Boost Efficiency with Labeling Machines: Pros and Cons vs. Hand Labeling

Pros and Cons for Labeling Machine vs. Hand Labeling

Landing on a labeling method for your business can be a challenge. You need a reliable, efficient solution that portrays your company as a professional provider of products without breaking your business’s budget. 

A labeler is more efficient and saves money in the long run. However, hand labeling offers an attractive option for smaller businesses with less investment capacity. So, which one is best if you're looking to improve your production line and bottom dollar?

Since your business’s choice of labeling method will be a major investment, it helps to know the pros and cons of both machine and hand labeling. If you're stuck between the two, this guide is here to help you make a more informed decision. 

Hand Labeling: A Cheaper But Less Efficient Method 

Most small businesses opt for hand labeling their products. This method is much more time-consuming and could potentially lead to more mistakes compared to a labeling machine. But for some businesses, a large, bulky labeler isn't worth the initial cost of the equipment. Consequently, these businesses pick hand labeling to cut their upfront costs.

The Pros: What to Look at Before Limiting Your Options

The best part about hand labeling is its ease of use. It doesn't take much effort to get off the ground. You only need a few employees to do the labeling, and you're ready to go. Hand labeling is also initially cheaper to implement, although it quickly outgrows its usefulness as your business grows. 

Hand labeling might be your best choice if your business needs to start production now. With this method, you don’t need to invest in new equipment, install a labeling machine, or train staff in how to use a labeler. However, if you're trying to improve your overall output and consistency or plan on future growth, hand labeling won’t be a good fit for your business.


The Cons: Why it Might be Complicated for Growing Businesses

A significant drawback of hand labeling is that it will always be less exact than a machine. Automatic labeling equipment always runs faster and more accurately than hand labeling. Even with the most dedicated and efficient team members labeling your products, they cannot match the pace of a labeler. Plus, the hand labeling team will inevitably make mistakes because the members are human.

Hand labeling not only slows down production, but it can also prevent your business from taking large orders. If you lack the staff to hand label the products in a large order, you will lose money when you pass on the order. And no one wants to turn away an order, especially not small business owners for whom every order is an opportunity.

While hand labeling may seem like a way to save money initially due to its low startup costs, it can become a greater expense over time than you expected. Paying a hand labeling team, wasting labels with mistakes, and turning down large orders may cost you more money over time than you would have invested in a labeling machine. Considering these hidden costs of hand labeling, you may find that investing in labeling equipment is more profitable.

Why Businesses May Choose Hand Labeling

Hand labeling may seem like the better option for small businesses.  It can feel more natural and straightforward or you may feel like you’re more in control. This can be a safe option for small business owners with a very limited customer base and product variation. If your business isn’t very large, this option will also allow you to avoid large upfront costs and won’t require any extra specialized equipment. However, if you plan to continue growing your business, you may run into some problems. 

Options are much more restricted with hand labeling. With a growing business, you may find yourself quickly meeting those boundaries and greater need for optimization. You may find yourself needing more labeling options, flexibility, and efficiency. In this case, labeling machines may be the better option. 

Labeling Machines: Powerful Tools to Increase Productivity and Profits 


Labeling machines are the tried-and-true way to go for larger operations. But small and medium-sized businesses can also enhance their efficiency with labelers. These labeling machines come in many different sizes and fulfill many different needs. While it can cost a bit more to get them up and running, labeling machines are often a worthwhile investment for growth-oriented companies that need better solutions.

The Pros: Deciding if Labeling Machines Fit Your Businesses Needs

Labeling equipment will save time and money, but getting the right labeler for the job is also important in reaping the benefits while minimizing the downsides. A quality label applicator is faster and makes far fewer mistakes than a hand labeling team. Thus, a labeling machine can greatly boost your production output.

The right labeler can also enhance production efficiency by minimizing downtime and increasing uptime. Features on some labeling equipment can make inventory and quality control a snap with built-in systems that can help employees quickly identify what a product is. Additionally, there's also no need to go big with labeling machines. You will find plenty of smaller machines or table-top machines that fit well into almost any space.

The Cons: What to Consider Before Making the Investment

Labelers aren’t perfect. In some respects, hand labeling can surpass them. The two biggest downsides to labeling equipment are the costs of the machinery and employee training.

With hand labeling, the training process is much shorter, allowing almost any employee to do the job. However, for labeling equipment, only trained personnel should operate them, meaning that you must either train some of your current staff or hire someone new. 

The costs of buying and maintaining the labeling equipment are major deciding factors for many small businesses that have little overhead. The time required to use the labeler before seeing a return on the investment may be too long for some companies.

Why Businesses May Choose Labeling Machines

Labeling machines are a great option for businesses of many sizes. There is a lot that goes into finding the ideal labeler for your product. With professional employees and equipment working on labeling your products, your options are limitless. If you are a larger business or a business that plans to expand, choosing to work with labeling machines is optimal for you. There are many options that allow you to still maintain control too.

Machine labelers allow for quicker production speeds, more uniform outcomes, more precision, increased safety, and lower labor demands. Additionally, these machines come with a lot of modification options. As your business continues to grow and your needs change, machine labelers can quickly make these accommodations. 

For businesses who also want more time on their hands, this is also a great option. Automatic labeling frees up time to allow the business to better focus on other areas. Overall, this can increase the businesses return on investment and reduce product waste. 

Choosing the Right Solution for Your Labeling Needs

Despite the perks that small businesses can enjoy from labeling their products by hand, a labeling machine will consistently outperform hand labeling. Plus, with so many options for labelers available, almost any business can find the right labeling equipment to fit their budget. 

If you need some more advice to help you choose the perfect labeling machine, we suggest you download our Practical Guide to Choosing the Right Labeling Equipment. This free guide will tell you everything you need to know so you can buy your new machine or upgrade with total confidence!