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I hate shipping. I love nearly every other aspect of my business but shipping is the thing I always put off as long as possible.
Because of this, I’ve hesitated to spend much time looking at (or improving) my shipping set-up and my old thermal printer was getting rather long in the tooth.
So, even though it looks a bit like a stapler, I decided to pick up the printer that had had small businesses and social media influencers on fire lately: the Rollo label printer.
In general, I avoid buying things for my business and only do so if I’m sure it will either make me money or make my life easier. After a year of use, I can tell you that the Rollo does both.
In fact, it does more than that! But let’s set the stage a bit before I give you my full review. Then you’ll be able to decide if it’s the right printer for you. Spoiler alert, it probably is.
My Experience With Thermal Printers
When my wife and I first transitioned into working full-time from home, we bought a Zebra LP2844. Not because I thought it was the best option, but because I had used them at a previous job and was able to get it working without too much hassle.
Despite doing almost no research before choosing it, that printer was an absolute game-changer. We didn’t have to ship things at the post office and we didn’t have to use a normal printer and tape the paper label onto the package. All of a sudden, shipping things was twice as fast and way cheaper!
At first, we thought this was because we had bought the most awesome printer in existence! Alas, it was not so. All the advantages we were enjoying were simply because we had finally grown up and bought a thermal printer. Unfortunately, we had chosen a mediocre model that came with a host of drawbacks. So when I finally got tired of our Zebra printer randomly disconnecting (or literally printing 200+ blank labels during the night) it was time to shop for a new model. But what thermal printer would work best for us?
Is the Rollo the only good option?
A quick search online will leave you amazed at the number of thermal printers there are available. However, it’s a pretty quick process to cut out the bottom 80%. We would never buy a printer that is not from a major company with a proven record. While they might have an okay product, small companies just can’t provide you with the level of customer support you may need, they won’t be how-to videos on YouTube, and if your printer breaks…well…bummer.
Buying a thermal printer is similar to buying a car. You might find an unusual car that is faster than a mass-produced one but it will be more expensive and difficult to maintain, the customer service will be limited, and you’ll pretty much have to figure out everything on your own since there won’t be a community. So a good question to ask yourself would be, “What is the most popular printer that fits the specs I need?” For us, it was the Rollo. According to Rollo’s Facebook Page, their printer has well over 100,000 users and a thriving online community.
We had seen it around for a while and several of our reseller friends had recommended it to us, so it was time to bite the bullet and see what all the fuss is about. But first: why is there any fuss in the first place?
How To Rollo Stacks Up To The Competition:
Over 80% of online platform sellers use one of four printers. We have now used 3 of the 4 (and we’ve owned 4 additional ones as well…). But, in addition to our personal experience, how does the Rollo stack up against the competition on paper? Well, we gathered up all the specs on the three other most popular printers for eBay sellers and compared them to the Rollo:
As you can see, the Rollo absolutely runs away from the competition speed but pays the price on quality. Several people have raised concerns about whether or not the quality is sufficient for shipping labels. Well, yes, it is. The USPS has a minimum dpi (dots per inch) requirement of 203 which every printer meets.
The real question is whether or not you can also use the Rollo (or others) for Amazon which has a quality requirement of 300dpi. I will say this, I have printed hundreds of Amazon packages, thousands of USPS, FedEx, and UPS packages with the Rollo and have never had a problem because the label was not of sufficient quality.
What Makes the ROLLO Printer Unique?
Well, according to ROLLO…
However, we didn’t want to take Rollo’s word for it. We polled over 80 people on our Instagram page who own the ROLLO to get some reviews from them and see what they actually liked about it. Here’s what our research found:
- 92.5% of people were “very happy” with their ROLLO printer.
- The two things that people liked most about the printer were how easy it is to set-up initially and that it doesn’t require any maintenance/upkeep.
- The most common complaint about the ROLLO printer was that it doesn’t have a built-in holder for the stack of labels. Meaning you have to set them on the table to get an additional place for them to sit. This was only a deal if people needed to scoot their printer around for any reason.
