The Epson LabelWorks LW-PX800 delivers solid performance and similar capability to the Epson LabelWorks LW-PX900, our Editors’ Choice pick for heavy-duty standalone label printing at up to 36 millimeters (mm), or 1.42 inches, wide. But where the LW-PX900 is a handheld model meant primarily for use on the job, the $379 LW-PX800 is a desktop model meant for the office. It lacks the LW-PX900’s screen, keyboard, battery, and handle, but adds the ability to share the printer over a network and connect to mobile devices. And while it may not be—and doesn’t need to be—as rugged as its carry-around cousin, it’s also covered by a lifetime warranty. The combined differences and similarities are enough to earn it its own Editors’ Choice designation, in this case for a networkable desktop printer for industrial labels up to 36mm wide.
The Design: Black-Box Label Printing
Measuring 5.5 by 4.8 by 6 inches (HWD), the LW-PX800 is a nearly cubical black box with rounded edges and two splashes of color on the front. Lime green marks the output slot. A red section on a small ledge indicates the slot for inserting an already printed label to round off the corners (more on that later). Across the top front are four buttons: for power, for advancing the tape, for switching between Wi-Fi settings (Infrastructure mode, Access Point mode, and disabled), and for opening the top cover to insert or remove a tape cartridge.
Physical setup is simple. Put the 2.4-pound printer on your desk, plug in the power cord, open the top to insert a tape, snap it shut, and connect to a single PC or to your network. In addition to Wi-Fi, connection options include USB and Ethernet ports on the back of the printer.
Software installation isn’t much harder. The installation manual (actually a one-sheet foldout that’s more of a quick start guide) talks about a CD that doesn’t actually come with the printer. However, there’s also an insert page with the link for downloading Epson’s Label programs, drivers, and network utility.
As with Epson’s other desktop label printers, including the LW-PX400, for example, the LW-PX800 offers more than one way to print from both PCs and mobile devices. For Windows, the most recent version of Epson Label Editor, version 2.10 at this writing, is the recommended choice, and what I used for most of my testing. However, you can also download the older Label Editor Professional, if you’re already familiar with it and don’t want to learn a new program. For macOS, there’s Label Editor Lite. And all three of those programs come with a standard driver as well, so you can print from virtually any other app via a print command.
For phones and tablets, you can download Label Editor Mobile, Epson iLabel, and Epson Datacom apps. All come in both Android and iOS versions and are suitable for basic text labels. Beyond that, iLabel and Label Editor Mobile are meant for printing logos, safety labels, and bar codes, and they both offer a built-in feature for connecting to Dropbox and Google Drive to let you share and store label files. Between them, however, Epson recommends the newer Label Editor Mobile as being the more capable program and easier to use. The Datacom app focuses on labels for cables, patch panels, faceplates, and the like. It even includes a link to LinkWare Live, which will be of interest to professional installers who use Fluke Networks Versiv cable testing equipment.
Take Your Pick: Tapes of All Types
At this writing, Epson offers more than 200 choices in tape cartridges for the LW-PX800 in an assortment of sizes, colors, and types. About 140 of them fall into Epson’s industrial tapes category. The rest are home and hobby supplies, which were recently introduced for Epson’s new line of home label printers, but are compatible with the LW-PX800, too.
Roughly half of the industrial supplies are 30-foot, standard plastic (polyester) tapes in various combinations of print and background color and in widths from 4mm to 36mm (0.16 inch to 1.42 inches). Prices per cartridge at this writing are $22.10 for 12mm (0.5 inch) and smaller widths, $26.34 for 18mm and 24mm (0.71 and 0.94 inch) widths, and $36.57 for the 36mm width. All are continuous rolls, which means the price per label will vary with the label size you print.
The rest of the industrial cartridges offer specialty tapes, including silver matte tapes; tapes with strong adhesive; vinyl tapes; magnetic tapes; heat shrink tube tapes for cables; fluorescent tape; extra-tough nylon tape; tape with removable adhesive; and self-laminating overwrap tapes for cables, with a clear, unprintable area of the tape to overlap the printed text. The length, pricing, ranges of widths, and number of choices vary from one specialty category to the next.
The 60-plus home and hobby supplies fall into six categories. The only one that’s uniquely for home and hobby use is a printable ribbon. Three of them—designer matte, pearlized, and soft colors—are variations on Epson’s standard plastic tapes. The fluorescent tapes are the same as the industrial tapes that have the same name, but in shorter lengths at lower prices. The metallic with gold imprint tapes are the same as a single color variation of the silver matte industrial tapes. Details like available lengths and pricing vary by category. In general, however, the home and hobby cartridges tend to be both less expensive and shorter than the industrial tapes.
