offerings given better prices especially if you are buying many units. For example, we found some suppliers on Amazon will offer free shipping, or price discounts depending on the number of printers you want to purchase.
The software that the machine you choose is operating on can dictate to a large extent the limitations of the machine. For example, you should be able to select from a wide range of fonts and font sizes, and the machine should be able to accommodate a wide variety of shapes for printing, the software need support number digital incremental increment
Some firmware can be used by brand manufacturers to reject third party cartridges as happened recently with HP, and it is good to check whether there are such possibilities with the equipment you want to buy.
Pre and After-sale Services
Good suppliers can recommend the right products and solutions before you buy, give detailed information and videos, and after your purchase, they can also provide perfect after-sales guarantee and full product use and maintenance instructions.
Some popular handheld inkjet printer brands
While there is little information about the biggest or best brands for inkjet manufacturers, it is possible to glean some information from the internet.
SCHMIDT is an American based company with a comprehensive array of marking systems, including laser markers, handheld inkjet markers and pin marking equipment.
Their main inkjet printing equipment is the Markjet series with two major brands, the 2500 and the 2600.
EBS is an American based company that supplies to both North and South America, with its products also being offered on worldwide e-commerce platforms.
Though their machines come across as a little bit pricier than their Chinese and European counterparts, the company mainly supplies their hand held printers in the Handjet Series.
Reiner is a family business with a location in Germany, with operations across America and Europe. With more than a century in experience, the company has distinguished itself in the manufacture of printers, scanners, marking equipment and precision parts.
They mainly sell their equipment using a global network of dealers, and their inkjet solutions mainly come in the JetStamp Series, with different models and an interesting pen-shaped Speed-i-Jet printer for one liner continuous speed printing of dates, texts and codes.
Each printer comes with its own OEM cartridges, with most machines printing in black, and some using red, yellow or mangenta. The cartridges are designed for different print surfaces.
HeatSign specialized in industrial marking and printing for many years and is a supplier of professional portable inkjet printers in China.
They can provide many types of coding and marking equipment. The print character highest height of a hand-held printer is usually about 12.7mm. They can offer machines that can print bigger content, such as 25.4mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm.
Where to find handheld printers on the market
There are quite a number of internet resources where you can find a wide variety of these printers online.
Most of the companies selling the machines are easily found on the internet with a quick search. However, you can also search the products from Alibaba, eBay, or Amazon.
You may opt to buy directly from the manufacturer, which requires you to search for specific brands on the internet. Several links for brands we selected have been given in the section above.
Handheld inkjet printers are a welcome addition to part marking, end-case traceability and many other applications.
They are used for printing 2D codes, dates, traceability numbers, text, logos and bar codes on a wide range of work surfaces, including metal, wood, plastic, paper and glass.
When selecting what machine to buy for any use, analyzing the features of your chosen printer can prevent buying the wrong equipment. And it could save you a dear amount of money.
If you are interested in handheld code printer, you can contact us to learn more.