The time-of-use ranged from only a couple of days to more than two years but nearly everything we heard was overwhelmingly positive. If we hadn’t already bought a Rollo printer, it would have been enough to convince me!
My ROLLO Printer Review:
We’ll get to my actual experience and some tips below, but here are some of the specs that appealed to us when we were first considering the ROLLO printer:
- Works with any Thermal Direct Label. While it sounds like it should be the norm, this is actually a huge deal. Several companies (DYMO being the main culprit) have purposefully designed their printers so that you have to use their own brand of expensive labels. Such companies pretty much turn the purchase of a thermal printer into a subscription service. While there are knockoff labels available for such companies, using them typically voids the warranty and will not get you any sympathy if you ever need to call customer service. Rollo, on the other hand, encourages you to use whatever thermal printer label you want in a huge variety of sizes!
- High-Speed Printing at 150mm/s. While this wasn’t a huge selling point for us, there is no doubt that the Rollo prints lightning fast. It’s almost twice as fast as most of its competitors and takes less than 1 second to print the average 4×6 label. If you print a lot of labels at once, this may be a huge deal to you!
- Compatible with all major shipping platforms. If you go to Amazon and read the questions about specific printers, almost half of them are people asking, “Is this compatible with PayPal (or Stamps, eBay, Click-n-Ship, FedEx, etc)?” With a Rollo, the answer is pretty much always yes! eBay sellers, Etsy Sellers, Poshmarkers, or almost any home-based shipper will be able to use the Rollo with the platform of their choice.
- Rollo offers 5-star U.S.-based customer service via Phone, Email, and Remote-Desktop…supposedly. We’ve never actually had to deal with customer service (we haven’t had any problems), but from what we’ve heard, their 24-7 customer service is extremely friendly and helpful.
- Easy to set up with short how-to videos. When we bought a dedicated shipping computer (instead of just using my laptop), I spent several hours trying to get our printer at that time (a Zebra LP2844) to work correctly with it. In the end, I ended up setting it up on our main home desktop (for some reason it worked on there) for several weeks, until I had the time to deal with customer service and figure it out. We didn’t have any such issues with our Rollo! Your computer recognizes it as a normal printer and we didn’t have to deal with finding and downloading any of the archaic control software or drivers that we’ve dealt with in the past. If you can’t figure it out on your own, there are simple videos on both YouTube and Rollo’s site to help!
- Prints labels from 1.57″ to 4.1″ wide with Automatic Label Identification. We got so tired of switching labels in our old printer every time we needed to print Amazon FBA labels that we actually bought an entirely separate printer. With the Rollo, you simply have to load the labels and push a button. It will automatically analyze the type and size of labels you are using!
- No Maintenance! Most thermal printers don’t need much love to keep them happy, but the Rollo is particularly stalwart. It does not need regular cleaning, oiling, part replacement, or anything of that sort.
What Others Had To Say
My Personal Out-of-the-box Set-Up and Impressions:
“Well, that was easy!” We had the printer out of the box (it’s heftier than I expected) and printing within 15 minutes of receiving it. It’s as close to plug-and-play as you can get with a true label printer.
When we first set it up, we didn’t have the label tray or the labels we like (we prefer rolls…), so we just set the stack of fan-fold labels directly on the desk and it pulled them through just fine.
I only have two gripes with the Rollo printer, both related to mobility. First off, the Rollo printer isn’t wireless. But I knew that going into this.
What I didn’t expect is that the label tray isn’t as contained as my old printer. This makes it more difficult to move around, especially when my shipping area gets hectic (which is always). I guess I’ll just have to keep my desk cleaner. Oh well!
The Final Verdict
Is the Rollo perfect? No. Is it the value on the market? A resounding YES! It is cheaper to operate than nearly every other printer we looked at. In the past year, we have put over 3,000 labels through this printer with no issues. The way things are going, I won’t be surprised if our Rollo lasts another 10 years, but if it died tomorrow, I’d probably buy another one.