Label Dispensers Vs Applicators

on 01/30/2018

Many people commonly refer to label dispensers and label applicators as synonyms. However, there are some key differences.

Label Dispensers

In the 1920s, The first label dispensers debuted were somewhat primitive. The first label dispensers were designed for manual operation and did not take advantage of electric motors (despite the debut of the electric motor roughly 100 years earlier). However, they did help improve the efficiency of labeling operations by separating the labels from their liners.

For decades, major companies in the labeling field worked to improve these original designs. While not necessarily reinventing the wheel, improving on the first designs allowed these next generations of label applicators to offer additional functionality beyond simply removing the backing from labels.

A commonly cited example is the creation of price guns. Price guns allow the creation and application of custom price labels for products. Most people know these sorts of price guns from supermarkets before laser label scanning became a widely adopted technology. With the rise of Universal Product Code (or UPC) labels, these price guns have declined in their popularity, except in instances which investing in a computerized system wouldn't make sense (thrift stores, for example).

Label Applicators

Label applicators are the natural evolution of the label dispenser. It may be difficult to believe that the technological innovation that occurred in the 1920s to simply remove a label from its backing would help spur productivity in the manufacturing, logistics, and many other industries.

Instead of manually applying hundreds of labels, label applicators can speed up this process to mere seconds per label. In the case of the GS-60 Label Applicator, when used in a conveyor, it can label boxes at a speed of 1 per second!

GS-60 Label Applicator

However, such a high-speed label printer and applicator machine isn't necessarily ideal for small businesses. The initial investment, even with our low prices can be considerable and requires a high-volume production to justify the investment. For small businesses, there are still available options that take advantage of the oldest source of energy - manpower. WIth a handheld label applicator, you can still improve labeling efficiency without having a tremendous volume production or logistics facility.

Hand-held Label Applicator


While it may not be the biggest debate that the labeling industry has had or will have, and the distinct factors that separate a label applicator and a label dispenser are not vast, it is still an interesting thing to keep in mind while trying to understand the labeling solutions available to your business. Regardless of semantics, LLT Labels is always here to guide you to the right labeling products you need. Barcode printers, laser labels, clear labels, and anything in between, we have experts to help. Give us a call, and we can work together to find a solution for you.