May 15, 2021 

The 3 Best Handheld Inkjet Marking Systems

Handheld marking system

When it comes to industrial marking, powerful machines like continuous inkjet printers and laser etching systems aren’t ideal for every application. While these machines are perfect for high-speed production lines, their large size prohibits any semblance of mobility. This lack of maneuverability can bog down efficiency, as it requires workers to move products and packaging every time something needs to be coded. Handheld inkjet marking systems change that.

Rather than having to bring products to the printer, handheld marking systems enable workers to bring the printer to the products. The most common handheld systems utilize thermal inkjet printers. Weighing approximately five pounds, TIJ printers are powered by rechargeable batteries, can operate without the inconvenience of power cables, and need little or no long-term maintenance. 

Of course, not all TIJ printers are built at the same level of quality. Today’s printer market is filled with countless TIJ models that range between cheap and unreliable to well-built and dependable. Some of the most important characteristics to look for in a handheld marking system include:

  • Excellent portability
  • Intuitive operation
  • Reliable construction
  • High-resolution results
  • Long battery life
  • Diverse applications 

To help you find a solution that fits your needs, we have assembled a quick list of TIJ printers that meet the above criteria. If you’re searching for handheld inkjet marking systems, start with these models.

1. Meenjet M7 Handheld Inkjet Printer  

Available through Sneed Coding, the newly released Meenjet M7 is a solid multi-purpose printer with diverse application abilities. With the ability to code porous, semi-porous, and non-porous substrates, the M7 can mark everything from plastic to glass to metal. M7 cartridges also come in a variety of colors, including black, white, yellow, blue, green, and red. For added convenience, the M7 can switch between colors within 30 seconds. 

The M7 also carries a relatively low price point of around $1,300. However, Meenjet’s previous TIJ offerings have achieved similarly low prices through lower quality construction. The M6, for instance, was known to experience hiccups in print clarity and a higher need for maintenance as compared to other TIJ models. Notably, the M7 comes with a one-year protection warranty, although major TIJ problems tend to take longer than that to arise. Another drawback to the M7 is that cartridge costs are generally around 30-40 percent higher than other OEM cartridges, so this printer might not be the best choice in terms of quality and price.

Other important features offered by the M7 include:

  • 600 DPI resolution capabilities
  • A built-in counter for packaging dates and time codes
  • A long-lasting battery life—10 hours of continuous operation or 20 hours of standby time

2. EBS-260 Handheld Printer

Designed by EBS Ink-Jet Systems, the EBS-260 is a portable valve jet model that specializes in creating large-scale text. While most handheld printers create characters around an inch tall, the EBS 260 is capable of creating text at a max height of 2.2 inches. This height range is particularly helpful when marking construction supplies that require extremely visible codes. 

Although the EBS-260’s extra abilities are impressive and very helpful in certain applications, they do raise the price of the model. Compared to other portable printers, the EBS-260 is significantly more expensive. Unless you specifically need large printing capabilities, other handheld inkjet marking systems will prove to be more cost-effective choices.

Other notable features offered by the EBS-260 include:

  • Access to quick-drying, highly application-specific inks, including ethanol-, acetone- and MEK-based formulas
  • 2 gigabytes of internal memory
  • A convenient cleaning cartridge that expunges excess ink from the system within seconds

3. Anser U2 Pro-S and SmartOne

For decades, Anser Coding Inc. has maintained a high profile in the TIJ world—and for good reason. Their products are built to last and provide users with years of reliable operation. Newer releases are even pushing the limits of TIJ technology by offering printing speeds and DPI resolutions that rival both continuous inkjet printers and high-resolution case coders respectively.

In the world of handheld printers, Anser offers the U2 Pro-S and the U2 SmartOne. These TIJ printers, available through InkJet, Inc, are compatible with both water- and solvent-based ink cartridges, giving them the ability to mark porous, semi-porous, and non-porous substrates. With a maximum printing resolution of 600 x 300 DPI and a maximum printing speed of 120 m/min (394 ft/min), the U2 Pro-S and SmartOne can create highly readable codes at a rapid pace. The diverse ink availability provides both Anser models with the ability to mark plastic, wood, metal, cardboard, glass, and more, making either machine a great multi-purpose tool. One drawback to the portable Anser printers is that they are larger than competitor models because of the size of the encoder rollers. If you’re in the market for a smaller printer, these models might not be the choice for you. 

Other features offered by the Anser U2 Pro-S and SmartOne include:

  • A wide operating temperature range of 41°F – 104°F (5°C – 40°C)
  • Storage capacity that can save 999 unique codes
  • Automatic ink identification that reflexively sets the ideal firing parameters for best print quality

Handheld Inkjet Marking Systems Can Boost the Efficiency of Your Operation

Handheld printers are valuable tools that can fit into nearly any operation. Whether you need to place instructions on lumber or mark beer bottles with expiration dates, a well-made portable printer will allow you to do so with ease. If you’re in the market for a handheld printer, each of the above-profiled models would be great choices. Don’t just take our word for it though—explore the market for yourself and discover what a handheld system can do for you!

For more information on handheld inkjet marking systems and other thoughts on the coding and marking industry, stay connected with C&M Digest by subscribing to our newsletter. To get in touch with us about possible collaborations or ideas for coverage, contact us today.

C&M Digest Team

The C&M Digest Team is composed of experts from across the coding and marking world. Comprised of ink developers, hardware veterans, and engineers, our News Team delivers informed coverage that is always free from brand bias.

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