Testing the LabelWorks LW-PX800, Using Epson’s Label Editor
As I’ve pointed out in other Epson label-printer reviews, the Windows-based version of the Label Editor is easy to get started with and easy to use. It’s also packed with all the features you likely need, from conveniences like automatically setting itself to match the width of the tape in the printer, to generating bar codes, to printing a set of labels with variable data stored in a spreadsheet.
By default, the program is set to cut the tape at the end of each print job and do a half cut between labels, which cuts the label while leaving the backing untouched. If you prefer, you can set it to cut only after the last label in a print job, which speeds up printing, or for full cuts after each label. However either of those choices will wind up costing you extra time overall. Cutting through the backing after every label makes it harder to find the label you need in a batch when you’re pasting them on, and if you skip the cuts between labels, it will take more time than you saved to cut them manually later.
One noteworthy feature is the ability to round the corners on labels, as mentioned earlier. Epson calls it PeelGuard because rounding the corners helps minimize the chances of something catching on a label corner accidentally and partially peeling the label off. A particularly nice touch is that you can use it in combination with half cutting, folding the tape at each half cut, inserting it into the PeelGuard slot, and rounding the corners without cutting through the backing. The drawback is that because you have to insert each label manually, the rounding takes extra time. However, the printer does a great job turning the right-angle corners into smoothly rounded arcs, while also leaving the labels in place on the backing.
Epson rates the LW-PX800 at 35mm per second, or 1.38 inches per second (ips), the same as for the LW-PX900 and more than twice the rating of the LW-PX400, at 15mm (0.59 inch) per second. Of all the label printers we’ve, only the much more expensive Epson LabelWorks LW-Z5010PX has a faster rating, at 50 mm (1.97 inches) per second tested.
In my tests using Epson Label Editor, the LW-PX800 turned in essentially the same time whether printing over a network or USB connection. In both cases, it prints 10 copies of a 4-inch label with the text “PCMag Label Printer Test” at a measured 1.2ips. (Automatic cutting between labels was turned off to give the fastest speed, and the time does not include the final cut at the end.) When I set it for half cuts between labels, the speed dropped to 0.9ips. For comparison, the LW-PX900 was tied with automatic cutting turned off, while the LW-Z5010PX came in at a slightly slower 1.0ips, and the LW-PX400 managed only 0.4ips.
Note also that the 360dpi resolution, which the LW-PX800 shares with the LW-PX900, is double (or more) the resolution for many label printers, and even a bit more than the LW-Z5010PX’s 300dpi. For most labels, the high resolution won’t matter, but if you use text in the range of 5 points or intricate graphics, you’ll see a difference.
Verdict: A Top Choice for Heavy-Duty Label Printing at Your Desk
Each of the printers mentioned here is a top pick for the right application. All come with a lifetime guarantee, all can connect to a Windows PC to print using Epson Label Editor, and three have earned our Editors’ Choice designation for their categories. The LW-PX400 is the least expensive in the group, and our top pick for a moderate-duty label printer for labels up to 24mm (0.94 inch) wide. The LW-Z5010PX is the most expensive and offers a wealth of features for extreme heavy-duty desktop printing, including the ability to print on labels up to 50mm (1.97 inches) wide. It also supports bulk rolls that are so big they have to sit behind the printer, with far longer tapes than you’d get in standard cartridges (and thus a lower cost per inch).
If your label-printing needs aren’t robust enough to consider the LW-Z5010PX, but are more than the LW-PX400 offers, the LW-PX800 and LW-PX900 sit between the two, in what is likely your Goldilocks zone. Both share many of the same features, including the ability to print on the same maximum tape width. However, the LW-PX900, our Editors’ Choice pick for heavy-duty standalone label printing, is the only handheld printer in this group. The LW-PX800, in contrast, is designed to sit on a desk and can connect to a network as a shared printer. That’s enough of a difference for it to earn its own Editors’ Choice designation for heavy-duty label printing on the desktop.
Epson LabelWorks LW-PX800
The bottom line
The Epson LabelWorks LW-PX800 can connect to a single PC, a network, or an Android or iOS mobile device, and it prints on a wide variety of label stock at widths up to 36 mm (1.42 inches).
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