This thermal label printer is ideal for Etsy, Amazon, and eBay sellers -- with one major caveat

We review a cost-effective label printer. Just don't count on it being a full label printing solution.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

The iDPRT SP410 thermal shipping laser printer

There are two things you need to know about this label printer: it prints labels quite nicely, but its software is a bit of a letdown.

Let's discuss the benefits of the iDPRT SP410. This is a small label printer that you can place next to your computer. It won't take up much space. All you need to do is plug it into a spare USB port. It's USB 2.0, so if you have a recent laptop you'll need a dock or dongle to convert it to USB C compatibility. But, if you have a recent laptop, you're already used to doing that for almost any USB item you need to add.

This device supports labels from 2 inches to 4.25 inches wide, and from an inch to eleven inches long. It's also fast. It can print 72 sheets of 4x6 labels in a minute.

But by far, the biggest benefit of this printer is that it's a thermal printer. What that means is that it doesn't require any ink. No cartridges to constantly be replacing, no bottles of ink to spill, no added cost, no subscription plan. Just buy your labels and print.

Speaking of labels, they're not terribly expensive. You can pick up 500 folded 4x6 labels for around $15.00. If you want to go wild, you can buy 32,000 labels in 32 stacks of 1,000 for under $200. And remember, you can print all of them without having to buy any ink cartridges or refills. Another example: you can get a roll of 2,000 2 1/2 by 1 inch labels for under $7. If you go this route, though, you might want to also pick up a label roll holder. That'll set you back another thirteen bucks.

As you can see, using this printer is not an expensive proposition, whether you're printing a relatively small number of labels or a whole lot of them.

Overall, I have nothing bad to say about the hardware. It's solid. It feeds labels reliably (and it has a detection mechanism that keeps labels aligned). At a price ranging from about $130-$200 (depending on when you order it on Amazon), it's a solid offering for the price.

But then there's the software...

Drivers and label software

We need to divide the software topic into two categories: drivers and application software. The drivers work just fine. Whether you're on MacOS, Windows, or even Linux, if you can print to a printer, you can print to this printer. Printer drivers were less of a pain to install for this machine than the drivers for some popular full-size inkjet printers. I have no complaints.

But where I was disappointed was with the application software. Although the promo picture shows a USPS label printing out, and the description page talks about the printer working with a lot of commerce and shipping services, whatever service you use has to be able to produce its own labels.

iDPRT (the maker of the printer) says that there's an included free version of Bartender Label Editing Software. Yeah, well...

Okay, here's the thing. This Bartender software (not to be confused with the Mac menubar management software of the same name) is produced by a company called Seagull Scientific. The software offered by the company is not easy to evaluate. 

You can download a free 30-day trial once you jump through a bunch of website hoops. There's the usual account setup and confirmation steps. Then it wants you to provide personal details (like job title and industry). You also have to agree to a long terms of service document that you're required to scroll all the way through. It's absurdly long enough that it may include a promise on your part to make pancakes for the developers on alternate Mondays. Who knows? No one will read it to print a few labels.

Only then can you download the software. And only then, for Windows. As for what happens after the 30 days, the FAQ just says you won't be able print after the trial period. But how much does the software cost to use? No idea. I contacted the company through both the Contact Us and Contact Sales forms, but there was no response. No prices are published.

Over the years, I've encountered a lot of software companies that don't like to publish their prices. Often that's because they target enterprise customers with special requirements. But I always find myself hesitant to recommend such companies to my readers because the company clearly doesn't want to make unassisted evaluation easy. Whenever I'm forced to beg a software company to be told its prices, I find myself going elsewhere for a software solution. I recommend you do, too.

David's conclusion

So, my final opinion on this is if you're using software that can print labels, then this label printer is an unqualified win. But if you you expect to buy the printer, install the Bartender software and be off and running printing a few UPS and post office labels here and there, that's not happening.

Bottom line: think of this as a very solid label printer, not a turnkey labeling solution.

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