Mar 09, 2017 / Written by Woody Myers
Choosing the Right DPI

If you’re in search of a barcode printer for your business, you may quickly become overwhelmed with all the options. How do you know which printer is right for you? One way to narrow down your search is to understand what you need your printer to produce in terms of dots per linear inch (DPI).

DPI refers to the number of dots in each linear inch when it comes to the ink applied when a thermal transfer print head makes contact with the printed material. The greater the DPI, the more detailed the printed image will be. Higher-resolution barcode printers tend to be more expensive than their lower-resolution counterparts, but also offer higher quality. This can be important for many different applications.


Any time that precision is not essential, a 200 DPI printer is likely to be acceptable. This means that the smallest lines at 200 DPI are .005 inches. These printers create text, images and numbers, although the images may appear pixelated. For many general applications, low-resolution images are acceptable. Printers that produce 200 DPI are used for large barcodes, such as those found on shipping materials.

Images produced by a 300 DPI barcode printer may appear to be similar to 200 DPI to the naked eye. However, it can create lines that are slightly smaller—about .003 inches wide. The resulting images will have a higher resolution, even if most people won’t notice it just by looking at the label.


The most critical element of any barcode is the scanner’s ability to read it. In situations in which the barcode needs to be small, a high-resolution barcode printer is the best choice.

For example, some industries require manufacturers to include high-resolution barcodes. Large retailers may prefer small, high-resolution barcodes as well. This is also the case with the following types of products:

  • Circuit boards
  • Labels inside of electronics
  • Small asset tracking tags
  • Fine detail in graphics
  • QR codes
  • Jewelry store item tags

These printers allow for a wide range of barcode sizes, including extremely small labels. However, 600 DPI printers are more expensive than their 200 or 300 DPI counterparts.

When looking at your options, be sure to have a grasp on your specific needs and the quality you need to get out of your barcode printer. And if you need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to a barcode printing expert to make sure you make an informed choice.

GoDEX carries a wide variety of high-value, feature-rich barcode printers, including 200, 300 and 600 DPI models. The company is also known for its elevated level of customer service.  For more information about your label printing needs, call a product specialist at 1-800-446-1991.

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