Today I’ll be reviewing the Zebra LP 2844 thermal label printer. If you’re looking for a great thermal printer for a low budget, this is a pretty good choice. I use mine for printing out eBay shipping labels, and it’s a huge time-saver. Being as old as it is, there are a few things to keep in mind before you purchase.
I’ll break down what I like about it, how to set it up (including installing drivers), and where you can pick one up pretty cheap.
What I like
After using this printer for almost a year, here are a few things that have really helped me save alot of time and money:
- This printer is extremely easy to load and feed. I haven’t tried larger rolls for this printer, but the regular sized rolls work great. It loads oddly enough like a roll of toilet paper.
- I never have to worry about buying and replacing ink. If you’re used to shipping out several packages per day, replacing ink is an ongoing cost. I always used to wait until ink was almost gone to re-order cartridges online, which led to quality issues. I was using refillable and third-party cartridges to save money, and finding cheap ink that actually works well was a headache.
- No more cutting out shipping labels. I also have saved a ton of time by not having to cut and tape paper labels onto my packages. I keep my old inkjet printer as a backup, but have eliminated having to buy clear tape, paper, and ink solely for shipping labels. Those stick-on label pouches aren’t that cheap either (if you’re not getting them for free).
The only complaint that I have is that it was a little difficult to get my computer to recognize this printer after installing the official Zebra drivers. It’s also is a little slow, but unless you are planning to print a ton of labels every day, it shouldn’t really be an issue.
Setting up the Zebra LP 2844
There are a few things to keep in mind before getting started, so you’ll be ready to go when it arrives.
Finding Windows 10 drivers was the most difficult part for me. After searching Zebra’s website and a few other sources, I had no luck finding drivers that worked for Windows 10. However, after doing some research, I found this one by Seagull Scientific that works like a charm:
Once you install drivers, there are also some settings that you can adjust to make it print darker. I’ve had problems with this printer turning off unexpectedly if this setting is too high, but have had no problems on a darkness level of around 7-8. Also make sure that you have the printing area set to 4 inches by 6 inches, and print off a sample label to make sure the printing area looks right.
Loading your labels
- There are two green release buttons on the side of the printer that open the door. Pull these toward you at the same time and lift up
- From there, the label rolls fit on a springloaded mechanism
- With the roll on the holder, thread the first label underneath two black clips
- Shut the door, and you’re ready to print
Make sure you have the power adapter plugged in, and toggle the black switch on the back to turn it on. I don’t really use the circular button on top, but if you press it, it will just feed labels through the printer. It also should light up green before printing, and can be used to clean the printers memory if you hold it down. Click here if you need help with that. The label runs through a black printing head on the printer (which can be replaced), and after printing, can easily be cut off using the metal cutter.
The Bottom Line and Where to Buy
I know it seems obvious, but make sure your printer comes with USB cable, power adapter, and a roll of labels. I actually bought mine without any accessories on eBay and got a better deal, but had to pick up the power adapter and accessories separately.
Another thing to keep in mind, is that these printers are pretty old, which in my opinion is a real testament to the quality of Zebra printers. Mine was manufactured in December 2004, and is still going strong.
Where to Buy
I’ve found you can find these alot cheaper on eBay/Amazon than anywhere else I’ve looked, since many sellers are looking to upgrade their current label printers.
The Zebra LP 2844 requires 4” x 6” label rolls, which I prefer. I like to have my return address clearly visible, and all the text clearly legible in case I need it. You can buy printers that print smaller labels without this info, it’s just a personal preference. Thermal labels use a special paper that basically turns black when heat is applied, so you don’t ever have to worry about ink smudging. If you have a growing business, I definitely would recommend buying these in bulk. You can pick up a pack of them here:
- Zebra Lp2844 Thermal Labels – 4 Rolls – 1000 Labels (Amazon)
- Zebra Lp2844 Thermal Labels – 4 Rolls – 1000 Labels (eBay)
Overall, I definitely recommend picking up a Zebra LP-2844, if you are at the point where printing off paper labels is becoming a hassle. It’s a pretty common printer, and you should have no problem finding a good deal. It takes literally one second to print a single label, one second to peel and stick, and you’re done.