DPI Explained


DPI Explained

This article will explain the jargon DPI and resolution when we talk about a thermal label printer.  When you’re looking at the specifications for a printer or when someone mentions DPI, you’ll understand what it means.  You’ll also learn what resolution suits your situation best.

Dots Per Inch and Printer Resolution

DPI stands for Dots Per Inch which means how many dots of printing you get per of inch.  It is also known as Resolution.  A high DPI printer will also be a high resolution printer.  In other words a 300dpi printer has a higher resolution than a 200dpi printer.

This gives you an idea of the difference between 203, 300 and 600 dpi printers:

DPI Examples

A higher DPI means a clearer and crisper print. When it comes to thermal label printers 203 dpi is standard but there are higher DPI printers.

How to Decide What Print Resolution You Need.

Deciding the print resolution you need is something you need to do before choosing a printer.  You need to consider:

  • Clarity and readability – the higher the resolution or DPI the sharper the image printed.
  • Print speed – the higher the dpi, the slower the print speed
  • Size of text – the smaller the print of the text or symbols used, the higher the DPI needed to ensure legibility.
  • Cost – higher resolution printers cost more and replacing the printhead costs more.

How Are You Using Your Labels?

As a rule of thumb:

  • If the person looking at your labels is thinking of buying the item (i.e. you want to present your products in the best light), choose 300dpi. 
  • If the label is a packaging label used by the warehouse or used in an industrial setting then choose 203dpi. 
  • If you are printing a small label and you need text smaller than 10 point then go for 300 dpi and
  • If you are printing small label (typically less than 10mm wide or tall) and you need a 1D or 2D barcode (QR Code or Datamatrix code) on it, consider a 300dpi or 600 dpi printer.
Zebra ZT610 600dpi High Resolution printer
Zebra ZT610 600dpi High Resolution printer

600 dpi printers are not widely used but can be essential in electronics or sometimes jewellery and pharmaceutical industries.

Try Before you Buy

We are able to test print 203 and 300 dpi labels for you.  Let us send you a sample print out and see for yourself. 

We don’t have a 600dpi printer in house, but if you are considering a 600dpi printer it’s highly recommended that you test the print first.  600 dpi is available on a limited range of printers and the cost is high.  Contact us with what you need and we will arrange for a printout for testing.

We’re Here to Help

We have more than 25 years experience with barcode label printing and are here to help you.  Click on the chat button in the bottom corner, contact us through our Contact Us page or call us now on 01359 271 111 for Expert advice.

Published 16 April 2019



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