If you are a small business looking to invest in a thermal label printer, you have many choices out there. Being able to print your shipping labels with a thermal label printer greatly improves your workflow. And it is even better when you are able to print wirelessly through your phone or tablet. So what is the best wireless thermal label printer out there? You will get to find out.
Who Makes The Best Thermal Printers For Shipping Labels?
We owned many thermal printers and thermal printer models over the past decade of selling online. You will find reviews of many thermal printers that we have owned and tested under Reviews here. These include thermal printers from popular companies like rollo, Dymo, and Zebra. We also have models from more recent companies, including Beeprt, Munbyn, Jiose, and many more.
However, Brother label printers are some of the most reliable and robust thermal printers available. From our experience, Brother currently has two contenders for the best wireless thermal label printer: the Brother QL-1100NWB and Brother TD-4550DNWB. We will refer to the Brother TD-4550DNWB as the Brother TD-4D for short.
Best Wireless Thermal Label Printer: Brother QL-1100NWB vs Brother TD-4550DNWB
While both the Brother QL-1100NWB and Brother TD-4D thermal label printers are great options, they have some differences you should know. We will compare major points you need to know about the two so you can choose the right model for your small or home business.
How Much Do They Cost?
Price can be one of the most important factors in choosing any product. What you need to know about the Brother QL-1100NWB is that it is a very popular printer. While the regular price is $279.99, it is often sold out on Amazon. Therefore, if the current price is more expensive than that, you are seeing the price from third-party sellers. Prices from these other sellers can range from $325 to $355.
The Brother TD-4D is less well-known so the price has been consistent. It is normally around $520. However, you can find ones that are refurbished or are in like-new condition for over a hundred dollars less. That is how we bought ours for a discount at $420.
So while the retail price is significant, the price gap does get smaller when you overpay for a Brother QL-1100NWB and when you get a deal on the Brother TD-4D. But is the higher cost of the Brother TD-4D justifiable?
Pricing in other regions:
- Brother QL-1110NWB (Canada)
- Brother QL-1110NWB (UK)
- Brother TD4550DNWB (Canada)
- Brother TD4550DNWB – Currently not available in the UK
Let’s look at the physical design side-by-side. Both open up where the thermal labels are loaded inside. The Brother QL-1100NWB is smaller in size than the Brother TD-4D.
You will see that there are more features available on the Brother TD-4D.
While you are limited to a few options on the Brother QL-1100NWB.
|Brother QL-1100NWB||Brother TD-4550DNWB|
The TD-4D has an added serial port, not that you will most likely use it. The power supply is also different.
The Brother QL-1100NWB has a built-in power supply while the Brother TD-4D uses an external power supply. The Brother TD-4D’s power supply is much larger.
Compatibilities & Features
The most important part of choosing a thermal printer for your small is whether it will be compatible with what you will be using with. There are three main compatibilities that you should be looking for. We have summarized them here.
|Brother QL-1100NWB||Brother TD-4550DNWB|
|Operating system||Windows, Mac||Windows, Mac|
|Mobile device||Android & ios devices||iPad & iPhones only|
|Labels||Proprietary labels only||Can be used with any label|
|Platform||Any platform that |
|Any platform that|
|Can print thru||Network, bluetooth, |
|Resolution||300 dpi||300 dpi|
|Unit Weight||3.9 lbs||4.6 lbs|
Break Even Point
The Brother TD-4D can cost several hundreds of dollars more than the Brother QL-1100NWB but is the higher cost worth it? The fact that the Brother TD-4D is compatible with any type of labels, including free labels from UPS and FedEx, is great. However, is that alone enough to justify the price to be the best wireless thermal label printer?
Let’s calculate the breakeven point where the savings of thermal label cost will be make up for the higher price of the printer.
- Brother QL-1100NWB – $279.99
- Brother TD-4D – $521.85
- Cost difference between Brother TD-4D and Brother QL-1100NWB:
Label cost per print:
- Brother QL-1100NWB – 2.33 cents
- Brother TD-4D – zero
How did we get 2.33 cents for the Brother QL-1100NWB labels? We bought 2400 labels from amazon like here for $55.99.
To find the number of free labels it will take to make up for $241.86 in price difference, cross multiply.
Number of labels required = 10,380 labels
It is definitely a huge number and may take you months or even years to print that many labels, depending on your business needs. However, this is assuming that you will pay the retail prices of both. As we saw earlier, the Brother QL-1100NWB is not always available for $279.99. And you can find the Brother TD-4D for cheaper by buying one refurbished.
In that case, the price difference will be a lot less. Therefore, the number of labels required to make up the price difference will be less.
So Which Is The Best Wireless Thermal Label Printer?
It seems that it is a no brainer that the best wireless thermal label printer for you will be depending on what device that you are using. If you are mainly an Android user, the Brother TD-4D will not make sense for you. Even with all the extra added features and being able to use free labels.
However, there is a work-around to use the Brother TD-4D by installing an app to print with an android phone. We will post it here in the future. If you are an ios user, the choice is yours depending on what you are willing to spend on a thermal printer initially.
We would argue that Brother is currently leading when it comes to wireless thermal label printers. We have not found other thermal printers that can compete with Brother’s wireless features yet. Rollo has been talking about coming out with one but we still have yet to see. We also have thorough reviews of both the Brother QL-1100NWB and Brother TD-4D, where we go over every single detail.
We first owned and used the Brother QL-1100NWB for years without issues. It was our workhorse that we were able to take on road trips. However, the Brother TD-4550NWB has taken its place as the best wireless thermal label printer for us. We love that we can use any thermal labels, which allow us to order free ones from UPS and FedEx.
We also print primarily from an iPhone and an iPad. While the Brother TD-4550NWB is pricier than the Brother QL-1100NWB, we find all the added features and options to be worth it. Remember, we bought outs refurbished so we had more than $100 discount off of what it normally costs.
We are still waiting for the perfect thermal printer. We are still looking for one that will work with windows, ios, any mobile device and does not require proprietary labels.
Affordable Thermal Label Printers
If both of these Brother models are completely out of your budget, there are many other thermal printer options out there. Even though they are not wireless, you can still save time printing via a USB. We also have guidance for other types of printers, besides thermal label printers. Check out these posts for guidance.