It's the #1 label printer on Amazon, it claims to have the most hassle-free product, it looks a bit like a stapler, and it shares a name with one of my favorite candies. It has taken me a while to warm up to it (I don't like change) - but after finally giving into the hype and buying one, I can finally answer the question, "Is the Rollo Printer for you?" Probably.
When we first transitioned into working full time at home, we bought a Zebra LP2844. I had used them at a previous job and was able to get it working without too much hassle. It 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 which came with a host of drawbacks. So when I finally got tired of our Zebra printer randomly disconnecting, it was time to shop for a new model. But what thermal printer would work best for us?
A quick look on Amazon, and you will be shocked 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 one area where it does not pay to be different. So what is everyone using and loving right now? The Rollo of course!
We had seen it around for awhile 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?
What Makes the Rollo Label Printer Special and Different?
According to Rollo:
According to us:
- 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 buying 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 lightening fast. It's almost twice as fast as most of its competitors and takes less than 1 second to print the average 4x6 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 setup 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 you get:
We paid $169.99 for our printer brand new in a box, straight from Amazon. It is a heck of a lot of printer for that money. I actually spent just over $300 for a fully refurbished model of our first printer (the Zebra). For $170, you get (almost) everything you need to get going! We didn't realize quite how the labels were loaded when we ordered our printer, and ended up having to order the label tray as well (you'll want one). So for under $230, we got a printer, the tray, and 1800 labels.
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.
My one gripe with the printer is that I can't move it around like I could with my old printer. When my shipping area gets hectic, it's nice to be able to simply move things around, but with the labels not loading directly into the printer, this is not really and option. I guess I'll just have to keep my desk cleaner. Oh well!
The final verdict:
Is the Rollo perfect? No. Is it the best printer on the market for the price? A resounding YES! It is cheaper up front, and then cheaper to operate than nearly every other printer we looked at. We pay less than 2 cents apiece for our labels and have put over 3,000 through this printer with no issues. The way things are going, I won't be surprised in our Rollo lasts another 10 years, but if it died tomorrow, I'd probably buy another one.