It must have been the 50% off coupon burning a hole in my pocket that lured me into buying K&Company’s Smash label maker. I already owned a Dymo embossed label maker (which had been out of tape and unused for years) and had no other reason to buy another. The Smash one was just so cute and tempting.
I promptly printed some labels. I had couple of issues with it (more on that below), but was willing to overlook them… until I came back to my layout a few hours later and it looked like this:
Ack! Were the labels bad? Was it the room temperature? Did I not “smash” hard enough?
Time for an experiment.
Label Tape Comparison
First, I needed Dymo tape. Three stores and one Starbucks later, I found Dymo label tape at A.C. Moore crafts (FYI: they also had a fancy pink Dymo label maker for $25; Amazon has it for $19).
Procedure: I printed labels from each label maker. After going through the label maker, the Smash label backing resembled panty elastic:
I stuck the labels onto cardstock, applying the same amount of pressure to each (see how scientific I was?):
15 minutes later:
45 minutes later:
Result: The tape that came with the Smash label maker did not stick.
The good news is that Dymo label tape also fits the Smash.
Conclusion: Use Dymo label tape.
Embossed Label Maker Comparison
Dymo brand is clearly the label tape winner. The label makers themselves come down to a matter of preference.
Size: The Smash is smaller, but the Dymo has a compartment for the label tape (the Smash label tape feeds from the outside and sometimes falls off the hook).
Comfort: The Smash dial and handle grip are easier to use and more comfortable. There are other Dymo styles available, however, and bulkiness may not be an issue with them.
Cutting: The Dymo cutting mechanism works great. The Smash one doesn’t work at all – it makes a dent, then I have to feed the label tape through and cut it with scissors, resulting in wasted tape.
Availability and Pricing:
The Smash label maker is easy to find in stores right now – Target, craft stores, online… anywhere Smash products are sold. Most places have it priced at $11. It’s currently $2.75 (75% off) at Two Peas in a Bucket, and around $5.50 with a 50% off coupon at Michael’s. (Plus the cost of a Dymo tape 3-pack refill, about $8).
A Dymo embossed label maker and tape were harder for me to find. An office supply store is a good place to start, and it may be easiest to order online due to the wide range of styles, sizes and prices ($15 – 28 on Amazon).
Embossed Label Maker Recommendation
(Updated to include recommendation for children).
There wasn’t a clear winner. Perhaps if I’d bought that new pink Dymo… I think I have a coupon…
Overall, I recommend the Dymo.
I like the Smash (especially the dial) when used with Dymo tape, but I really missed having a cutter and tape holder. This is just my personal preference, so I hope you will find the above comparisons helpful in your decision.
For children, I recommend the Smash.
My children (ages 9 and 11) tested both label makers. The Dymo was too hard to hold and press – the letters barely showed up and they could not operate the cutter.
When my 9-year old was operating the Smash, the tape fell off of the hook and unrolled all over the floor. My 11-year old did not have any problems with the Smash and said the font was better.
Skip the label maker entirely and download the Impact Label Font here.
Do you have an embossed label maker? Feel free to share your reviews and recommendations in the comments for anyone else who is thinking about buying one.