Do You Need Self-Adhesive Paper to Print Shipping Labels?

Do You Need Self-Adhesive Paper to Print Shipping Labels? Printing shipping labels at home has a number of time- and cost-saving benefits, but some people don’t take advantage of this opportunity, assuming they require specialized equipment and materials like a thermal printer and self-adhesive labels. Is that really so? Do you need self-adhesive paper to print shipping labels or can you make do with regular office paper?

Most postal and courier companies use thermal printers to print labels on self-adhesive paper for a number of reasons: special printers can print self-adhesive labels in mere seconds, and these labels can be applied directly to packages, which saves quite a lot of time. Besides, shipping labels printed using a thermal printer are more durable and look more polished and professional.

However, thermal printers and self-adhesive labels do have their downsides. Label printers are more expensive than regular printers, and materials used for thermal printing (self-adhesive labels on thermal paper or special ribbons) are more expensive than regular paper and ink/toner powder, too. They can be a worthwhile investment for businesses with high shipping volumes that prioritize speed and efficiency, but not for small businesses and certainly not for regular individuals who occasionally need to mail a package or two.

This leads us to the answer to the question in the title: while you can choose to print shipping labels on self-adhesive paper, you don’t necessarily have to. If using expensive equipment and materials were the only option available to those who want to print shipping label themselves, shipping label printing services wouldn’t be so popular.

It is perfectly acceptable to print shipping labels on regular paper because it is a quick, easy, and cost-effective option. Printing shipping labels on regular paper does not require special equipment, but this is not its only benefit. When you print shipping labels on regular paper, you can easily adjust their size before printing, which can be helpful for unusually sized or shaped packages. Finally, regular paper is more recyclable than thermal paper, which is definitely a bonus if you’re environmentally conscious.

There are a few things you should now if you want to print shipping labels on regular paper. Let’s start with choosing the right printer for it. In general, you can use both inkjet and laser printers for this purpose. However, laser printers are considered more preferable because they produce high-quality labels that won’t smudge and are more water-resistant than labels printed using an inkjet label. If you use an inkjet printer, you will need to take extra steps to protect shipping labels from the elements.

Before printing a shipping label, check the printer settings to make sure the label is the right size for the package; adjust the scale if necessary. Once you’ve printed the label, make sure it isn’t too pale, blurred, or smudged. If the quality of the label leaves much to be desired, make sure that the printer has enough toner/ink and try again, or reprint the label using another printer.

How do you attach a shipping label printed on regular, i.e. non-self-adhesive, paper to the package? The best way to go about it is by getting a self-adhesive address pouch from the shipping carrier. Address pouches are made from clear plastic; they effectively protect shipping labels from water, wear and tear. If you print shipping labels using an inkjet printer, address pouches are a must.

Another option is to use clear tape. If you go with it, remember that you should never tape over the barcode; packing tape has a reflective surface, which will make the barcode harder to scan and may result in shipping delays.

So, let’s sum everything up. You don’t have to print shipping labels on self-adhesive paper; regular paper will do just fine as long as your shipping label is high-quality, legible, securely affixed to the package, and protected from water and damage.