Embossed Label Maker Review: Dymo vs. Smash

dymo vs smash

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:

label beginning

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).

labels at store

Procedure: I printed labels from each label maker. After going through the label maker, the Smash label backing resembled panty elastic:

label backing

I stuck the labels onto cardstock, applying the same amount of pressure to each (see how scientific I was?):

label compare 1

15 minutes later:

label compare 2

45 minutes later:

label compare 3

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.

label compare 4

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).

label compare size


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.

label compare grip


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.

label cutting


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.


Free Font!

label compare 5

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.

  • http://bipolarcrafter.blogspot.com Melisa Marie

    Lisa, I found your post pinned on Pinterest. Thank you SO much for this review!!! I’ve *REALLY* been contemplating purchasing a label maker, mostly for labeling things, rather than using on layouts or cards. However, your post has encouraged me to get the Dymo as I’ve wanted to do all along. My walmart has one, and I’ll be picking it up tomorrow.
    I have seen those smash ones at hobby lobby and I was very skeptical as to whether or not it would work, because in one of my online (Facebook) craft supply buy/sell/trade groups, there are SEVERAL of them listed. OF COURSE, the ladies don’t say they are selling it cause it doesn’t work, rather they are saying “bought it and just don’t use it”. Now, I’m pretty sure WHY they “just don’t use it”. LOL

    thank you so much for all the “scientific” processes you went through to show us the differences!

    • Lisa Moorefield

      I so glad it was helpful. Please let me know how you like your new label maker (and which one you got)! I would love to hear more opinions.

  • http://www.iowajewel.typepad.com julie macneil

    i have dymo caption maker and it is great but i love the colors of the smash tape but if they don’t stick…i may give one package a try though!

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Hi Julie, please let me know if you have better luck with the Smash tape. I am curious to know if I just got a bad batch or something.

  • Saskia

    Thank you so much for your review, very helpful!

  • Amanda

    Does the SMASH tape fit in the Dymo? I have the pink Dymo Label maker but have a hard time finding cute dymo tape colours (b/c I’m in Canada?) So I’d like to use the smash tape for that reason (I can just use extra glue to get it to stay put).

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Hi Amanda, I just tried fitting the Smash tape into my Dymo and it worked just fine. The plastic piece around the tapes are about the same size and only slightly different in shape. I had no trouble feeding the Smash tape through the Dymo. Hope that helps!

  • http://www.debraclarkpunchart.blogspot.com Debra

    This is interesting. After having it for over a year I pulled out my SMASH washi tape recently and all the adhesive stuck to the tape underneath as I was peeling it off. That is, the tape wasn’t sticky! I fixed it and tried again, didn’t work. The tape and the adhesive separated. It went it in the bin – quality issues! Looks like the SMASH accessories aren’t great quality….not good.

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Wow! I haven’t tried washi tape yet, so that is good to know. I wonder if it stays stuck once it’s attached to a page?

      • http://www.debraclarkpunchart.blogspot.com Debra

        I don’t know about their washi tape (the Smash tape), I never got to use it on a page before I had to throw it in the bin. Other washi tape though – it’s fab. The real stuff is excellent in all applications. The knock off tapes are pretty good – I’ve only had one or two lift a little. Watch out if you buy some, it’s hard to stop at just a few!

  • http://www.jodieleedesigns.etsy.com gypsychick

    Yep, I had the same problem with the smash label maker. It’s really a piece of junk. It broke the second time I used it, and the instructions on the back don’t explain how to put the label ribbon in and that you have to advance it by giving it a 1/2 click. The labels don’t stick either. Waste of money. I sent mine back.