The Epson LabelWorks LW-PX700 delivers top-tier industrial labeling, whether printing from a PC or as a standalone device, using a variety of label types up to almost an inch wide. US Street Price$195.00
- Works as a standalone printer or prints from a Windows PC
- Scads of tape types from standard plastic and vinyl to magnetic, cabling, and more
- Tape sizes up to 24mm (0.94 inch) wide
- Half-cut feature separates labels without cutting the backing
- Lifetime warranty
- A touch too heavy for comfortable thumb typing
- No print app or driver for macOS
The Epson LabelWorks LW-PX700 label printer is a strong candidate for anyone who needs to print industrial labels on a job site as needed, with or without the ability to print from a PC as well. It’s available as either the printer alone (plus an AC adapter and one tape) for $115.95, or in the $195 LW-PX700 Deluxe Kit reviewed here, which adds a hard-shell carrying case, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and more. The kit easily delivers enough capability to make it our new Editors’ Choice winner for standalone moderate to heavy-duty industrial label printing, while leaving the more expensive Brady BMP41 Label Printer Voice and Data Communications Starter Kit ($470) as our favorite extreme-duty industrial label maker.
A Handle to Hold It
The LW-PX700 could serve as a lightweight kettlebell, thanks to a handle on one of its short sides and a heft of 2.75 pounds. In overall shape, it’s roughly similar to the BMP41 and Brady BMP21-Plus ($195), which means its size varies in every dimension depending on where you measure it.
Sitting on a flat surface with the keypad facing up, the overall depth is about 11.7 inches at its greatest. The printer’s width varies from about 5.4 inches measured at the 3.25-inch LCD screen to about 3.75 inches at the narrowest part of the handle. The height ranges from roughly 3.5 inches near the screen to 1.75 inches at the base of the handle, so the top surface slopes down, making the screen easier to read when the device is resting on a desk or table. The shape and slope also make it a little easier to enter text and commands on the keypad. Note that, while you can hold the printer in both hands for thumb typing, I found it a little too heavy to heft comfortably for more than a minute or two.
The printer is black, except for a red battery cover on the bottom and a red backing that helps the black keys on the QWERTY keypad stand out. There are also a few white keys for special functions, with lime-green highlights reserved for the Print key and the slot from which labels emerge. Special functions include saving up to 100 label definitions to memory, retrieving them, and defining labels suitable for patch panels, self-laminating tapes to wrap around cables, flag labels (with a small flag sticking out from the cable), and more.
Physical setup requires inserting a tape cartridge and installing the rechargeable battery (if you have the kit) or six AA batteries (if you don’t). You can also plug into an AC outlet, which you’ll need for charging the lithium-ion battery. Epson says the battery can print five 30-foot cartridges’ worth of labels on a single charge, so it’s not likely to run down on a job, However, you can buy a $79 spare as a backup, carry some AA cells, or fall back on AC power, with the cord’s 12-foot length offering reasonably good freedom of movement.
You’ll notice that paying $115.95 for the printer alone plus $79 for a battery essentially equals the price of the full kit, which also includes a USB cable for connecting to a PC, the hard carrying case ($59.95 separately), and two industrial magnets ($21) that screw into the underside of the printer to let you stick it to any handy metal surface. These prices make the kit the obvious choice unless you’re absolutely sure you’ll never need the battery and other extras.
100-Plus Types of Tape
Epson offers 118 different tape cartridges for the LW-PX700. Roughly half are 30-foot-long, standard plastic (polyester) tapes in various combinations of print and background colors at widths of 4mm (0.16 inch), 6mm (0.24 inch), 9mm (0.35 inch), 12mm (0.47 inch), 18mm (0.71 inch), and 24mm (0.94 inch). Cartridge prices are $20.85 for 12mm and smaller widths or $24.85 for the two largest widths. All are continuous rolls, which means your cost per label will vary with label size.
Other choices are specialty tapes, including silver matte; tapes with strong adhesive; vinyl and magnetic tapes; heat-shrink tube tapes for cable marking; fluorescent and reflective tapes; and self-laminating overwrap tapes for cables, with a clear, unprintable area to overlap the printed text.
The number of choices for each specialty tape, as well as length and pricing, varies with the category. Some offer the same 30-foot length and per-width pricing as standard tapes; others are shorter and cost more.
Print From the Printer or Your PC
The LW-PX700 offers significant flexibility in printing. When connected to a laptop or desktop computer, the most current Windows app at this writing is Epson’s Label Editor 2.04. As I’ve mentioned in other Epson label printer reviews, I find the software easy to use and one of the more capable labeling programs I’ve seen. Those familiar with Epson’s earlier Label Editor Professional 1.03 for Windows can download it instead if they like, and both downloads come with a standard driver for printing labels from virtually any Windows program. Unfortunately, there is no support for printing from macOS.
Getting started with the LW-PX700 as a standalone printer was a little more challenging. However, it didn’t take too much poking around in the menus to learn how to store and retrieve label definitions or take advantage of built-in features that include bar codes and QR codes; printing in vertical or horizontal orientation; and defining up to 50 labels with different text and lengths to print with a single button press. You can also print a label in mirror image and use any of 859 industrial and professional symbols, which are divided into 27 menu categories. Thankfully, Epson supplies a handy cheat sheet showing the symbols in each category, so you can quickly find the one you want to print.
Epson rates the LW-PX700’s speed at 30mm or 1.18 inches per second (ips) when running under AC power. That’s notably faster than the 0.4ips rating of the Brady BMP21-Plus, a match for Epson’s $299.99 LabelWorks LW-PX750PCD, and just a tad slower than the 1.3ips rated speed of the Brady BMP41.
In my tests, the LW-PX700 printed four copies of a 4.2-inch label at a measured 0.67ips with automatic cutting turned off. When I set it for half cuts between labels, which lets you lift individual labels off a continuous strip of backing material later, the speed dropped to 0.48ips, which saves a lot more time when you are applying the labels than it costs in print time. Measured results were the same for battery and AC power, as well as for printing from a PC versus printing from the printer itself.
Note also that the 180dpi resolution, which is typical for this class of printer, delivered crisp, sharp edges and highly readable text.
A Winning Pick for All But the Heaviest Duty
The Epson LabelWorks LW-PX700 delivers world-class flexibility both in the variety of label types you can print and in the content you put on the label. But the same is also true for the other printers mentioned here.
If your budget can stretch a bit, check out the LabelWorks LW-PX750PCD and the Brady BMP41. The former offers similar features to the LW-PX700, but with a QWERTY layout that’s arguably large enough to qualify as a small keyboard rather than a keypad. The BMP41 Label Printer Voice and Data Communications Starter Kit, our Editors’ Choice award-winner for heavy-duty industrial labeling, is designed with datacomm workers in mind but is available in other configurations that focus on different applications, any of which may be tailored to fit your needs.
That said, the Epson LW-PX700 is the printer to beat in its price class. Compared with the Brady BMP21-Plus, it offers somewhat faster speed, adds the ability to print labels from a PC, and includes a lifetime warranty—including, Epson says, against accidental breakage (despite the warranty’s saying accidents are excluded). The BMP21-Plus is warranted for only two years. If you prefer an ABCD keypad layout and don’t need to print from your PC, the BMP21-Plus is worth considering, but the LabelWorks LW-PX700 delivers enough extra to claim our Editors’ Choice award as an industrial labeler for moderate to heavy-duty use.